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How can I Prepare Myself for a Police Fitness Test?

by Liam

Hi, I have just applied for the police and am waiting on the date I have to do a fitness test. This test consists of running a mile and a half in 12 minutes.

I am worried I can't prepare myself as I am not a big runner.
Are there any exercises that can improve my fitness so I can pass my police fitness test.
Thanks Liam

Answer by Dominique:

Hi Liam,
Thanks for your question about your upcoming police fitness test. You are not the only one wanting do a 1.5 mile test in a certain timeframe! In the last month alone I must have answered four or five questions about the dreaded 1.5 Mile / 2.4 km test.

I would first suggest to check out my answers to related questions on the Running Training Q&A Page.

Not sure how long till your test and what your current fitness level is, so don't know how aggressive you need to be in your training approach. Are you reasonably fit, but you need some improved fitness to make the 12-minute cut or are you in more dangerous territory? This will determine what you need to do exactly.

You say you are not to keen on running.
There is a certain principle in exercise, that is called the specificity principle. It states that the best training you can do for a certain race or test is to do training specific to that race.

So, for a running test, it makes a whole lot of sense to run.

Although it is best to run regularly to prepare for your police fitness test (i.e. at least three times per week), you could consider skipping one of these runs, but then compensating this with bike rides. Bike riding is an excellent activity that will also boost your cardiovascular system with the additional benefit that it does not put the same stress on your lower legs as running does.

Swimming is good exercise for a general body-workout, and provides you with some cardiovascular benefits as well, but not as much as running and bike riding.

Another great cardiovascular activity is the rowing trainer. Disadvantage is that it trains the arms more than the legs, but it definitely helps to build up your stamina.

Other alternatives are certain aerobics classes that put emphasis on cardio like steps etc.
It's not for everyone, some guys feel a bit self-conscious in those classes, especially when the class is dominated by girls.

Whatever you do, you'd better start preparing. Get into a regular training regime, three times a week at least, anything more is great. Any race over 800 metres is predominantly an aerobic affair, so, eventhough you need some speed, it is predominantly your cardiovascular system that needs to be trained. So do lots of running or other cardio to give yourself the best chances of success!

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Best of luck with your police fitness test.
Kind regards,

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