RB83: The VO2 Max Testing Experience - Coach Stephanie Gets VO2 Tested | RunBuzz Running | Run Coaching & Strength Training For Runners

RB83: The VO2 Max Testing Experience – Coach Stephanie Gets VO2 Tested

VO2 Max Testing For Runners

In this episode, coach Stephanie shares her experience getting VO2 Max tested. She shares her experience, her test results and what you can expect if you get tested. We also compare the average runner’s VO2 to those of elite athletes and how other factors outside of VO2 impact a runner’s performance. All this and more coming up on today’s show.

The VO2 Max Testing Experience

In this episode, coach Stephanie shares her experience getting VO2 Max tested. She shares her experience, her test results and what you can expect if you get tested. We also compare the average runner’s VO2 to those of elite athletes and how other factors outside of VO2 impact a runner’s performance.

Here are a few pages from her VO2 Max report which was given to her after her test:

VO2 Testing Report

vo2 max report 2
vo2 max report 3

Stephanies comments:

So I went into this with an idea of what to expect knowing it was going to be a very tough workout. The worst part was that I had to be fasted to do it, including caffeine, so no breakfast or coffee for a 10am run.

They gave me a mask to strap around my head with a tube coming out by my mouth and a heart rate monitor just below my elbow. This one was done at my gym, not a place that specializes in this kind of testing, so I was not strapped up with all the little heart rate patches or anything.

I started out with a warmup to collect HR data and to get a baseline. I started with a walk then slowly built up from there for about 10 minutes. I got a 5 minute break, then we started the real test. I have heard this kind of testing takes you up an incline and speed, but this particular test kept me a 1% incline and just speed increases. Every 2 minutes she would increase my pace a half mile/hr and just kept going until I could only spit out 1 word at a time.

First of all, breathing heavy in that mask is super gross, and my face sweat dripping in it did not help. 2nd, I was only allowed to breathe out of my mouth. Normally when I run I breathe thru my nose and out my mouth unless I’m running a faster pace so this was awkward for awhile. 45ish minutes later I got up to about 9.5 mph. She said when I got to a point that I could not hold it anymore, she would add 30 seconds more to see if I can handle it and increase again if I did fine. I made it thru that 30 seconds and quit. I made an appt. for later in the week to come back for results.

The nice thing about this test is that I was able to get a target HR training plan out of it as well as a list of where I burn the most fat and how many calories I burn at each HR Zone. Since this was not a test with a doctor, No one was pushing me to my absolute max. I never actually hit zone 5 of a 202-212 HR

SO, VO2 Max score is 48.7. This particular chart claims that for females between 30-39 over 40 is an optimal score and that is as high as it goes. I have seen other more intense charts made for athletes that include elite VO2s, and I am in the advanced levels, but not considered “athlete” or “elite” My husband did the same test and he was only 41 so I was happy to win this one.

What do I take from this info? My tester wrote me up a plan including a 10 minute warmup. She said to stop for 5 minutes to bring your HR back down again. This where you burn the most fat at the slower paces. Burn less calories, but more fat. My training plan includes a lot of intervaling HR zone specific complete with charts full of times and colors and HR numbers. I don’t watch HR on my watch a whole lot to know if I am hitting the specific ranges or not. You can get really technical and adjust pace accordingly if you like all the numbers associated with it. Some of these workouts are very challenging when I have to hold zone 4 speeds, but that workout is much shorter than zone 1 and 2 days.

Here is the link to the chart I referred to:

VO2 Max norms for men and women

Thanks for joining us today, and we look forward to having you join us with another episode soon.

Happy running!



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Steve is a RRCA and USA Track and Field certified running coach and running club director. He is the founder of RunBuzz.com and host of the RunBuzz podcast which can be found in iTunes. Steve is also the founder and creator of PaceBuilders, a complete training program and interactive training system for adult runners who want to become better runners, crush running goals, and take their running to another level.