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! There are lots of people who need to complete a 1.5 mile test, either for army or police or other profession that requires strong endurance and speed. .

Not sure how long you have till your test and what your current fitness level is. That would help determine 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.

My thoughts on this are broken down in three components:

1. Running is essential - the specificity principle
2. What is needed for a strong 1.5 Mile Run
3. Alternatives to running

See further detail below:

Running is Essential - the Specificity Principle

You say you are not too keen on running. That is a little bit of a problem!

There is a certain principle in exercise, that is called the specificity principle. Paraphrasing what it stands for: 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!

It is best to run regularly to prepare for your police fitness test. You would maximise your chances of success. I would strongly advocate running at least three times per week.

What is Needed for a Strong 1.5 Mile Run

Get into a regular training regime, three times a week at least, anything more is great. Any race over 800 meters is predominantly an aerobic affair, so, even though you need some speed, it is predominantly your cardiovascular system that needs to be trained. So do lots of running at an easy pace to give yourself the best chances of success!

You will want to be able to cover the distance with ease. You'll do that by slowing down (easy running!), but going further than the 1.5 mile race distance.

Imagine if you regularly run 6 miles in a training session; how easy would it feel to run 1.5 miles?

Key pages to get more info:

Base Running

Increasing Mileage Safely

After you have built up your mileage and are able to run a decent distance, then you can add in some faster work. Check out the Running Workouts page for extra information.

Alternatives to Running

As I have mentioned before I'd really recommend running three times per week at least. Given you are loathe to do more running, you can further build up your cardiovascular system with other cardio exercise.

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.

Other good activities are the elliptical machine, the rowing trainer or swimming. They all provide cardiovascular benefits.

Also see Cross Training for Runners.

However, continue to keep in mind that running needs to be the main exercise of choice.

Whatever you do, you'd better start preparing!

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

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