To put it eloquently, this experience was SUPER COOL.
I’m a total geek when it comes to analyzing my training data, so naturally I was all over the opportunity to get my fitness tested in a lab.
To get started, they did a 4 point skin-fold caliper test, and took my height and weight. I stepped on the treadmill and was loaded up with gear: a heart rate monitor, a plastic headband with a snorkel-like mouth piece (think orthodontic headgear). The mouthpiece was connected to tube leading to a metabolic cart. And for the finishing touch, a nose plug.
They entered my body mass stats into the cart's computer, then we got rolling.
A maximal treadmill test protocol was used, with direct monitoring of respiratory exchange.
I began at a walking pace and every 3 minutes the incline was increased. Around the 21 minute mark, the speed was also increased every 3 minutes.
After 29 minutes, I’d had enough and tapped the handrail to signal I was done. I couldn’t rip mouthpiece out fast enough. I’m not claustrophobic, but I felt some panic. It’s stifling amount of gear!
Click on the thumbnails below to see the printout of my results.
I’ve never considered myself to be built like an athlete. I lack the inherent “gift”. I’m a runner who gets by on determination and hard work. Lots of time, and buckets of sweat, have gone into attaining this level of mediocrity. Ha. Take that genetics!
Well my V02 Max was 59.2 (ml/kg/min), which they told me was excellent for a woman. Not too shabby.
Now V02 Max isn’t everything. A high VO2 max indicates an athlete's potential for great aerobic endurance, but it can’t be used to determine the winner of a particular race. Lactate threshold is a more reliable predictor of performance, as it’s the amount of aerobic potential you’re actually tapping. According to the test, my lactate threshold was only 80% of my aerobic potential (VO2 Max).
So in summary, I have more untapped potential than I’ve given myself credit for. However, my training hasn’t been as optimal as it should be to utilize that aerobic potential. I need to put more emphasis on hills and speed work to improve my lactate threshold.
Beyond Smart Coach on runnersworld.com, where do you come up with your training plans? Any books you’d recommend?
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