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Training for an Aerobic Test

At some time, maybe as part of a selection process for an occupation, you may be required to complete an aerobic fitness test, e.g. run 2.4 km in under nine minutes. This article outlines one approach to preparing for such a test.

What is required?

To complete the test, you need to have the appropriate level of general endurance and strength to run for that time and the speed endurance to complete the distance in the required time.

General Endurance

General endurance can be developed by undertaking aerobic work (running, cycling, rowing, etc.) of 35 to 40 minutes duration. This session should be completed 2 or 3 times a week. One of these sessions should be completed at 60 to 70% maximum heart rate (HRmax) and the others at 70 to 80% HRmax. (See the Heart Rate Training Zones page for details on HRmax)

Strength

The development of strength can be achieved through weight training or circuit training.

Basic Speed

The development of speed can be achieved by running at the required pace over shorter distances (e.g. 200 metres). Having acquired the correct pace, you have to maintain it for the required distance, so we need to develop your speed endurance.

Speed Endurance

Speed endurance can be developed by completing several repetitions of these shorter distances, at the required speed, with a defined recovery between each repetition. This session should be completed 2 or 3 times a week. The total distance completed in these sessions should be approximately the test distance (e.g. 12 x 200 metres = 2.4k).

Undertake the speed endurance sessions in the following sequence:

  • 200 metres - 5 minutes recovery between each repetition
  • 200 metres - 3 minutes recovery between each repetition
  • 400 metres - 5 minutes recovery between each repetition
  • 400 metres - 3 minutes recovery between each repetition
  • 600 metres - 5 minutes recovery between each repetition
  • 600 metres - 3 minutes recovery between each repetition
  • 800 metres - 5 minutes recovery between each repetition
  • 800 metres - 3 minutes recovery between each repetition

When you can complete the number of repetitions of the required distance all in the required time with the given recovery time, only then, move onto the next session.

The speed session calculator below will determine your required pace for 200, 400, 600 and 800 metres and the number of repetitions for each speed endurance session.

Speed session calculator

To obtain details of the speed endurance sessions, please enter the test distance, the target time for the test, and select the 'Calculate' button.

Test Distance
Target time minutes seconds
   
Distance Time Repetitions
200 metres seconds
400 metres seconds
600 metres seconds
800 metres seconds

Example Program for a week

Monday Speed endurance & Strength work
Tuesday 35 to 40 minutes of aerobic work @ 70 to 80% HRmax
Wednesday Strength work
Thursday 35 to 40 minutes of aerobic work @ 70 to 80% HRmax
Friday Speed endurance & Strength work
Saturday 35 to 40 minutes of aerobic work @ 60 to 70% HRmax
Sunday Rest

The speed endurance and strength work should be two separate training sessions with 2 to 3 hours recovery between them.

Every 4th week drop the speed endurance sessions. The objective of this is to allow your body to recover from the previous three weeks of training and reduce the chances of overtraining and injury.

Free Calculator


Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2001) Training for an Aerobic Test [WWW] Available from: https://www.brianmac.co.uk/testprep.htm [Accessed