VO2 max test review

Laura Leslie writes after being chosen for the VO2 Max Test at Up and Running:

I arrived at Up & Running for my VO2 max test with some trepidation. Other people I know who have been tested previously talked about running to exhaustion on a treadmill while people watched.The last time I ran on a treadmill I cranked it up too high and nearly shot off the back, so I started to wonder why I had put my name down.

But all my fears were allayed to find that it was a preliminary test where they only take you to 85% exhaustion (however they work that out). It was actually quite good fun and the people performing the tests were really nice. Running with the mask on was quite strange, especially as it affects peripheral vision and to start with I kept thinking I was going to fall. But I soon got used to it and off we went.

I came out with a VO2 of 44.8 ml/kg/min. This is the volume of oxygen per kilo of body weight that my cardiovascular system can take in and utilise per minute. They classed the result as ‘excellent’ but I think this is in relation to the entire population, not just people who exercise. So my results, unsurprisingly, put me somewhere between couch potato and elite athlete! More interestingly, they gave me a read out which showed my target heart rates for different intensity sessions i.e. threshold, fat burn, race pace etc.

It was an interesting morning and has made me keen to learn more about the physiology of runners and how running changes that physiology as we get fitter.

Many thanks to Bournville Harriers for organising our places on the day. (If anyone wanted to know more, the company name is FitnessASSIST)