Updated: October 20th, 2011
NASA Endurance Fitness Test This test measures your body’s ability to endure an aerobic effort for a prolonged period of time.

An Aerobic Effort is when your body consumes oxygen in order to create energy. After your body exhausts its maximum capacity to burn oxygen, the process becomes anaerobic: when oxygen is not used and the body creates lactic acid.

A strong aerobic base is essential if you want to remain injury free or run that fast race you are aiming for. Aerobic training involves running at 60-75% of your maximum heart rate. This translates to a pace that is 1½ to 2 minutes per mile slower than 10K race pace. At that rate you can run and keep up a conversation without huffing and puffing.

Since oxygen consumption increases proportionally to the increase of energy released, we can evaluate the maximum aerobic capacity by measuring the VO2max: your body’s max possible consumption of oxygen in order to produce energy.

This test is commonly called Cooper’s Test, from the NASA doctor who invented and utilized this method for military reasons.

Test consists in running 12 consecutive minutes on flat at a constant speed. You just have to measure the distance you run in these 12 minutes and compare your results with the tables below.

With Cooper’s Test you can also measure your VO2max by using the formula

[distance in meters – 505] / 45.

A good rule of thumb is to measure and track the variations of your endurance fitness over time in order to evaluate your progresses.

Cooper Test Table

Cooper Test Table

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