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Moderators: melkor

I am taking a phys. ed class that is required for me to graduate. Our fitness test is 50% of our grade, and it seems like I might not be able to pass the fitness test.

We have the option to run or walk our fitness test. We can either run as far as we can in 12 minutes (just so you know, running 1 mile would get me a D) or we can walk 3 miles.

For the run test, here is a link that she is using to determine our grade. FYI, she considers us as 'athletes' for this test.

For the 3 mile walk, in my age range, here is how it is broken down:

  • > 48 minutes ~ very poor (F)
  • 44:01-48 ~ poor (D)
  • 40:31-44 ~ fair (C)
  • 36-40:30 ~ good (B)
  • < 36 ~ excellent (A)

Right now, I walk 3.33 miles in 49-52 minutes, depending. So, on my best day I am walking somewhere around a 15 minute mile. This puts me in the 'poor' category.

My sister and I are walking every day, hoping to improve our times.

Other than walking consistently, does anyone have any tips that will help me increase my speed? (We aren't able to run, at all, for the actual fitness test)

Thanks guys.

10 Replies (last)

 Oh, right, the Cooper test - yet another misapplied proxy test of VoMax.

 Hmm, How to walk fast from the walking guide at sounds just the ticket, eh?

Quote  |  Reply

I do not know who came up with the "grades" but they are very unrealistic.  I walk for 90 minutes every morning.  I have been doing this for two years.  When I started I was overweight and was lucky to manage 3mph.  Now at a healthy weight for over a year I can consistently walk at 4.5mph.  As a 5'10'' male I am convinced that this is about as fast as I can go without breaking into a jog.  I can easily run much faster.

My point is that even though I have been training for the test you describe every morning for two years, I would get a B.  This makes it hard for me to believe that most folks who do not do this regularly would do very well.  Most folks I see out walking are usually going about 3.5 mph or so.  They would get an F on your test.

Walking three miles at four miles an hour is POOR???? Sounds like your teacher is an idiot - unless you actually ARE athletes. The human body is just not designed to walk faster than a certain speed without breaking into a jog/run.

The only way to improve your performance is to do it, and you already are...

Wow, I had a similar test in my freshman year of high school. It was one my teacher came up with though - we had to run for 30 minutes solid and our grade was the percentage of time we ran that - no walking allowed (walking meant you were done). With absolutely no training whatsoever I think I was able to jog (and swing my arms and legs a bit crazier) for 12 minutes straight, but I was really pushing myself, about to fall over and die of exhaustion. I was dizzy and lost track of time, I was turning pale and pretty much on autopilot - not controlling myself anymore. These tests really aren't healthy. Because I almost died for a 12/30 - an F.

I just finished the first week of Couch to 5k - it has taught me a bit about how fast I can go without jogging. 5 mph is a definite jog for me. 4 mph is so fast I'm almost jogging - it's way too awkward to walk at, because my body isn't used to moving my legs that fast or taking such huge strides. I took a Surveying/Geomatics class and my pace is an average of 2.7 feet per step. The treadmill can't be much longer.

For me personally, I do the walking parts at 2.5 mph. 3 is just too fast and wears me out.

Are you allowed to jog for bits of the walking test? Because you might have to to keep the time up.

I'd recommend checking out the Couch to 5k, on the third day I was able to walk/jog 1.52 miles in about 20 minutes. So multiplying by 2, that might put you in the B range. You jog for 60 seconds and walk for 90 seconds, so it's still mostly walking. Give it a shot.

Edit: I just reread your post. I still think what I consider a "jog" (5 mph) can be modified slightly to look like a "walk" from across the field. Just don't hold your arms up like you're running. Ugh, I really feel for you.

