Running 12 minutes is very tricky. If you start off the test with a sprinting run, you'll burn out quickly and will not be able to keep the pace. If you run too slowly, you will not achieve a good distance in the alloted 12 minutes. So the key to running this successfully is to keep a nice and constant pace that can see you through the 12 minutes.
The following table is a guide to determine your fitness level based on the distance completed in the 12 minutes.
|Age||Very good||Good||Average||Bad||Very bad|
|13-14||M||2700+ m||2400 - 2700 m||2200 - 2399 m||2100 - 2199 m||2100- m|
|F||2000+ m||1900 - 2000 m||1600 - 1899 m||1500 - 1599 m||1500- m|
|15-16||M||2800+ m||2500 - 2800 m||2300 - 2499 m||2200 - 2299 m||2200- m|
|F||2100+ m||2000 - 2100 m||1700 - 1999 m||1600 - 1699 m||1600- m|
|17-20||M||3000+ m||2700 - 3000 m||2500 - 2699 m||2300 - 2499 m||2300- m|
|F||2300+ m||2100 - 2300 m||1800 - 2099 m||1700 - 1799 m||1700- m|
|20-29||M||2800+ m||2400 - 2800 m||2200 - 2399 m||1600 - 2199 m||1600- m|
|F||2700+ m||2200 - 2700 m||1800 - 2199 m||1500 - 1799 m||1500- m|
|30-39||M||2700+ m||2300 - 2700 m||1900 - 2299 m||1500 - 1899 m||1500- m|
|F||2500+ m||2000 - 2500 m||1700 - 1999 m||1400 - 1699 m||1400- m|
|40-49||M||2500+ m||2100 - 2500 m||1700 - 2099 m||1400 - 1699 m||1400- m|
|F||2300+ m||1900 - 2300 m||1500 - 1899 m||1200 - 1499 m||1200- m|
|50+||M||2400+ m||2000 - 2400 m||1600 - 1999 m||1300 - 1599 m||1300- m|
|F||2200+ m||1700 - 2200 m||1400 - 1699 m||1100 - 1399 m||1100- m|
Since I fall in the 40-49 age bracket and I am a male, I need to run more than 2500 meters to get the "Very Good" grade. Based on my run data that I post regularly to Nike website, I knew this was possible; if I increased the tempo of my runs.
I decided to give this test a try. To prepare for the run, I stopped running for 2 days to ensure that my body is fully rested. I went early morning on Saturday and did a nice 30 minute warm-up run. There were no aches and pains anywhere, so I decided to give it a shot. I hit the treadmill at 14kph and started my run.
Once I crossed 8 minutes, I knew I could hold the pace for the remaining 4 minutes, and perhaps even increase it in the last 2 minutes. And that is exactly what I did. I increased the speed to around 14.5 after 10 minutes, and really let it go in the last minute by cranking the speed up to 15kph.
How did I do?
That distance is good enough to get the "Very Good" grade even if I was half-my age. That is just incredible. I am patting myself with self-congratulatory taps and high-fiving imaginary friends.
The run did come with a very harsh lesson. Since I was using my iPhone 3GS to time the run and the distance, I needed to shut it down exactly at 12 minutes. The iPhone is a touch-screen device and it has no hardware buttons to act as a stop-watch. This mean I need to swipe the keyboard to unlock it, and then hit the stop button. It would be quite dangerous to do something like this while running at 15kph, so I decided to stop the treadmill (instead of gradually reducing the speed). Big Mistake!!. The sudden deceleration messed up my head. I could see things slowly going dark. Instinct made me hit the speed button on the treadmill so that I could start walking again and I slowly started walking again. It felt like I was in some kind of a dream and when I opened my eyes, I had no idea where I was and what I was doing there. It took me a few seconds to realize what happened. I was this close to falling over from the treadmill.
If I am to do this test again, I will only do with with someone else timing me - and after ensuring that he/she has an oxygen pack handy.