V02 Max Challenge

Health, Fitness, Insurance, ...
shaz
Posts: 185
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2021 7:05 pm
Location: Colorado, US

Re: V02 Max Challenge

Post by shaz »

But do you want me to turn you into an elite athlete?

Just kidding, I (finally) hear you when you say you are doing this for fun and interest. It's a wise choice - the cost (time, social, health, mental, opportunity, and financial) to become and remain an elite athlete is staggering.

I hope you don't mind if I share the occasional article in here.

User avatar
mountainFrugal
Posts: 500
Joined: Fri May 07, 2021 2:26 pm

Re: V02 Max Challenge

Post by mountainFrugal »

Image

I got invited to a local hill climb event. The trail is very technical, loose, and steep in sections. Basically my favorite type of running because you have to be in a flow state to move over the boulders/rocks. Posting here for my first attempt. This is a much more sport specific challenge for my goals. I plan to do it again soon and then ~every 6 weeks to keep track of progress. I stopped my watch at the top for a minute or so (steep drop in HR in image). The variability of the terrain is illustrated in the grey pace section. Took my time on the way down enjoying the views while hopping between rocks.
37:35 of zone 3/4
4.2 km with 534 m (1752 ft) of ascent (starting at 1382 m above sea level)

Shooting for sub 36 as a reasonable first goal.

edit: the local record is 27:30 for context of how insane it could be

Scott 2
Posts: 2180
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: V02 Max Challenge

Post by Scott 2 »

That looks both more extreme, and yet more sustainable, than grinding away on exercise machines in the gym. I imagine the scenery is incredible. I've been thinking as my physical capacity increases, the opportunity to make more out of my movement needs to be seized.

I am finding myself drawn to the trail by our house. It's only 4 miles twice a week, but much more fun than sweating indoors. I've ditched the heart rate monitor and am focused on enjoying the experience. I intend to sort out some other outdoor options next month.

Concept 2 has a leader board that is drawing me off the other exercise machines. Popping off a 5000m row, that automatically logs to my phone, gives me meters on the scoreboard, and compares with others - it feels like playing a video game. Building on that, I'm going to at least get in the water on a kayak rental this summer. I am also watching for a chance to try sculling, albeit a rare event.

All that has me thinking more about accepting Strava into my life, especially as I look outside the gym.

User avatar
mountainFrugal
Posts: 500
Joined: Fri May 07, 2021 2:26 pm

Re: V02 Max Challenge

Post by mountainFrugal »

Scott 2 wrote:
Fri May 27, 2022 8:14 am
I imagine the scenery is incredible. I've been thinking as my physical capacity increases, the opportunity to make more out of my movement needs to be seized.

All that has me thinking more about accepting Strava into my life, especially as I look outside the gym.
3/4 of the way up.
Image

Strava gamifies everything... so you may regret it! haha. This is the reason I have not joined.

One reason to train with the monitor and feeling your effort level is then you can go without it and enjoy exercising in nature, but still have an estimate of how hard you are actually going.

Scott 2
Posts: 2180
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: V02 Max Challenge

Post by Scott 2 »

New high score - 40.28 using the rower, a 2 point PR.


I attribute this latest bump to a strategic shift. I recently listened to The Boys in the Boat, a story of the 1936 US Olympic crew team. What stood out to me - the American athletes are over 6 feet tall. When discussing stroke rate, they are in the mid-30's. When talking about stroke rate used by the Japanese team, who is closer to my size, they are in the high 40's!

I've been rowing v02 attempts in the mid-20's. My prior PR attempt used a stroke rate of 28, damper of 6.5. Today, I lowered the damper to 3.5 and aimed for a rate of 32. I hit 31. This removed muscular endurance as a limiter. It was entirely cardio. I have been training over the past month, but the jump is too large to attribute to improved conditioning. I even felt crummy going into today's session.

Honestly, my recovery has been crap lately. Foster kittens have disrupted my sleep schedule. I went to bed at 3am on Thursday. My food's been messed up too, leaning heavily on junk calories. I think increased energy demand from cardio is conflicting with 16/8 fasting. Since Tuesday - I've had 2 pints of ice cream, 2 large bags of chips and 2 donuts. Last month, I also worked through a bottle of barrel proof whisky. I have been enjoying myself.


