Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Taking a beating from Dr. Cooper

Ever hear of the Cooper Test?

It's a sick way of trying to figure out your own VO2Max without having to shell out almost $200 to get one professionally done. Consider it the 'poor man's VO2Max test' along side the many other ones like the Rockport Walk Test. But it does have some science behind it and for those that have done the actual Cooper Test and a VO2Max/Metabolic test, they come pretty close to the same result - only off by at best 2-3 points.

So, since I botched the Balke Treadmill Test yesterday (hey, is it really my fault that the treadmill could only go to 12% incline and the test demanded for you to walk until exhaustion - expecting you to fall apart after 15 minutes?), I decided that today would be a no-excuses day to do a Cooper Test on the treadmill. Now, the treadmill isn't an ideal place since you're better off going to a 400 meter track and running on the inside lane. However, since tracks are a place I don't want to go during the winter - treadmill would have to do.

So, down to the workout room where the treadmill is and my wife and daughter agree to play safety monitor for me. In the event I fall apart on the 'dreadmill' and someone has to get 911 fast, they were at the ready. I warmed up for 15 minutes, walking and easy running to get my muscles ready and then took off as hard and controlled as I could. Unfortunately, my goal to try and run a hard 8-9 MPH was out of my grasp for fear I'd fall apart too soon and literally fall while the treadmill was moving (see why doing this on a track is better?)

After 12 minutes of torture at my best fast speed on that thing (7.5 MPH - yeah, I'm a bit embarassed), I got the mileage off of the device as 1.471 miles (2367 meters). I couldn't use the footpod since its still not 100% calibrated, it read off only 2,000 meters! My wife said that at the last two minutes, I looked like I was making a face that read, "If I have to run another minute after 12, I'll kill myself." I completely agreed.

So, with my new data in hand, I'm listed as "Above Average" for a 30 year old male. The VO2Max conversion comes out to be 41.63 (although the Suunto device read off 49 for the oxygen consumption). So, I'm not nearly as out of shape as I thought I was and I do have an added advantage now that I know where I'm at approximately, I should be able to adjust my training accordingly and run at better paces and at lower heart rate efforts. I don't think I worked as hard as I could have though since my HR went no higher than 189 BPM and I've gone to 210 just two weeks ago.

So, I took a 12 minute beating on the treadmill to attempt to better my performance from this point forward. My legs feel like jello now.

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