Devil's Advocate, at your service. How long have you known about the test? If you are young and in relatively good healthy, 4 years (from freshman to senior) is a lot of time to improve your fitness. Did you put this off until the last semester? That won't be in your favor when you ask for clarification on the goals of the fitness program at your school--why is it assumed you are "athletes," for example, unless attention to fitness is worked into the curriculum throughout the four years? Holding students to a standard without making an effort to prepare them to meet that standard is, in general, very bad form for any educator. Perhaps the real goal of the test is to make sure students pay attention to their physical health (which is in their own interest). If a student can show reasonable improvement over a period of time, then that is a much better "standard" than assuming every graduate qualifies as an "athlete."

BUT if you have had time and knowledge of the expectation, it may not be something you will be able to get changed if you are in your last semester. You can challenge it, but don't expect miracles in one semester. You may just have to put up with the crummy grade (and usually D is a passing grade; be sure to get this clarified!). If this dramatically affects your GPA AND you can prove some disability, it might be worth a legal challenge. Otherwise, you may have to just suck it up. FWIW, I am nearly 50 and 50+ lbs overweight and with a lot of working out, I would get a B (I timed myself walking a lot this summer and when I worked on improving my walking speed, it made a huge difference).

Sorry if this is not supportive. I feel for you, but I think it is worth considering the bigger picture so that you have a realistic idea of what the school's thinking might be.

Thanks for the responses from everyone. I thought I would ask here, because any time I mention it (out here in the real world) people say that a 12 minute mile is running and they think she is crazy.

Devil's Advocate :) No, I found out about this test on January 12th, the test is April 25th. I am completing my associates degree, so I can transfer to a four year, I did put off my phys. ed class, but only because I was busy getting my hardcore subjects out of the way.

Heatherket, trying to sneak a jog in sounds so tempting! My sister (who is 19 and taking the class with me) wants to cheat a whole lap :\ I am pretty sure cheating, either way, will get me an F WAY quicker than I could ever walk the three miles.

I am going to check out the link Melkor suggested and keep plugging away. I guess it makes me feel better that I am not insane in thinking that this is ridiculous.

Okay...that seems totally unreasonable to me.  You're a civilian, and your grades are more stringent than the alternate PT test for Army males. 

As a 30+ year old female I have 38 min to walk 2.5 miles.  Males have 34.  I do it in about 33 min so I *might* make the good to fair range on that grading scale. 

All I can suggest is walking uphill as much as possible, and do 'intervals' by alternating an easy stroll with powerwalking. 

Original Post by kelleigh:

Devil's Advocate :) No, I found out about this test on January 12th, the test is April 25th. I am completing my associates degree, so I can transfer to a four year, I did put off my phys. ed class, but only because I was busy getting my hardcore subjects out of the way.

If no one told you up front that a fitness test was a graduation requirement (separate from saying, "you have to take p.e."), then you have some really good grounds to challenge the test. They absolutely should not test you on something you have not been properly prepared for--it is against all educational theory and, as a 2 year school, the school should know better. You should find out who is in charge of degree requirements and take this to that person, suggesting that a much more reasonable standard would be one of IMPROVEMENT over the course of the p.e. class, OR that they need to get a baseline for each enrolling student and use that as a way to test improvement over the course of two years, WHILE making the effort to educate students about the expectations and the seriousness of the expectations. They would not put you in an inappropriate math class and then expect you to excel, would they? This is no different. Not everyone has the capacity to be an athlete, although everyone has the capacity to improve and even maximize their personal fitness. I'm never going to run 100 meters in 9.2, no matter how fit I am, right? But with effort I can improve to my best time, whatever that is.Same point here.

It really DOES sound ridiculous! But give the Couch to 5K program a go - I've just finished week 3 and I've noticed a definite increase in my walking speed. It's much easier for me to walk at 4 miles an hour than it was a month ago. You've got enough time to run the program, and you might even be able to do the running test instead of the walking one by the time test-time rolls around!

mkculs, I think I might just say something to the 'dean of phys. ed', or someone of equal power. Even if it doesn't make a difference, I want my complaint to be known. I know that I am not the only one who is bewildered by this!

Kajikit, I will consider the C-5k program...even though I HATE running, period. I know you have been having a good deal of success with the program, though, so it might be worth a try.

10 Replies