All that to say - a higher score is available, if I take recovery more seriously in June. Since that is the game, some specific changes:

1. Foster kittens leave on Monday, which will help my sleep. I'll also ban my phone from upstairs.
2. I'll resume eating breakfast. The 16/8 probably impairs my training. Eating early may also dampen my drive for junk calories.
3. I'll opt for red wine instead of whisky. I don't want to go dry. Red wine is less likely to upset my food and sleep.


I also read Matt Fitzgerald's Run Like a Pro, which repeatedly emphasizes the importance of zone 2 cardio. That motivated me to move forward on sorting a bike. I tried a 40 minute zone 2 session on the rowing machine. It was mentally unsustainable. I think biking outside will work much better.

Along those lines, since Zone 2 on foot has been going great, I picked up a couple more pairs of the Xero Prio shoes.

Scott 2
Posts: 2180
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: V02 Max Challenge

Post by Scott 2 »

Today I tried using the HR monitor for my Zone 2 work on foot. While I've been holding back, it's not Zone 2 anymore:

Image

This is roughly a 13 minute mile pace for 4 miles, so not fast at all. I started having a little oatmeal and protein before I go out. It's also warm, mid-70's and sunny. While those are factors raising my HR, ultimately moving at Zone 2 is less fun. Given the joy of movement, I decided not to slow down. My feet and lower legs are tolerating this work, twice a week. I think my conditioning is still low enough that any movement will continue to raise my v02 max.

Along those lines, I am considering a 5k in mid-August. Setting a target date 9 weeks out might focus my recovery. I looked at structured training programs, but from everything I've read, build volume remains the pragmatic answer.

Scott 2
Posts: 2180
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: V02 Max Challenge

Post by Scott 2 »

I tried plugging my v02 max of 40 into this calculator, to estimate a reasonable 5k time:

https://www.omnicalculator.com/sports/vo2-max-runners

The answer is 24 minutes. Today I got on the track, to try various paces. There is an enormous disconnect between the formula and my lived experience.

My fastest work was 4 repeats of: 400m at 2:22, 200m walk. By the time I'd accumulated a mile of the 2:22/400m pace, I was fried. Were I to sustain it for a 5k, that only gets me to 30 minutes.

Today's heat may have been a complicating factor, but I feel very far from holding that pace. Yet the calculator equates a 30 minute 5k to a v02 max of only 31. I haven't practiced going faster, so maybe there's some low hanging fruit to harvest.


One cooper run test calculator equates a 40 v02 max to 1.43 miles over 12 minutes, or an 8:40 mile. That's substantially more conservative than the 5k calculator above, but also suggests a 30 minute 5k ought to be attainable with my current v02 max.

User avatar
mountainFrugal
Posts: 500
Joined: Fri May 07, 2021 2:26 pm

Re: V02 Max Challenge

Post by mountainFrugal »

If this is your first race then I would not be as concerned with times. There will be other raceday factors like time of day (usually early morning), temp, crowd, running surface, other runners etc. that are hard to anticipate ahead of time until you have few under your belt. I think that you are approaching this in a reasonable way. If you have a few more weeks of base training and no overuse pain then you can start adding in some speed work pyramid workouts, but I might be cautious until you feel your current running is not causing any pain or overexertion. It is VERY easy to overtrain so error on the side of a little undertraining for races in the beginning (you have the rest of retirement to train). If you are already running 4 miles then you can gradually add in some "speed work" in the middle of your run where you pick up the pace for 30 seconds then ease off and slow down. Repeat a few times then have a good slower cool down run. You will gradually build the speed sections for time or distance. Since you are running 2x a week, maybe 1 of those per week farther away from your leg days (if you do that for lifting?). Even if your lungs can handle a faster pace, you need to make sure your legs can as well for the duration of the race. By the end of July you could be doing 800m repeats on your "speed days" with very easy jogging to recover. So one day longer run and the other one speed work (provided your body is up to it, if not longer run).

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 14089
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: V02 Max Challenge

Post by jacob »

How much are running tests like the Cooper test calibrated wrt regular runners vs non-runners? Certainly there should be some muscles, etc. that are better developed in the former than the latter? This is definitely the case in cycling, where pedaling technique is worth an extra 1-2mph from 17mph to 19mph, say, without any increase in perceived effort.

User avatar
C40
Posts: 2656
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:30 am

Re: V02 Max Challenge

Post by C40 »

I got curious the other day (from something else, not this thread) and looked up my old power testing numbers from when I was doing bicycle racing, now more than a decade ago!

