After some researching on my running books and on the Internet, I found out that the evaluation run that my coach did to me prior to my speed training 4-5 years ago was the so-called “Balke Test”.
The Balke Test is a way to measure one’s VO2 Max. VO2 Max is the maximal rate at which oxygen can be brought in and used by the exercising muscle. It stands for ” Volume Of Oxygen Uptake” which is simply described as the body’s maximum capacity to transport and utilize oxygen while running. It is expressed in “milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute” If you have a higher number of VO2 Max, the better for you to run faster and more efficiently.
In order for a runner to undergo the Balke Test, he needs an oval track, a stopwatch and a calculator. The following are the steps in undergoing the test:
1. Go to an oval track. After a thorough warm-up, run as fast as you can for 15 minutes, covering a distance as much as possible. Be sure to run on the most inner lane of the oval track as it is measured as 400 meters.
2. Record the number of laps that you have covered plus the extra meters. Multiply the number of laps by 400 meters and then add the extra meters you covered after the last lap.
3. After having the number in meters, convert the number to meters per minutes by dividing it by 15. For example, if you covered 6 laps & one-half, multiply 6 laps by 400, then add 200. The distance covered in meters is 2,600 meters. Divide 2,600 meters by 15 minutes and the result is 173.3 meters per minutes.
4. From that 173.3 meters per minute, the first 150 meters/minute is equivalent to 33.3 ml/kg/min.
5. The remaining 23.3 is then multiplied by 0.178 and added to the base of 33.3. So, going back to our example, 23.3 X 0.178 = 4.14. If the base 33.3 is added to 4.14, the result is 37.44 ml/kg/min or VO2Max.
This means that your current aerobic fitness is 37.44 and it serves as your baseline VO2Max.
In the books “Hansons Marathon Method” & “Jack Daniel’s Speed Training”, you can find chart that would recommend ones target pace in Interval Training, Tempo/Threshold Runs, and Easy Run.
You can apply the Balke Test again on the middle of your training in order to check your progress in terms of your pace and speed to cover a certain distance.
You can also refer additional information on the Balke Test and the recommended paces on your speed training by browsing on Google.
So, lace up, go out of the door and run!
(Source: Hansons Marathon Method by Like Humprey With Keith & Kevin Hanson)