So this week I went and had a Cardiovascular Metabolic Profile at the Fit Shop and talk about lots-o-information! I should also say it was an AH-HA moment as well. All through training I really had no clue what an easy pace was for me other than a number on the treadmill. I didn’t even think anything really had to do with what my HR was so I never really paid much attention to it and continued with my 8./1 run/walk method but at a slower pace. I’d watch my HR go up during the 8 minutes and then recover some during that 1. So all these numbers I was getting I “Sort of” had an idea how they all worked, I just didn’t know how it they worked with me.
VO2 Max: Definition: VO2 max is the maximal oxygen uptake or the maximum volume of oxygen that can be utilized in one minute during maximal or exhaustive exercise. It is measured as milliliters of oxygen used in one minute per kilogram of body weight
VO2 max or maximal oxygen uptake is one factor that can determine an athlete’s capacity to perform sustained exercise and is linked to aerobic endurance. It is generally considered the best indicator of cardiorespiratory endurance and aerobic fitness.
So I’m almost at good (42) but I am above the average. So I can still improve and better utilize the O2 I take in. So how do I do this? Well I have to improve my cardiovascular economy.. DUH. IN WITH THE HR ZONES! We know them as Zone 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and you can find lots of online calculators that will do them based on your age and weight and resting hr etc, but how accurate are they? I have no clue. Either way I got this chart before that showed my actual fat calories burned verses stored carbohydrate (Glycogen) burned.
The black line is the total calories burned while the brown line is my fat calories burned. Now with each minute after my 5 minute warm up the intensity went up after the warm-up. Around 7.minutes when my speed was about 5.5 on the treadmill you can see that fat burning bumps and after 8 minutes when the speed was increased by .5 mph my use of fat for fuel went steadily down to where at 12.5 miles it stopped completely and I was using stored carbohydrate for fuel for 3 minutes before I was done. So while I attained a max speed on that thing of 8.5 MPH (could have been 9) as I was getting dizzy you can tell that I don’t have a big gas tank once the peddle to the metal went down. But when I was running at 5.5 I had a HUGE gas tank! So how to improve?
HR Training Zones:
So from the graph above and my report I got this HR training zone dialed in for me to use. Zone 2 is where I need to be to improve my overall running economy or efficiency. I was very unhappy to see that it means I have to keep my HR no higher than 147. I know this meant slow and currently from the 6 MPH, and most of all no way I can attain a 2 hour 13.1 race. But looking forward to IMAZ it is what I need to do.
So then why do I need to run in Zone 2 and why can’t I just run faster? Well remember that peddle to the metal up top? If I run faster my HR goes up and while I will increase my top speed, I won’t increase that gas tank size. So what I need to do is run in longer periods of zone 2 and as that gets easier I will gradually increase my ability to run at a faster pace at a great efficiency without running out of gas. What about the GU’s and drinks that have all the carbs (gas) can’t I just take them? I could, but here is the problem with that. The body can only take in 200-300 calories per hour and as you can see above if I keep up in Zone 4 I’m going to burn through 1192 calories in 1 hour. If I could somehow manage to even run for 1 hour at that speed that’s 1000 calories that I can’t get back and I will end up on the ground with nothing left. I would have to be able to take in 1200 calories an hour to even maintain that speed (assuming my muscles could handle that of course). So while I could maintain that speed for about 1 mile it just doesn’t make sense in my current state to try and run that for 13.1 or 26.2 miles. Where I can run in Zone 2 and burn my stored fat as a fuel source. By the way the average human being has 80,000 calories in stored fat!
So as you can see from everything above I have LOTS of room for improvement and it will get better as my weight and body fat goes down even farther. I’ll go back for a retest in May before my Bass Lake Triathlon to see how I’ve improved but with everything coming together now I can’t wait to see the difference.