Benefits of VO2 Testing
When it comes to health and fitness, there’s lots of conflicting advice out there. For anyone interested in upping their stamina when it comes to something like running (especially as marathon season approaches), it can be hard to know how much to push themselves. The team at Health Matters offer a service called VO2 testing, which, says founder Seán Kinane, uses a metabolic data analysis to provide a bespoke plan for each client. We caught up with Kimberley, a runner who’s hoping to take part in the Dublin Marathon this year, about her VO2 results.
What is VO2 Testing?
Seán welcomes anyone who wants to optimise their performance, whether they’re training for a marathon, doing a Couch to 5k, or simply want to get a sense of what their fitness is like. “VO2 testing is ‘progressive overload until failure’”, explains Seán, meaning that the client starts off on a treadmill at low intensity (depending on capability), and the process gradually becomes more difficult. Once they reach a point where they have to stop, there’s a period of active recovery, before Seán takes them through their data. The test measures everything from fitness level and heart rate elevation to breathing patterns and lung function. Based on these findings, Seán creates a bespoke plan to help them optimise their fitness, in a productive way that’s in tune with their body.
Kimberley recently underwent the VO2 testing at Health Matters, to see how her fitness levels looked after suffering an injury. “I’m a relatively new runner”, she explains. “I took it up last year with the Couch to 5K programme and gradually increased my ability, eventually joining a local running club. Unfortunately, I got over-confident this spring, ran two half marathons two weeks apart, stepping up intensity to a level my body wasn’t ready for and ended up with an injury. The last 10 weeks have been frustrating, starting and stopping running a few times, decreasing mileage and trying to cycle and use a cross trainer to maintain fitness.”
Analysing VO2 Results
Kimberley booked a session with Seán and was delighted with the results. “I really feared the worst”, she says. “But I was pleasantly surprised; my VO2 came out pretty high, so that’s given me confidence about my fitness. Seán explained everything in a lot of detail, including different target workout zones, and I discovered I’m not pushing myself enough in my tempo and interval sessions.” And what about October? “Seán assured me that based on my current aerobic fitness, the Dublin Marathon is very achievable in 18 weeks’ time. I’m on the fence about it given the last few months, but I really want to do the 10 mile and half marathon in the Irish Life Dublin Marathon race series, so this was great news!”
For more on VO2 testing, visit Health Matters.