The Cooper 12 Minute Test: Monitor Your Running for Performance Success

Mar 7, 2024

How do you know you are becoming a better runner?



It’s very easy to focus all your attention on your running program and follow it strictly. After so many weeks, you should run this amount of time, and step-by-step you are following the programme and use it as a sign of your progression.

It makes sense, if you can run further than before or faster than before, following the steps your programme, it is very likely that you are improving.

But this way of tracking your progress is not precise. There is a better way to accurately monitor your progress:

The Cooper 12 Minute Test.

This test calculates your cardiovascular endurance aerobic fitness. Simply put its measures how effective your cardiovascular and aerobic systems are at supplying your muscles with the oxygen needed for your activity. It is the maximum volume (V) of oxygen (O2) your body process – otherwise known a your VO2 Max

It’s an easy test to complete. All you need it yourself and a timer.

Simply run for as far as you can within a 12-minute timeframe and record the distance covered. This test is ideally conducted on a marked track, but it can also be adapted for treadmill use by setting the incline to 1% to simulate outdoor conditions.

To calculate your results, simply add you distance into the equations below:

Kilometers: VO2max = (22.351 x kilometers) – 11.288

Miles: VO2max = (35.97 x miles) – 11.29

Use the table below to see what your results mean.

Cooper 12 Minute Test

This score is a great baseline measure to see how you are progressing. The Cooper 12 min test is a reliable and repeatable method for measuring your progress – compare your results against your previous test and you can see your development as a runner.