Lactate & VO2 Tests – 14/03/2020

Bouncebackability (baʊnsˌbækəˈbɪlɪtɪ) – noun

(Especially in sport) the capacity to recover quickly from a setback.

Greetings fellow comrades! Hope y’all are doing well 🙂 So, I’ve decided to blend the old ‘midweek post’ to the ‘weekly recap’, creating a delicious new cocktail. This hopefully means freshness to the content but also allows you to track my progress cos after all… I am hella important.

We know you did it… 👀

What does the title even mean?

I have heard runners discussing whether or not to get their lactate threshold and VO2 Max tested. I have been fortunate enough to have both done for free (well I had to have a probe up my bum in a heat test to get it but that’s another story). When these tests can set you back 300 bad boys what can you expect and are they worth it?

Lactate (Sub Max) Test

Before you even consider getting a VO2 Max test done you really need to get your lactates done. Not to be confused with lactation, this test is arguably the more important of the two. Without getting too technical this test is going to help you find your training paces (i.e. easy, steady and tempo). This is done by making you run on the treadmill at a relatively easy pace and upping the speed by 1km/h every 3 minutes. Every time they up the speed you get a minute rest during which time the tester will take a small blood sample. This isn’t because they have an odd fetish, but because looking at the lactic acid levels in your blood. When you hit 2mmol/L of lactic acid you will find the levels increase more quickly, and once you hit 4… shit hits the fan. This is because 4mmol/L is the rate at which your body can flush out the acid, so if you go above this your body can’t get rid of it quickly enough and your legs burn to hell.

But to be honest you don’t really need to understand that. What you will get from it are those training paces which are useful. If you start to train at the correct paces you will become more efficient at running at this speed. So like, if your tempo is 6min/mile and you train at 6min/mile your tempo pace will improve. But if you didn’t know it was 6min/mile and you trained too fast or slow you may improve your tempo pace a bit though it won’t be as much. I’m explaining this badly, aren’t I? Basically train at your right pace = more gains 💪🏻What’s not to like?

VO2 Max Test

In Will Bryan terms, VO2 Max is the size of your engine. It is the maximum amount of oxygen you can intake and use during exercise relative to your body weight. The reason you need to do the Sub Max test first is that you are started just below your 4mmol/L speed, and then this upped by 1km/h every minute until you are just above this speed. Once you are above the speed, the gradient of the treadmill is increased by 1% every minute… until you die. I was going to say give up, but I… never give up. This is why I have that harness on my back, people have been known to keep running until their legs give out. The whole test will last around 9-11 minutes and it’s the worst lactic pain I have ever felt.

What you get though is your VO2 Max score. Fantastico. But literally, that’s it. I don’t really know why knowing this is useful. You don’t gain any further training insights. It does correlate with performance I guess but VO2 is only one indicator, having the biggest VO2 doesn’t mean you’re the fastest. Mine was alright so I’ve had it tattooed on my arm as a flex.

VO2 to the max testing

My Advice

If you have a bit of extra cash then definitely get the Lactate Test done, you get some really interesting insights. Being a stats guy those graphs do make me need to take a cold shower. But apart from having a number to look at, I won’t be rushing to get a VO2 Max test done again. It didn’t give me any extra training advice unlike the lactate one and costs an arm and a leg. I might be wrong so feel free to tell me so in the comments!

Weekly Recap Bit

You got this far? Congrats, I’ll get some stickers printed out for you 😘

Monday – 1 hour easy treadmill @ 7:00min/mile
Tuesday – 2.1 miles WU, 5x5mins (2mins), 2 miles CD
Wednesday – 1 hour easy treadmill @ 7:02min/mile
Thursday – 2.3 miles easy @ 8:01min/mile, 6.7 miles steady @ 6:37min/mile
Friday – REST
Saturday – 2 miles WU, Cardiff parkrun – 15:45, 4x1min (1min), 2.2 miles CD
Sunday – 13.1 miles long run @ 7:41min/mile
Totals – 57 miles in 6hrs & 42 mins

OOOOOSH, I am a happy bunny this week 😀 My Tuesday session was strong 💪🏻Knocking out 5min/mile for those reps which is decent considering the tempest passing through the Diff that day. Then on Saturday, I managed to run 15:45 for a parkrun. That is naughty considering my first run back after a hefty injury was only a month ago. Not to blow my own trumpet, which I can’t do because of my ribs… not that I’ve tried, but I think I’ve done well! It’s a shame I won’t be able to back this up in a couple of weeks as the Cardiff Bay 10K has been postponed, but in the grand scheme of things, it was the correct thing to do.

Ramblings over for this week. If you’ve liked it there’s more on this website and I will personally come and give you a handshake… no, a shoulder bump, if you share anything on social media about it (good or bad, you don’t scare me).

Lots of love,
Will xx

2 thoughts on “Lactate & VO2 Tests – 14/03/2020

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