How fit are you article

from Aug 2010 Magazine

12 messages
01/07/2010 at 23:16

Hi all,

I was just wondering if anyone else was feeling a little unfit and inadequate after reading this article in this months magazine?

I would consider myself a fairly good runner with a 5k PB of under 25min and I am generally fit and healthy, however a couple of the tests show me up in a very poor light!

The first one is the speed test.  To be judged to be of 'fair fitness' you have to be able to run 400m in 70s.  Does that not equate to an approx 5min mile?  I usually run my 400m repeat intervals in around 110s so this seems to be extremely fast to me.  It seems that to be judged as 'good fitness' you need to be able to run close to a 4min mile!!

The other is the endurance test. In this test you must warm up for 10min and then time yourself for a 30min tempo run, which should be run at a pace just slower than 10k pace.  My 10k PB is just under 55min so I would be aiming for approx 9min/mi...so about 3.3mi in 30min.  Again, accordig to this test you need to be able to run 4.2mi to be judged as fair, 5.1mi to be judged good and >5.1 miles to be great,  So, this equates to somewhere between 6-8min miles for a 30in duration.

Is it not a little unfair to judge fitness based on speed alone?? 

I couldn't run 30min at 6min/mi if my life depended upon it but that doesn't mean I am not fit does it?

02/07/2010 at 00:27

Couldn't agree more. I think most readers would fall way short of even achieving the worst category of "fair". Most de-motivating!

Also, the figures in the "endurance" table are clearly all wrong.  Women have to be able to run further in 30 minutes to achieve the same "status" as men. It looks like they have transposed the figures for males and females. On the plus-side for me, this does mean I can attain the status of "greatness" rather than merely being "good". 

Must admit I couldn't bring myself to read the rest of the article. It may well be one of the greatest collection of words ever written on the subject of fitness measurement. Or it could just have been absolute garbage .

Frankly, if RW were going to copy and paste a mish mash of tests off the web, I'd have expected them to read them first!!!

02/07/2010 at 05:47
I've not read the article as I don't buy the magazine anymore.

Are these figures the same for men and women? Are there differences based on age.

It seems a bit silly to to me to try to categorise these things! Are they judging fitness as a % of the whole population, or out of the population of runners/athletes.

Having said all that, the figures that you have quoted would be about where I would put them. I have a 10K pb of 40 mins, which puts me about 25% of the way down a set of race results usually. I'd probably describe this as "good" - just! I'm just getting back into running and so am some way short of that at the moment, and so would consider my condition "fair" at the moment. I could probably just about run a 70s 400m at the moment (remember this is a speed test - you are not doing intervals, nor are you running a mile, you are just going flat out for 400m). In 30 mins I'd probably be just short of the 4.2 miles. By these 2 measures I'd be classed as fair or nearly fair which in truth is how I see myself at the moment.
seren nos    pirate
02/07/2010 at 08:30

I have the magazine but bnot read it yet...............seems i had better avoid that article.........never mind I hacve cancelled my subscription now anyway.........

02/07/2010 at 08:51

I haven't read the article but the terms 'fair', 'good', 'great' are so subjective that they are pretty meaningless.  The first question I would ask is whether or not you want to be considered fit as compared to the average population.  The fact that you CAN run 10K would sugggest in those terms, you are well above average.

However, you may want to compare your fitness to other people who consciously try to keep fit. So how do you compare your fitness as a runner with that of a swimmer, or a tennis player? OK, not an easy comparison. Maybe you can do it by a whole bunch of medical measures like Body Fat composition, resting heart rate, lung peak flow tests. But that's just numbers and doesn't equate to anything tangible.

So perhaps the only meaningful comparison you can make is against other runners. Then you have the trouble of saying, is someone who runs 400m hurdles fitter than a marathoner? So, really, the only way I know that allows for a meaningful comparison is to take race times and put them against Age Grading Tables.

Here's an example. Put in your age and gender, and you can put in race times or a percentage level, to show what % of runners can run at that speed. This is a great way of getting a better feel for how 'fit' you are.

02/07/2010 at 09:21
I didn't finish it either - I would certainly be on the lower end! It seemed to me to be more aimed at athletes? pro or am. I don't think you can compare average mortals to this. I'd agree with Tricky in that it is subjective. I'm happy with my pace/s, feel fit/good and enjoy running and that is what I wanted to achieve. We all have different targets/aims so no point stressing about it!
02/07/2010 at 10:00
Couldn't agree with you more Jeremy. Where each person puts these categories will differ.
02/07/2010 at 10:22

Had a glance through the various fitness checks...press ups, planks etc, not sure I'd come very high up in many of those, and I did a 17:10 5k on wednesday!

I think there are deinitely different fitnesses! I'd argue that the faster you are as a runner the less strong you are, the more aerobically fit you are the weaker physically you are in terms of strength!

02/07/2010 at 15:36

Haven't got to that part in the magazine yet, but shall read with much interest.

I agree with Tricky. My times are never gonna be fast but compared to the general population I'm a lot fitter then the couch potatoes!

Bionic Ironwolf    pirate
02/07/2010 at 16:12
Ditto - and I also have a beef about lumping everyone into the same pot regardless of age.  I'm a 60-year old female, not very quick but I think I'm fitter than the average person, if you consider I've got 41 marathons, 6 Ironman triathlons and 2 ultra distance runs behind me (IM distance number 7 in two weeks). I'm not what you'd call slim, have a bit of extra here and there but I can leg lift a lot more than my OH and my bench press isn't at all bad either, I'm pretty strong for a woman. I can keep up with any exercise class, aerobics, bike spin etc. so in terms of overall "fitness" I'd have to say I am fit!
02/07/2010 at 16:24

Next month - 'How fat are you?' article:

Speed/greed test:

- How many cheeseburgers can you eat in 70s?

Endurance test:

Warm up by sitting on the sofa for 10 minutes, changing channels at approximately 4 cc/m (4 channel changes per minute)

Then get up, keep a low, slothful cadence to the kitchen and shut all the windows.

Layer up in every item of technial gear you own then deep fry a mars bar ensuring you stand directly adjacent to the grease and steam output.

If you break out a sweat, you are officially a chubster.

Confatulations. 

Edited: 02/07/2010 at 16:30
02/07/2010 at 16:39

Poor Runner's World, they're always criticised for setting their sights too low and then get it in the neck for having a fitness test that is too strenuous.

I haven't seen this month's mag but I think I prefer the idea of some kind of objective test than simply comparing myself to the average person. When the baseline is so bad it's not much off an achievement to jump over it.  


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