I have an upcoming fitness assessment for the fire brigade, probably within 4 - 6 weeks. I essentially dropped all cardio about 6 months back, with the sole intention of getting stronger, thinking I would have time to build my fitness back up if and when the fire service started recruiting. Well I applied a month ago and for the last two months I have been going to a local 5k run, doing it in about 26:30, which I thought meant I was still in shape so I wasnt too worried. Today I tried some hill sprints and they nearly killed me. Its quite a large hill, maybe 30+ metres, and quite steep but I didn't make it to the top even once, other than the warmup. Turns out I can go at moderate pace for quite a while, but as soon as I up the intensity my lungs just stop working. The problem was that I literally could not draw any breath, so I was doing the whole hill on the single tank of air I drew at the bottom of the hill. I felt awful. It feels like when I had asthma as a kid, but that hasn't been an issue for years, since I moved out of home and away from what caused it (my dog, im allergic and didnt realize for 18 years). It suddenly seems to have gotten worse again for no reason. I am hoping that Its because I was ill with a chest cough this last few weeks, but regardless of the reason I need to get my fitness back up and fast. I am not sure of specifics with the test, but it will include some sort of cardio test (something similar to the bleep test), a ladder raise, stair sprints and many many many weighted shuttle runs carrying everything from rolled up hoses to 30kg pumps to 200lbs dummies. I think the best way to go about it would be plenty of high intensity activity, similar to the kind of thing on Ross Training, but as today has shown I am completely incapable of any kind of high intensity work.