Have you ever run on a treadmill as fast as you possibly can while wearing a snorkel? Well, that’s what it’s like doing a full run assessment at the Peak Centre for Human Performance. Okay, sounds uncomfortable. Why would I possibly want to run to exhaustion while wearing a snorkel? For science!
Who loves science? I do! I do! And who wants individualized heart rate training zones and carbohydrate repletion zones? Me! Me!
I arrived at the testing centre with my heart monitor on and ready to go. I meet Lewis, my cheering section for the test, oh, and he’s also taking my blood and running the testing.
Warm up – I start off with a 10 minute warm up to get my blood pumping. Nice and easy. At the end of the warm up Lewis takes a blood sample from my finger (it didn’t hurt).
The apparatus – At this point I put a clip on my nose to plug it, then put a snorkel-like thing in my mouth to breathe. This is for the VO2 max testing, they need to measure ventilation and oxygen and carbon dioxide concentration of the air I inhale and exhale. It’s a bit awkward, as there is some head gear involved in keep the mouthpiece in your mouth. Very sexy. That also explains why I didn’t take any pictures.
Anyhow, I tried to relax and not let the awkwardness of the snorkel/headgear/not being able to breath through my nose increase my heart rate – I wanted an accurate heart rate reading for the test. So I just chilled out.
The Testing – The testing was straightforward. Run for 3 minutes, then Lewis takes a blood sample, then increase the speed on the treadmill by 1kmph, run for another 3 minutes, take another blood sample, increase speed etc. Keep going until you fly off the treadmill in exhaustion – or barf in the snorkel. Whichever comes first.
The testing is like this, except I only had Lewis, who cheered just as much for me as all these dudes combined:
My comments on the Testing:
Stage 1 – 6kmph – HR 129 bpm – Ooh, this is easy, I can do this all day.
Stage 2 – 7 kmph – HR 144 bpm – Come on Lewis, make this harder for me, this is a joke!
Stage 3 – 8 kmph – HR 156 bpm – This is nice, I’m feeling good.
Stage 4 – 9 kmph – HR 168 bpm – Oooh, it’s getting hot in here – Lewis, turn a fan on for me.
Stage 5 – 10 kmph – HR 174 bpm – Hmm, my form seems to be deteriorating, but I’m not totally gassed yet.
Stage 6 – 11 kmph – HR 178 bpm – Ugh, my form is gone, but I need to finish this stage, just make it to the end of this stage! And don’t puke in the snorkel!
In hindsight – I wish I had gone for 30 more seconds. And I wish I had recorded Lewis cheering me on. Seriously, I need that on repeat while I run “looking strong, looking good, keep going!”.
Stay tuned for the results of the testing….