Physical Fitness Tests and Building Up To Running


I have come to realize how important it is to allow life to just happen and not worry so much about figuring out all of the details in advance.

I very rarely plan out blog posts. I may have ideas in mind for the upcoming week or jot down quick notes on topics I want to discuss but when I sit down to start writing, all planning goes out the window.

In fact, sometimes I am completely unsure of what I feel like saying and then suddenly, like the way a Ouija Board would start spelling out words, my fingers are typing away on a subject I hadn’t even thought about two minutes prior to sitting down.


Did you ever play with the Ouja board? Used to freak me out as a kid.

I didn’t plan on talking about running or that I ran a little over 43 miles last week but here we are.

43 miles. Hmm. That’s a lot. Well, for me it’s a lot.

I have friends that are fascinated. They tell me they could never run so much. They tell me that they can’t even run a mile without stopping or, if they can manage a few miles, they most certainly cannot run more than three miles at a time.

Newsflash: Anyone can build up to running. If I can, you can too.

But it doesn’t happen overnight of course.

We live in a world where people want everything to happen for them yesterday.

Strength and endurance, running ability and stamina, it all takes time. Time and dedication.

Having said that, can someone please explain to me why our schools have failed to come to this realization and still include physical fitness tests in the gym class curriculum?

Rather than teaching our kids to develop athletic abilities, they are testing them, timing them and posting their scores for the entire class to see.

I have already channeled part of my rage in a passive aggressive email to the gym teachers (please don’t tell my son) and have a plan in place to take up the subject with Michelle Obama when I find myself some spare time.

It is important for you to know, that when I was a kid in high school, I received a doctor’s note every semester which stated I was unable to run the mile in for the physical fitness test due to my exercise-induced asthma.


I did not have asthma. I just had a nice doctor who allowed me to sit out of running a timed mile or any form of a mile because I couldn’t run, didn’t want to run, didn’t want to try to run and certainly didn’t want to sweat.

One time, spring of ninth grade to be exact, my doctor’s note was a day late and my wicked gym teacher (oh Ms. Tirado if you could see me now) forced me to run a mile within a certain amount of time.

I ran that mile alright. And then proceeded to faint, wake up and vomit.

Ms. Tirado never made me run again. But see, she should have “made me run” again. Just not a full mile at a time.

It’s not fair for kids (or adults!) to suddenly be expected to run a mile. A timed mile!

It is neither safe (nor sane!) to expect kids to know how to do a correct push up and then proceed to count how many each child can do in a minute.

And the posting of the scores for everyone to see? I wonder if there was a special column for kids like me who fainted and then threw up in the gym.

I tell my son to do the best that he can as well as informed him that I am pretty sure no one, including the gym teachers, are doing a correct push up.

Right? How many of you can actually say you can do a correct push up? Geez, I am still trying to hold a plank position let alone push down and figure out how to get back up.

Now, getting back to running and how this applies to you.

Maybe you already run but want to get faster. Maybe you want to start logging more miles.

Or, maybe you want to start at the beginning.


I always come across fabulous links filled with quality information so rather than recite and paraphrase what I read, I have selected three terrific links for you to check out:

Start Running – The best place to start is with Runner’s World. This link brings you to the beginning of your running journey with a ton of information, advice, charts and plans to get you running.

How to Run Nonstop for 30 Minutes Every beginning runners’ dream is to have the ability to run 30 minutes. This article is a great place to start. Be sure to click on the additional links once you read it; valuable information!

Run Longer: How to Run Nonstop for 60 MinutesFor those of you who can run a few miles without stopping, this article will put you on your path to keeping it up and going longer.


Want to pick up your pace? Click here for seven ways to run faster.

I really do wish that old Ms. Tirado could see me now.

labor day race

That’s right Ms. Tirado. The same girl who fainted and threw up in your class. No thanks to you.


Did you ever play with a Ouija Board?

Do you plan out blog posts?

Thoughts on Physical Fitness Tests?



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  1. says

    Goodness this cracks me up in the best way possible… 🙂 For real!! I mean, if your gym teacher could see you now – all star runner mom! 🙂 But seriously, I absolutely agree. There is no reason to make kids follow that kind of curriculum. With the knowledge a lot of Americans are learning – shouldn’t we be encouraging other things than running your fastest mile? I remember we used to have to get our BMI scores and they’d be public. Holy Hell. NO TO THAT.

  2. says

    I’ve never given a lot of thought to fitness tests (probably because I don’t have kids and it’s been forever since I’ve had to take one), but damn… you’re right… they’re garbage. I remember dreading them in gym class, which is kind of ironic because I was more of a runner back then than I am now. But you give a girl hope! I really want to up my running game this year, and thankfully the weather seems to be cooperating. Definitely going to check out those links.

  3. says

    Ahhh the timed mile, I don’t even remember how bad I was, but I’m sure it was bad. I loved being active but a timed mile was awful. I wrote before about how I hate that as we got older running was a punishment at practice, no wonder I didn’t want to do it! I agree anyone can, if they are willing {like we learned} to just take it slowly and build.

  4. says

    Oija boards FREAK ME OUT. Oh god i got one for my birthday around my 8th grade birthday and I’m pretty sure I had nightmares for weeks. I used to love the pacers in gym class but I don’t think it’s great for kids’ self confidence when they aren’t athletes. I’m not sure how I feel about them. Since I always enjoyed running, I liked using it as a reason to show off but I hated when we got graded based on our dodgeball skills, so I guess I don’t really love the idea of them.

    • says

      Yeah we used to play with the Ouija back in the day- never again! Those things are scary. Isn’t it funny I could play dodge ball but run? Not a chance. I was not exactly athletic.

  5. says

    Wow totally agree with this! I actually didn’t mind the gym fitness test because I loved running the mile. My school had a training program in place before the test though, so a few weeks/month or so before the test we would start slowly building up to a mile outside, and doing pushups and pullups. Our results weren’t posted either, that’s pretty awful! I was pretty bad at pullups (I could only do 1-2 with someone helping me up haha). Glad those days are over!

  6. says

    I was one of those crazy people who like the fitness tests – I could do the running and sit-ups much better than any game of dodge ball. At least once or twice a year I had a good day in PE.

  7. says

    Did you ever do the beep test?! Those were the worst. To think we would all get competitive with each other over a stupid beep. I just never really understood the point of those tests, but to be honest I enjoyed them more than when they forced us to play sports because I can’t play sports for my life! The best part about the mile run was that the first one I did in middle school I walked with my friend because she never ran and I didn’t feel like putting in effort (I was a horrible teen) but then the second one I actually tried and ran a sub 7 minute mile. I went from 14 mins to 7 mins…my gym teacher was blown away lol…clearly not an accurate test of anything. Well at least not if you don’t try!

    • says

      Hmm. The beep test? I think I do remember that! And, you should know, that same gym teacher the next year told me that I held the record for “walking” the mile the slowest of anyone in her entire teaching career (about 30 something years at the time)… You were pretty amazing to clock in under 7 minutes, that’s fast!