training tips for a 20m bleep test any help gratefully received!

Hi guys im new on here and am desperate for some helpful advice I need to achieve 9.6 on a beep test at the end of the month and only made level 7 tonight pretty gutted as I have been running in the gym for about 30 mins on a treadmill and thought I was doing ok.i swim and cycle for miles no probs but nothing really fast! I realise I have to do something major to kick 2 levels in 4 weeks any tips on training clearly steady running is not working. Im trying to eat more healthily aswell as ill do whatever it takes. Is it possible to improve from 7 to 9.6 realistically in 4 weeks I will do whatever it takes so any tips would be great tha ks in advance.


  • One of the biggest things to look at is your turning technique. As your right foot moves to touch the line, you need to pivot on your left so you're facing the opposite way as your foot touches the line. This way you won't come to a halt as many people do, turn and lose momentum. All the usual stuff for running faster applies - do sprints to get yourself moving faster, go on 30 min runs where you gradually increase the pace every minute so you know you can last the pace. Good luck.
  • I agree with Mrs Noel. It's not about the stamina but the ability to turn fast. My trainer tells me that's why long distance runners aren't as good at it as say footballers who need to be able to change direction fast.

  • Train for the bleep test by doing the bleep test but not flat out. This will work your stamina and your technique. Then come the end of the month. Rest up a couple of days and really go for it.

  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭

    when i have done the beep test in the past i have noticed people waste a lot of energy running the same pace for the first 5 levels so they get to the optherside and stop, wait and go again.

    Slow yourself down so you literally run at the pace necessary to complete each level.

  • I hope the following advice is helpful..  You many need to read it a couple of times, because I haven't got time to 'tidy it up'.

    Mrs Noel has a very good point.  Practicing that turn can save you a lot - keeping some momentum without doing a massive arc.. and only putting one foot on the line.  I've seen people fail at all 3 of these.  Some stopping completely at each turn. Some go too far the other way, avoiding stopping by adding yards in an exaggerated arc....  and I've seen some go way over the line at each end... with both feet!  (EDIT.... I've also seen the mistake that DT19 describes too!)

    The 30 minute progressively quickening run idea seems good... but I wouldn't spend much energy on sprinting. Normally, I'd say that some sprint intervals would be a good part of the mix, but you won't need to be sprinting to achieve 9_6 and you haven't got time for luxuries.

    You need to focus on getting your stamina and your VO2 max up, and this is what I'd do...

    VO2 runs - look up on google but will probably be something like  jog a mile... then increase to your 5K pace for 600-800m  (which shouldn't have you blowing too much) jog a minute or two, then repeat the 800m speed intervals... repeating perhaps 4 times first week... adding a repetition each week. Always finish off with a slow mile to warm down. Do one of these per week but not in the week of your test, so you have some freshness for the test.  

    A Lactate threshold (LT) run each week (but not in the week of your test) will do you good too.  From where you are now, perhaps Jog 1 mile,  then run fairly hard for 3 miles Perhaps 40-50 seconds per mile slower than your 5K pace , then jog a mile.

    Don't do back to back days with LT or VO2 sessions.  Have a rest or recovery run in between.

    Don't ignore the slow (recovery) run too, helping with endurance.... where you're going much much slower.. 2  or 3 minutes per mile slower than your 5K pace.... it will feel like snails pace... but helps build your base. 

    Once a week, try to do one of these runs longer than you do now.  45 minutes this week, 55 the next, maintain 55 the next (it's close to test day, so little body adaption is achievable by pushing on further)

    For all the great speed work I've done at times, I got my best "age-adjusted" bleep test result on the back of a marathon training programme... suggesting that endurance and LT play a huge role.

    So the overall programme might look like this (rest days are important, although you could perhaps swim or cycle on one of these each week)

    Feb 5th   Vo2 run   6th rest    7th recovery run 30 minutes  8th LT run   9th rest 10th Longer run 45 minutes SLOW.  11th rest 

    Feb 12th   Vo2 run   13th rest    14th recovery run 30 minutes  15th LT run   16th rest 17th Long run 55 minutes SLOW.  18th rest 

    Feb 19th   Vo2 run   20th rest    21th recovery run 30 minutes  22th LT run (but back off on the pace a little.... you're getting close to test day.   23th rest 24th Long run 55 minutes SLOW.  25th rest

    Feb 26th  recovery run, with a couple of 400m intervals at 5K pace (to keep you sharp)

    27th rest

    28th Test

    Always stretch off properly after each session.  Never stretch at the very start of a session when cold.

    All the above is written without really knowing much about you or your training... so is just 'general' advice.   Also, it accelerates the training faster than I'd normally recommend, which will bring an increased injury risk, but not (IMO) too big a risk.....   I've done this because it's clear you'r

  • I must have hit the text limit!   The last paragraph should be...

    All the above is written without really knowing much about you or your training... so is just 'general' advice.   Also, it accelerates the training faster than I'd normally recommend, which will bring an increased injury risk, but not (IMO) too big a risk.....   I've done this because it's clear you're desperate to make progress by the end of the month.

    I also forgot to add that at the end of your weekly 30 minute recovery run, I'd spend some time just practicing those turns.

