Please know that this baseline test and all testing can meet athletes of varying fitness levels and experience. Below is a quick look of tests one could do in the water to validate both current fitness level and stroke efficiency*:
10 x 25 w/ 1 minute recovery
10 x 50 w/ 30 seconds recovery
10 x 100 on 1:30 interval
4 x 500 w/ 1 minute recovery per
3 x 1000 w/ 1 min recovery per
200/800 regression test
*To make these tests even more robust one could use a Finis Tempo Trainer to keep an athlete at an optimal stroke rate; not too fast nor too slow. In time the athlete will be able to cover the set distances above faster at THE SAME OR LOWER STROKE RATE.
As you can see, the tests noted above can meet the needs of ALL kinds of athletes. Testing can often intimidate some folks. I understand that. So, when I design baseline tests I always take into consideration where the athlete is STARTING from before prescribing.
If you are reading this post today and are on the fence about taking part in the 3 x 5K you can be rest assured this test can still fit.
Last night I had the opportunity to hang with the HCTC folks to talk about 2012. During this meeting one member voiced concern that this test may not fit her current fitness. I made it clear that she could do 3 x 1 mile with 5 to 10 min recovery. She is very new to running and wants to play it smart and I applaud her for having this kind of mindset.
Bottom line: all testing must meet the athletes current fitness level AND allow for validation of where they are. Without concrete baseline testing you can't determine if your training is providing the appropriate stress to promote the optimal adaptations you seek.
See you out there Saturday,