Wednesday, July 29, 2009

That's Better

Three years ago I did a VO2 max test. The results of which left me feeling a little discouraged. Considering that I'm at least a somewhat competitive endurance athlete, I figured I'd have a decent VO2 max. Well, in reality, my score was pedestrian, measuring about 54. Clearly it didn't mean that I wasn't going to be able to continue to run well, but I left the clinic feeling a bit inadequate.

Well, just this morning, I was given the opportunity to be tested at the Seattle Athletic Club. They have just begun to offer the service and, in order to promote it, I was offered a free test. I had a bit of trepidation going into it. I mean what if my VO2 max had declined? Would my fragile ego be able to handle an even more paltry score?

Thankfully, my numbers did not decline. In fact, my max today was measured at 64.8. That's still not in the elite range, but I feel much better about being over 60. Maybe this means that I can go back and run well at Western States next year. Let's see if I can sell Andrea on that argument. "C'mon Andrea. I finally have a VO2 max over 60. Can't I go back next year?" Ya, that'll go over really well I'm sure.

5 comments:

Derrick said...

Wouldn't be surprised if your VO2 max was even higher. Depending on the protocol that is used there can be a very wide range in scores.

Dave said...

Brian, any idea what it costs to have VO2 max measured? I'd be really interested in doing that. Though I am slightly worried about feelings of inadequacy.

Brian Morrison said...

Dave, the test they offer at Seattle Athletic Club is $90. That's as inexpensive as I've ever heard. Sid did a test in the Methow a couple years ago and it was right around 100. I think you're typically looking at 200 give or take.

Fleck said...

Dude...the year for WS is 2011:

http://northwestultra.com/2009/07/14/the-weird-things-that-motivate-you/

crowther said...

I agree with Derrick's comment that VO2max readings are very lab-dependent. For example, was the reported VO2max the highest 30-second average you achieved during the test, or the highest instantaneous rate at any point? The latter value will always be higher but also noisier (more prone to random variability). Perhaps more importantly, regular calibration of the gas readers is very important. I had my VO2max measured in a world-renowned lab back in 2000 and the initial readings were off by ~7 mL/kg/min because of a calibration error.

Another related issue is, is it reasonable to think that your VO2max has gone up by ~10 mL/kg/min during the past three years? Yes, if you were significantly less fit three years ago, but since you were already pretty fit back then and haven't changed your training or performance level much since then, I'd say it's extremely unlikely that your VO2max has changed by that much. More likely, one of the labs was off by quite a bit. I hesitate to accuse anyone of sloppiness, but I think I've heard of some weird numbers coming out of the lab where you had the first test.

Final point: if a lofty VO2max were sufficient for success at Western States, I would have done a lot better in 2007....