Are You Fit Enough to Run? Take Our Test


IstockphotoFrom Health magazine

Want to be a runner, but not sure youre ready? There are three keys to running well: stamina, flexibility, and strength. Find out where you stand with our quick test, then follow our training tips to reach your goal.

Your stamina test:
Can you walk 2 miles in 32 minutes or less?

If you answered no:
Start walking 15–20 minutes 3–4 times a week. Then, add 5 minutes per week to each walk until you reach 45–60 minutes. Once a week, work on your speed, aiming to walk 2–3 miles at 15 minutes a mile. Next, follow our walk-to-run plan.

Your flexibility test:
Lie straight-legged on the floor with a towel wrapped around your left thigh, both ends in your left hand. Keeping your hips and right leg glued to the floor, use the towel to raise your left leg toward your chest while keeping it straight. Can you reach 90 degrees?

if you answered no:
You can still run, but do this move daily, holding it for 20–30 seconds. Also, incorporate stretches for your hips, calves, thighs, chest, and back. Limber muscles are key to preventing injury and will give you a better stride.

Your strength test:
Can you hold a plank (a.k.a. the “up” part of a push-up) for 3 sets of 30 seconds, plus do 2 sets each of 10 squats and 10 push-ups?

If you answered no:
Strong arms, legs, and core are running essentials. Practice the above moves, plus add 1–2 sets of 30 crunches and 10 each of lunges, leg curls, calf raises, and upper-body rows 2–3 times a week to build all the muscle you need.