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Balke 15-minute run

This 15-minute running test requires participants to cover the maximum distance possible in 15 minutes. This test, designed by Bruno Balke, is one of many running field tests designed to measure aerobic fitness. This test has a formula to predict VO2max from the run distance.

purpose: a running test to measure aerobic fitness (the ability of the body to utilize oxygen to power it while running).

equipment required: flat oval or running track, marking cones, recording sheets, stop watch.

pre-test: Explain the test procedures to the subject. Perform screening of health risks and obtain informed consent. Prepare forms and record basic information such as age, height, body weight, gender, test conditions. Measure out course and place marker cones. Perform an appropriate warm-up. See more details of pre-test procedures.

procedure: Place markers at set intervals around the track to aid in measuring the completed distance. Participants run for 15 minutes, and the distance covered is recorded. Walking is allowed, though the participants must be encouraged to push themselves as hard as they can.

scoring: There are several equations that can be used to estimate VO2max from the distance score. Also list is a table of predicted VO2max scores for some distances traveled.

The original formula by Balke:
VO2 = 6.5 + 12.5 x kilometers covered.

Another formula (Horwill, 1994):
VO2 = 0.172 x (meters / 15 - 133) + 33.3

target population: This test can be modified to be suitable for most populations. For those who are unfit or unable to run, there are similar walking tests that can be performed.

reliability: the reliability of this test would depend on practice, pacing strategies and motivation level of the participants. There should be good reliability for the test if these issues are addressed. As with all field tests, the conditions can also affect the results. The test should be conducted on a day with minimal wind, no rain and on a dry smooth surface, and the test repeated under similar conditions.

group running fitness testgroup running fitness test

advantages: large groups can be tested at once, and it is a very cheap and simple test to perform.

disadvantages: Practice and pacing are required, and performance on this test can be affected greatly by motivation.

variations / modifications: There are many variations of the walk / run test. See here for details.

comments: Note that there is also the treadmill test also developed by Balke.


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