How to assess your physical condition before you start running?

It is possible and necessary to assess your physical condition before you start running. And get the most out of your training!

How to assess your physical condition before you start running?

Last update: 08 September 2022

If you want to get started in the wonderful world of running, we recommend that you first assess your physical condition. Before you start running (or any other type of high-intensity exercise), it’s very important to know your health.

We are not just talking about whether you have a few extra kilos, but also what is the condition of your heart and respiratory system, for example.

Assess fitness before running: necessary tests

Taking up running doesn’t mean putting on your running shoes and going for a run like there’s no tomorrow. Unless you want to injure yourself and never run again (or for a long time), you should run some tests to determine your health.

Thanks to these practices, you will be able to know how you feel when you start the activity, but they also help you to put together a routine, know how much you can demand from your body and, above all, it will prevent you from getting injured.

Before you start running, you must be medically cleared to do this activity.

Consider these tests that every aspiring runner should take:

1. Effort control

One of the most common is to start any kind of exercise that requires a certain search. However, in recent times, high-tech equipment has been used to control stress many athletes rely on “simply” analyzing how they feel after a workout.

How much it costs us to do a particular exercise depends on our cardiovascular capacity (heart and lungs). you can choose rating of perceived exertion (or RPE, Rate of perceived exertion) to subjectively measure effort on a scale of 1 to 10.

Logically, the RPE test is recommended to be performed under the supervision of a training specialist, who can determine exactly what your tolerable effort is according to a given exercise.

2. Cardio capacity

To check your heart capacity, you can do this test: climb a step of 30 cm. Raise it and lower it without stopping for 3 minutes.

Try to complete 24 steps per minute. After that time, check your heart rate using a smart watch. It also counts strokes per minute. The higher this value, the more running ability you have.

3. Use a heart rate monitor to measure your heart rate

Heart rate increases with effort, as we saw before. If we monitor the values ​​that appear on the smart watch every time we train, we will be able to understand what our “optimal” or “average” heart rate is.

Also this data will help us increase our walking pace when we need to train more before a race or if we will be running on a steep surface or it is hot (situations requiring more effort).

4. Balance test

This is another way to assess our physical capacity before we start running. Of course, because we need balance to run, stay stable and be faster.

To assess your ability to balance, assume a “stork stance,” which means standing with your right foot on your left inner thigh (or at least your calf). Time how long it takes for your left leg to lose balance.

The stork pose is a simple test to assess static balance.

5. Rhythm control

There are different ones online calculators that help you measure the pace of your workouts. It’s important to know that race pace is another way of measuring intensity: more speed requires more effort.

What exactly would the beat be? This is the approximate speed in km/min at which you should run in order to achieve a certain time. When we run longer distances, such as a half marathon or a marathon, the pace is slower than when we do shorter distances such as 100 or 200 meters.

6. Flexibility test

Of course, we need to know how flexible we are, and not just at the level of the legs… but of the whole body! A runner with flexibility will be able to have a greater range of motion in their stride and will also recover more quickly from exertion. If the muscle is long and flexible, blood will flow more freely.

To assess flexibility Lie on your back on the floor, bend your right knee and hug your thigh to your chest. Pass a ribbon through the arch of that foot and grasp the ends with your hands. Try to stretch your leg as much as you can. The left foot should be flat on the ground. If the angle between the raised leg and the supporting leg is greater than 90°, it means that you are in good physical shape.

Other tests that can help you assess your fitness before you start running are: a comparison of Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) + Heart Rate + Race Pace; joint mobility test and physical fitness tests.

Remember that assessing your physical condition before you start running is a must for the activity to be safe. Take the time to see your GP who will tell you which rigorous tests are suitable for your particular case.

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