Sunday, June 6, 2010

Standing on the baseline: Runner's World "How Fit Are You"? Results

So having said I would be training in Zone 2 and 3, the first step was to get a baseline of where my fitness (both running and otherwise) is…or isn’t. I remembered reading in Runner's World a “How Fit Are You?" article, what the hell I thought, that will do. So Saturday I headed off to the gym to conduct the first two tests; the Endurance test and the Cardiovascular test.

The Endurance test, was treadmill based and was similar to a tempo run, the instructions were as follows:

1) Set a one-percent incline. Warm up at an easy pace for 10 minutes.
2) Do a 30-minute tempo run at 85 percent of your maximum effort. This is a bit slower than your 10-K race pace--an 8 on a scale of difficulty from 1 to 10.
3) Cool down for five minutes, and note the distance you covered during that 30-minute tempo run. (It might be easier for you to gauge that distance if you reset the treadmill after your warmup.)

I set my Garmin to chime if I entered Zone 5, 167bpm and set off 50 minutes and an extra half mile later (I had a 6 miler on the docket) later I was done. The results were interesting and with the help of SportTracks I am able to really dig into the data.

Tempo runThe first data set show my HR over the miles and and time, over 75% was spent across Zone 3 and 4, the 28% in Z3 probably means I should have been putting a little more effort into it, but as you can see from the red line trace my HR increase steadily through the session and I had to back off at the 32 minute mark. The next screen shot shows even more detail:

Tempo run2So the splits are based on the first miles then at 10 minutes, then every mile thereafter through to 30 minutes at tempo pace and finally 5 minutes cool down, oh and 3 seconds fudge. The interesting columns are the Starting and Finish HR, you can really see the impact of easing off the pace has in mile 4 and although I eased off it seems that mile 5 despite being 32 seconds slower my heart rate crept back up?!? General fatigue…maybe, perception wise I was feeling it and would have rated the PRE here as and 14/15. Having poured over this data and analyzed it in both GTC and SportTracks I reconciled it to the results section of the test and officially I got a…wait for it; Good!

The second test was pretty simple, step up onto a 12” step for 3 minutes and monitor my heart rate at the end of a minute of recovery, again I used my Garmin and got the following data:

image At the end of 3 minutes I was at 138bpm, a minute later down to 110bpm and a minute after that (out of interest) at 98bpm.

The results based on the HR at 4 minutes measure cardiovascular strength and uses a test you would typically not do for a workout, here’s the results table:

image Alas for my age group I only scored a “Fair”! Even after two minutes I would only be "Good"! Clearly there is room for improvement. I’ll bring you the rest of the results in the next post…


  1. Stuart Great post I love analyzing the numbers. Especially somebody elses'. That said I think I'm going to do the same thing tonight. Hey Coach Quad you didn't say how old you are. The recovery curve is a broad age range maybe you are closer to the older end?

  2. Hmmmmm... The 310XT shows you your recovery HR (if you let it go without reseting it at the end of your workout). My recovery HR was between 20 and 30 beats,which isn't great, but I should probably see where I am at these days...

  3. You're a much better person than I am to get out and do this kind of work. Whew, I tell ya.

    Let me know how you like the green smoothies. ;)


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