Wednesday, January 28, 2009

VO2 max test

So, in the spirit of "I'm-really-going-to-take-this-IM-seriously-this-time," I'm going to get my VO2 max tested next week. Not so much to see how close (or far) I am to Lance Armstrong-like toughness, but rather to get a better picture of where my heart rate zones are set. The "Be Iron Fit" plan uses heart rate zones quite a bit to gauge exertion levels for each workout (although heart rate training has been criticized lately as highly inaccurate...), and I need to know where one ends and another begins in order to do it right. I did the test once before, maybe three years ago, and it didn't turn out so great - it gave me my VO2 max, but my zones didn't seem quite right. Like nowhere near the old 220-age computation. Hopefully, this time I get some numbers that I can work with.

Anywho, although I'm excited to get the data, I'm not looking forward to the test, itself, as it's a total ass-kicker. You perform it on a treadmill (although it can also be done on a bike), starting with a relatively easy grade/speed. The administrator then increases the intensity at given intervals (ie, so it keeps getting faster and steeper). There's a mask-like thing over your nose and mouth, which measures your oxygen intake, with a hose that runs to a computer.

So, basically, you end up hanging on as long as you can before your heart explodes or you just give up, whichever comes first. Yeah, tons of fun.

Training-wise, Monday was a rest day, Tuesday I did some strength stuff, and today I'm swimming. Still pretty leisurely, but that will change soon enough.

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