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  Getting Kids Fit

 

The impact that the Running School program has on kids' cardiovascular fitness can be quantified by the tracking of performance times for each student in the half-mile distance race held four times per year. While improving sprinting technique and speed is important, as is helping fit children become even faster, we will place particular focus on the large population of unfit students who are in a “danger zone” revealed by the 2005 California Physical Education Health Project. Here, 40% of California’s fifth graders were not able to pass a basic aerobic fitness test, identifying them as early at-risk for cardiovascular disease.

Running School utilizes the scientifically validated FITNESSGRAM testing protocol to measure cardiovascular fitness with students. This program was developed in 1982 (recently updated in 2005) by The Cooper Institute in Dallas, TX to measure kids’ fitness with criterion-referenced standards called Healthy Fitness Zones, based on what is optimal for good health. These standards are backed by the highly respected FITNESSGRAM Scientific Advisory Board.

Running School will focus its program and test on the critical aerobic capacity element of the FITNESSGRAM standards. Of the three performance tests (body composition, muscular strength/endurance/flexibility and aerobic capacity), the Cooper Institute says that the aerobic test is “perhaps the most important indicator of physical fitness and assesses the capacity of the cardiorespiratory system by measuring endurance.” The FITNESSGRAM aerobic test consists of a one-mile run, completed as fast as possible. Healthy Fitness Zone standards have been established for age and gender beginning at age ten.

Running School Half-Mile Distance Race

The one-mile run test is not advised for kids under ten due to the difficulty of children maintaining motivation and pacing properly to obtain an accurate result. Hence, there is no FITNESSGRAM Healthy Fitness Zone standard for under age 10. Consequently, Running School competitions will be held at the more suitable half-mile distance at elementary school campuses, while middle school students will contest the one-mile distance.

Half-mile times can serve as accurate predictors of performance at double that distance using the following rationale. First, a statistical analysis comparing the times at half-mile to one-mile for three different performance levels indicate a consistent performance variation that can be applied to children (in the obvious absence of any proven scientific study of the subject). The performance levels measured for both male and female were the world record holders, the US national high school record holders and a typical accomplished high school athlete qualifying for a league championship.

Remarkably, at all three levels, male runners complete the half-mile in 45% of the time they do the mile (adjusting for the more common metric equivalent race of 800 meters). At all three levels, female runners complete the half-mile in 44% of the time they do the mile. Hence, applying the same formula to a male youth runner completing a half-mile race in 3:00 predicts a mile performance of 6:40.

Furthermore, we can obtain a valid prediction for the age-related improvements in aerobic performance by comparing the progression of the performance standards each year at various nationwide Presidential Physical Fitness Test percentile rankings. For example, an eight year old performing at the 50th percentile nationwide has a one-mile time of 11:05. A nine-year old at the 50% percentile has a time of 10:30 – representing an improvement of 9.5%. The 9.5% improvement per year figure remains extremely accurate for both boys and girls at all performance standards from 25th – 95th percentile. Note: For our schools at the 4,700' elevation level in the Carson Valley area of Nevada, we have adjusted all time standards by 3% to account for the altitude effect, per guidelines established by USA Track and Field for national championship qualifying standards.

Combining the half-mile-to-mile performance prediction with the age-related progression in performance, we have established an "on target" half-mile performance for each age group to predict attaining the Healthy Fitness Zone standard in the one-mile run test at age 10 for boys and girls. Furthermore, we have converted the national Presidents Fitness One-Mile Run percentile rankings to half-mile performances to give students an idea of their national percentile ranking based on their half-mile race times.The one-mile performance standards chart below is derived directly from the FITNESSGRAM standards and national Presidents Fitness rankings.

Performance Standards For Half-Mile Race

 

 

 

based on National Presidential Fitness One-Mile Run Standards, converted to half-mile race

 

BOYS

AGE

 

 

 

 

6

7

8

9

10

HFZ "Passing Grade" Half-Mile

7:15

6:37

6:03

5:32

5:11

HFZ Mile Time

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

11:30

50th percentile half-mile

5:20

5:15

4:59

4:43

4:24

75th percentile half-mile

4:54

4:31

4:13

4:05

3:45

95th percentile half-mile

4:00

3:49

3:36

3:31

3:14

100th percentile half-mile

2:50 

3:27 

 2:55

3:04 

2:53 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GIRLS

AGE

 

 

 

 

6

7

8

9

10

HFZ "Passing Grade" Half-Mile

8:05

7:23

6:45

6:10

5:30

HFZ Mile Time

 

 

 

 

12:30

50th percentile half-mile

5:54

5:41

5:30

5:13

5:00

75th percentile half-mile

5:16

4:58

4:48

4:34

4:38

95th percentile half-mile

4:27

4:11

4:02

3:40

3:34

100th percentile half-mile

3:47 

3:32 

3:31 

2:43 

2:49 


***

Performance Standards For Mile Race

 

 

 

based on National Presidential Fitness One-Mile Run Standards

 

BOYS

AGE

 

 

 

 

10

11

12

13

14

HFZ "Passing Grade" Mile

11:30

11:00

10:30

10:00

9:30

50th percentile mile

9:48

9:20

8:40

8:06

7:44

75th percentile mile

8:19

8:00

7:41

7:11

6:45

95th percentile mile

7:10

6:56

6:43

6:25

6:01

100th percentile mile

6:24

6:29

6:03

5:40

4:30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GIRLS

AGE

 

 

 

 

10

11

12

13

14

HFZ "Passing Grade" Mile

12:30

12:00

12:00

11:30

11:00

50th percentile mile

11:22

11:17

11:05

10:23

10:06

75th percentile mile

10:08

9:44

9:15

8:49

8:36

95th percentile mile

8:07

8:06

7:35

7:21

7:20

100th percentile mile

6:26

7:07

6:22

5:42

5:51

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