Feelings of inadequacy

Feelings of inadequacy

I felt inadequate as I ran to exhaustion in front young (female) students

I walked into a room full of equipment designed to test human (athletic) performance. No problem so far. But the audience of three (female) university students waiting to watch me suffer on a treadmill and a bike was scary.

A typical subject for this type of testing (University Of Bath, Department Of Human Performance) is a professional or elite sports person - often Olympic level such as Amy Williams, Jason (Bath Bullet) Gardner, etc.

So I felt just a little inadequate.

But I wanted to know what my body was capable of doing. And importantly, I needed to understand how best to train in the ever-reducing period before the Lanzarote Ironman (May 2012). So I went for it anyway.

The testing process

There were two tests - running and cycling. The idea is to stress the body over a period of time, whilst measuring oxygen uptake, carbon dioxide output and blood lactates. From these various things can be calculated and inferred (see later).

The run test used a treadmill inclined at 1%, an oxygen mask and a student ready to take blood samples every three minutes. The treadmill increases its speed in 1 kph intervals every three minutes from a low of 9 kph to the point where you can no longer run.

The bike test is similar, but uses a static bike with a large flywheel that increases the power required to spin it every three minutes from a low of 100Watts to the point of collapse.

In each case, you work to exhaustion over a period of around 30-40 minutes per test.

brett run test 1brett run test 2


I've attached a copy of the full report here - warts and all (it's quite interesting): Brett Blood Lactate and VO2Max Test Results

In summary, I've got some work to do.

My VO2Max results were good - that's the maximum amount of oxygen I can absorb and process and is a great indicator of a 1500m to 5000m run performance level. The problem is you can't keep up this pace for the 15-17 hours the Ironman will need.

My general endurance fitness was indicated by lactate levels in the blood as exertion began. Quotes in the report such as: "clear indication of little base training...", "urgent need to address...", etc. - provide a clue as to where I'm at.

It's the spur I needed to start working. Not more books to buy, no more gear. Just the start of hard work! 

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