Cooper test: Check your Running condition in 12min

One of my tasks in this sprint was to run a Cooper test in order to define my starting level. I wanted to know where I’m at in the beginning of my journey so that I can follow-up my progress both in increasing the distance and my fitness. My ambition is that in next May I’m able to both run the Marathon and improve my Cooper result : )

Running Cooper Test

Running Cooper Test

Why Cooper test then?

I decided use this as my follow-up measure as one can run it without any specific equipment or help. There are also other ways to measure your running / aerobic condition which also give you much more accurate information of your hearth rate levels etc. (e.g. Coconi test, Bicycle ergometer test etc.). But for me the Cooper is just enough, it gives good enough result and it’s easily repeatable several times during my project.

As a interesting background fact, I had never ran Cooper before. In high school it was only for boys and us ladies just ran 1500m. And until now I haven’t’ had need / interest to measure my running condition from this point of view – I have been mainly focusing to follow-up the distance and time I’m able to run. Thus this is my first result and I’m not having any history to compare my result with. That’s naturally unfortunate as it would have been interesting to have some history to compare where I’m at today : ) Luckily this is not a problem as all as whole idea of Cooper is that the results are comparable to general recommendations and results in your age group. A table exists that classifies all results from specific age groups into a specific fitness levels. From this table you can check how your results compares to others and thus you get guidance are you e.g. on Good or perhaps on Excellent condition. Also it helps you to define your self a target e.g. next time you want to reach level “very good”.

From the following table you can check Cooper test result definitions:

Cooper test results table

(Source: Wikipedia. In addition several running books and magazines refer to the same table)

How to run a Cooper test?

Then to the details of Cooper itself. Idea of the Cooper test is to run 12min as fast as you can. Recommendation is to run as evenly as possible, but still running on your maximum capacity. The distance that you are able to reach in 12min is your final result. This is also the result that you can find from the above table.

As mentioned, test is fairly simple to perform: only thing you need is a timer (e.g. phone) and way to measure distance. Best way to get accurate distance measure is to run the test on near by sports field. This helps to standardize the conditions (e.g. no up or downhills) and you also get very specific result due to having metrics on the track it self. If you don’t have sports field near by you, it’s also possible to use other means to measure the distance. E.g. Sports tracker app or sports watch have distance measurement in them that give close enough result. They are not 100% accurate though so thus I’m recommending to use the sports field if anyhow possible!

Running Cooper Test

Stretching after running

My Cooper Test result

My own Cooper result was 2060m which according to the table is “Average”. I did my test on sports field and I counted having ran the field 5 times. And when my timer rang, I ad started my sixth round and paused on 60m line which gives me result of 5 x 400m + 60m = 2060m in total.

My tip for running a Cooper test is to practice / test it out a bit in advance. When running it for the first time, it’s difficult to evaluate what is your realistic speed. I myself for example started a bit too slow and then speeded up during the latter part. Risk is also that you start too fast and then are completely dead even before the half of the journey which might give a bit wrong picture of your actual running condition.

But, now I have my starting level defined which is very existing. It’s interesting to see where it develops during my 365 day journey. Though improving my cooper test result is not my main goal (my main goal is increasing the distance all the way to marathon) it still gives a nice indication during my journey that how I’m I doing and improving. And I believe that training towards marathon will also improve my performance in Cooper. Additionally I’m never very keen on being on “Average” category so this is one more motivator for me to stick in my project and improve my running potential ; )

Where to eat in Prague? My top Restaurant tips

Let’s get back to Prague still for a while in a form of ”where to eat when in Prague”. I myself like to read tips and recommendations related to good places to eat and drink and that is why I also decided to share mine to you. Choosing a restaurant abroad can sometimes be tricky – at least for me! There is so much to choose from and so few opportunities to try them out, so it creates some stress and high expectations because choosing one wrong means that ´just lost one of your changes to enjoy great food ; ) This time we managed to choose e x t r e m e l y great places to eat and thanks to that belongs to good tips picked up both form other blogs and Tripadvisor!

Café’s:

Coco Van is a cute café and literally a retro van which is styled very nicely in a “boho” style. Around the van can be found chairs and picnic blankets conveniently placed in a shade of big trees. It’s nice to sit down and enjoy cup of coffee or homemade lemonade. Location is also top-notch as the van in located in Shooter’s Island (which I tipped in my Top 10 tips for Prague -post).

Coco Van Prague

Good Food is a “Trdelnik” bakery located on one of the main tourist street. This offers fresh Cinnamon buns served from “a stick” which is a local treat called “Trdelnik”. In the bakery you can follow how they roll the pastry around the stick, roll it in a chosen topping and then grill it. You can order these with many different tasting toppings and fillings and  (e.g. jam, ice-cream, chocolate…) . We ended-up choosing the plain traditional one with cinnamon and nut-crunch topping to avoid  complete sucker-over-doze.  Enjoying this fresh from the grill and with a nice river view was <3 !

Trdelnik Prague

Trdelnik Prague

 

Restaurants

Estrella was an excellent vegetarian restaurant  which we found based on Tripadvisor recommendations. Food was very good, restaurant had a nice atmosphere and location convenient as it was just in the hoods of old down. Apparently the restaurant was very popular among the locals as it was fully booked by pre-reservations. We were lucky because we were having dinner quite early (around 6pm) and thus we managed to get a table with a condition that we are not planning to spend there several hours with several courses : )

Estrella Prague
Estrella Prague

 

Clear Head was another vegetarian restaurant which we also found based on Tripadvisor. Food was again very tasty, I eat an salad which had one of the tastiest dressing I have ever tasted. This restaurant was also fully booked in the evening, but thanks to our early schedule we again managed to get a table.

Clear Head Prague

 

Wine & Food Market is a cozy Italian restaurant. Location is not very nice and we almost gave up when walking towards it – but afterwards thinking I’m happy we didn’t. This restaurant is close to Vhyserad caste and we visited it for lunch after having walked around the castle area. I had tortellini’s and my husband had pizza. Both portions were amazingly tasty, though simple and fresh – meaning true Italian  food : ) Portions were fairly small though so I would recommend having a side-order or appetizers in case you feel very hungry. This recommendation I found from Kira’s blog.

 

Lobella was quite basic hamburger restaurant, but worth mentioning due to it’s price / quality. This was very beef –focused place and list had only hamburgers and two salads.  I chose salad which was very tasty and h u g e. My husband had a burger which was very basic, but again very tasty due to fresh and quality ingredients. Location is a bit further away from the old city center, but still a walking distance. This place we found again via Tripadvisor.

Lobella restaurant Prague

Bella Vista is my last recommendation, though I’m recommending this with a bit mixed feelings. We paused there without planning too much after having visited the Prague castle and starting to feel a bit hungry. Location and views in this restaurant are a m a z I n g and that is the sole reason why I’m recommending this place! We chose here the traditional Gulas –soup which in Prague usually comes interestingly inside a bread. Food was OK, but price had definitely some tourist-add-on. Also the service in this restaurant was not very nice – even rude sometimes (though that also happens in other places at Prague). Despite that, I’m still willing to recommend the place as sunny day in a shade of old monastery was worth some extra price and rude service ; )

Bella Vista Prague
Bella Vista Prague

I hope that I’m able to help someone with the difficult choices on picking a good restaurant in Prague – the same way as I got help for myself : )