Remember when I did this and looked really cool?
Back in June I had the opportunity to visit Dr. Inigo San Millan, Director of the Exercise Physiology and Human Performance Lab at the University of Colorado's Anschutz Health & Wellness Center, for a physiological performance evaluation (VO2 Max, lactate profile and metabolism, body composition, heart rate, substrate utilization). For my full report on the experience, go HERE.
This can be very confusing stuff, especially when your hobbies include watching the Bachelor and reading People. As Digital Running so eloquently states, “You see, no one actually knows what VO2 max is.” So, for a concise and easy-to-understand explanation of VO2 Max, read Digital Running’s article posted yesterday: What is VO2 Max?.
My humble opinion is that anyone training for an endurance event should have this testing done. For $250 you get major insight into how your body really works and hands on ways to improve training and performance. I had my test done on the bike, but hope to return for a treadmill test in September.
Here are the big lessons I learned that day and how I applied them to my half ironman training:
- Train with a heart rate monitor to ensure I’m spending enough time in zone 2 (lower/endurance heart rate zone) in order to train my body to flush lactate more efficiently. I have not yet purchased a heart rate monitor and therefore did not use one in my training. I have never used one. I am not sure when I will train for my next marathon (probably when I can afford a HRM), but I will incorporate it into my training both on the run and the bike.
- Eat more on the bike (50 carbs per hour). I started paying close attention to this right away. The SECOND I increased my carbs both before and during my rides I noticed a difference. I went from averaging 16-17 mph to 19.34 mph during the 56 miles of my race (admittedly, some of this due to aero bars, but I my heightened energy level on the bike I attribute to effective fueling and hydrating).
- Give my body ample time to rest and recover. This only makes the body stronger and lets it adapt to the stresses being put on it. I paid a lot of attention to this, incorporating a recovery week every fourth week of training. I took my rest days seriously and was careful to refuel properly after workouts. At the first sign of pain, I pulled back and rested.
- My V02 max is above normal, and given that, I should be seeing higher performance results when I race. This tells me that I have a lot more potential than I am using. That is where the heart rate training zones come in. I am convinced that if I start training in the correct zones, I will see improvements in my marathon time, and can maybe get closer to a 3:30 (my current PR is 3:42). Exciting to know that there is room for improvement. Science tells me this, but so does my heart/gut/intuition.
Now, it’s your turn. Dr. San Millan had agreed to answer your training, weight loss, and performance questions.
- Want to know why you exercise consistently and frequently but never lose weight?
- Want to know why when you train for a marathon you do your long runs at a pace much slower than marathon pace?
- Want to know if everyone has the potential and capability to run a marathon if they train correctly?
- Want to know why time and time again you can’t get that PR?
- Want to know if this type of testing is right for you and what you could gain from it?
Here is your chance. Leave a comment asking the good doctor what you’d like to know!