    Reading Philomena's post...  it would be wise to do one 'practice' bleep test... instead of the final VO2 run.Mainly for practising the techniques you've worked on... the turning... and the avoidance of going too quick early on.   (remember... you are allowed to be late arriving at the line so long as you don't do it on consecutive repetitions....  so take it really easy on those early levels.  If you happen to be late arriving, you can easily pick up the pace to ensure you don't miss out 2 on the trot....  but by doing this easy pacing, you will conserve a lot of energy.)

    I'm not sure I'd do more than the one full practice test though....  I'd be concentrating on equipping yourself with the tools you need to pass.

  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭

    id agree, sprinting is not something you will need to develop, even if you were hitting level 15.

  • Oh... and where I said you COULD swim or cycle on one of the rest days... I'd say that you SHOULD do that. Possibly even on two of them if you're already exercising most days.

    I suggested 4 runs per week...  which I think is sensible, given that I think this is probably quite a step up from where you are now.... but judge your own starting point and adjust my suggestion as appropriate.

    I've gotta go now... good luck.  Send feedback, even if it's critical!

  • Hi id like to say thank you for all your advice i will try and build it up like you said and let you know how it goes also will run outside rather than treadmill as heard its a lot better even in this weather! Thanks again. image
  • I was thinking of pracising building up aswell with sprinting jogging and walking a short distance keeping on going sprinting jogging walking would u recommend the vo2 or LT instead or shall I pop those in aswell?

    Would you recommend the recovery drinks you see too or should eating healthily be enough to get me through?

    Thanks again image
  • Like I said, host,  given the timeframe you've got, I'd avoid sprinting.  It will train parts of your system that you won't be relying on heavily on to achieve 9_6.   And much worse... it will sap your energy, preventing you from optimising those Vo2 and LT runs that will make a real difference.

    I'm not a world expert, but that plan I produced looked good to me.... and I hope I explained the reasons why I made those suggestions, even if the post was long.

    As for recovery drinks... I can't comment.  I never use them. But that doesn't mean that some of them aren't useful.  I genuinely don't know.

    Good luck.  Go for it! 

  • MemsahibR wrote (see)

    I agree with Mrs Noel. It's not about the stamina but the ability to turn fast. My trainer tells me that's why long distance runners aren't as good at it as say footballers who need to be able to change direction fast.

    Surely this depends completely on the relative fitness of the people involved?!

  • Agree with DT19 Ive done a few of these tests, up to 10-6 now. Most people waste energy in the first few levels where you really dont have to run, its a slow slow jog. Dont waste energy, conserve until the upper levels when your body will be screaming for energy. Pivot technique is great advice too. Conservation of energy in my case was the key, everyone is different though, do a trial run and see how you get on.

  • Thanks for the article.
    I have some questions about the bleep test, and seek some expert advice in my situation please.
    Firstly, how good or accurate measure is bleep tests of fitness level for a specific sport? I refer in particular to rugby refereeing, where they now recently judge our fitness based merely on bleep test results, and from experience i find that I am able to ref 3 to 5 games per day and manage it easily, yet my bleep scores are very bad according to them. Refereeing is more like interval training with short bursts of between 5 to 10 seconds fast running, followed by 30 to 90 s walking or standing as recovery time. Bleep is more cardio and anaerobic in that its long duration constant running including turning and acceleration at high rate so is completely different to the refereeing type fitness required in a match. Yet they evaluate us on it so my question is how can one acquire these bleep abilities to ensure compliance?
    Secondly, I notice you mentioned not to train the day before the bleep test. Unfortunately, they make us train the day before too. So my question is how does one get rid of sore muscles and pain in the legs in 1 day so one is ready for the next day bleep?
    Is there any specific training and preparation one can do to improve bleep test results?
    Finally, I am already 40 years old and am on lots of chronic medication and am actually medically bordered. I’m on Citalopram 60 mg per day as well as hCG injections for approximately 4 week periods twice a year or so. Furthermore, my lifestyle is extremely stressed and rushed with part time work i am forced to do to supplement my disability grant income to raise funds to survive for myself and my elderly widowed mother whom i live with.
    Rugby refereeing has been my whole life and i love it so much i really do not want to give it up due to inability to succeed at bleep tests, yet i also do not want to jeopardize my health and wellness and possibly get injured or suffer a breakdown which could cost me the whole season off in recovery. So what would be a safe and effective way, if any, to succeed at bleep tests? They require at least 12,5 to pass but actually from 14,5 up do they only start giving you regular games and respecting you as being capable of handling the games. I currently only manage around 8,5 (after enforced training the previous day, if i rest the previous day i can manage about 10,5 which is still well short of the requirements). My legs get exhausted very quickly then they have no energy left to continuously accelerate at high rates without periods of rest inbetween as there are in rugby games, that is why i can cope in games, but not in bleeps.
    Apologies for the long post but i really would appreciate any help you can give. I can give you more of my medical details and records if required to help you provide effective and safe assistance to me, as well as the large variety of different techniques, medications, supplements, natural and herbal products etc that i have tried before to increase my ability that have all failed. Just ask if needed.
    Kind regards.
    (+27) 0826449390
    [email protected]
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