Here were my best power numbers - all power outputs on a bicycle. These are all in watts/kg. There's some extrapolation happening here due to not testing at my actual peaks, since I was concerned with racing at those moments, but I'm quite certain the numbers are close

20 minute/threshold: 5.1
5 minute: 6.3
1 minute: 9.2

This calculator here says that translate to a VO2 max of about 70,, which seems to be an obvious overestimation to me, since 80-90 is the range of ultra-elite world tour riders.

After not doing any focused training for the last 10 years, and exercising in inconsistent ways to often changing life circumstances and low motivation at times - but still exercising regularly, the power meter on a nice exercise bike I've used in the last couple months tells me that my power is about 25% lower than my bests (and my w/kg another 10% lower due to being heavier)

For comparison, my running technique is poor/untrained, but since I had no power meter anymore, I did a couple 1-mile tests within recent years, both around fitness levels pretty similar to current. One was 6:55 and the other 6:17. So I could probably break into the very upper 5 minute range with some practice. IDK what that would translate to while at the above peak power outputs, perhaps about 5:00

All things things said, my opinion on these matters is that there's little point and low accuracy in estimating and comparing things like VO2 max or even w/kg across different sports. These comparisons are only useful if testing using one single setup/method, or for comparing different people within the same sport. To understand your own personal fitness level and the changes over time, choose one method and stick with it. My intention/choice was to do a 1 mile run test, on a 400m track, about once per quarter. I can do this nearly anywhere. And to not train running (because I don't want to, but also this way my technique remains the same so the tests are directly comparable). But I haven't cared and haven't bothered. If you bicycle in the same area, choosing one big/long hill and timing yourself going up is a great way to test. Same with hiking if the hill is steep enough

If you want to be serious about improving your cardiovascular fitness/endurance, a great reference book is "The Cyclist's Training Bible" by Joe Friel. It describes the basics of periodized training and peaking. He may have books with the same information written for use in other sports. Or, certainly there will be other books describing periodized training for runners, rowers, etc. But even if you get a book for the 'wrong' sport, you can apply it to whatever fairly easily.
Last edited by C40 on Wed Jun 22, 2022 8:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Scott 2
Posts: 2180
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: V02 Max Challenge

Post by Scott 2 »

@Jacob - Fair point on not knowing how the v02 max estimators are normalized. In the worst case - my rower v02 max test could be scaled to make rowers look good, the 5k estimator to make runners look good. A 10% specificity gap on each would account for the substantial difference I'm observing. I'm taking them as a loose gauge of what might be feasible, with specific training.


@mountainFrugal - Good thoughts. Thanks.

Day of weather and crowds are uncontrollable. My biggest concern is getting excited and going out too hard.

I want to add a third day on foot, to practice moving faster. My feet and lower legs need a greater stress. They aren't sore from the four mile days anymore. But, they were my limiter when moving faster. Correspondingly, I was thinking I'd strictly control cardio on my lifting days, keeping to zero impact zone 2. As well as reduce lifting volume for the next two 4 week cycles. Elevate the lower leg constraint, ala Goldratt.

I picked out a 5k that matches the surface I am training on. My wife and I are going to walk around the course. While it's close to our house, we've never been to the area. Should be fun. The weather is forcing me into an early training schedule, similar to race time. I started around 8:30am yesterday. My neck is burnt and the humid heat was gross. Regularly getting up around six is necessary, which hopefully has my digestion on a race time schedule.

I'd be kind of bummed to show up and do a 40 minute 5k. I'd like to use my faster day to establish pacing expectations, maybe even try the course ahead of time. While I'd be thrilled to finish under 30 minutes, I don't know how much adaptation is feasible. My strength is time to maximize recovery, coupled with knowing my primary constraint. I'm working on a complementary web - dialing in food and sleep, including bedtime yoga / self-massage. Alcohol also needs to come off the table. It's time consuming and diminishes my sleep.

With a target date 9 weeks out, chasing a reach goal, I think I can find unreasonable consistency. Strict rituals make my brain hum.

shaz
Posts: 185
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2021 7:05 pm
Location: Colorado, US

Re: V02 Max Challenge

Post by shaz »

Trying to compare VO2max between different exercise modes or even between different equipment will be iffy. In the lab, we had to use the same bikes, the same type of mask, we even controlled things like seat height if we wanted results that could be compared over time. Also since body weight is part of the equation changes in your weight can change your VO2max values. The fastest way to increase your VO2max is to drop weight.

Post Reply