VO2 max is the defining measure of cardiorespiratory fitness and aerobic performance capacity. The ability to see your current fitness level and track changes over time is a game-changer. It can help you set appropriate goals, evaluate progress and determine the effectiveness of your training. It can also provide the motivation you need to keep going and to reach your goals.
The Firstbeat analytics engine embedded in your Garmin watch reliably estimates your VO2 max by identifying, analyzing and interpreting meaningful performance data during your run. The pace you are running is placed into the context of how hard your body is working to produce your performance. For the most part, the relationship between internal and external workloads (intensity of effort versus the pace you are running) is linear and stable. To run faster, your body needs to work harder.
Smart analytics capable of recognizing good data ensure that only the most meaningful parts of your performance are used to evaluate your fitness level. In practical terms, this means that you don’t need to worry about speeding up, slowing down, climbs, descents or stopping at intersections. You just run as you normally would, without the need for any special fitness testing protocols.
Measured in terms of VO2 max, your fitness level combined with insight from your activity history provide valuable context for personalizing training effect feedback, estimating recovery time, defining the optimal range for your weekly training load and determining your current training status.
There are certain environments, however, in which your body must work harder than normal to keep up the pace. Good examples are runs performed in hot and humid conditions or at high altitudes. When paired with your compatible smartphone, This includes, for example, the feedback you get from the Training Status data screen, which interprets changes in your VO2 max in light of your current Training Load and activity history. If unrecognized and unaccounted for, a measurable decrease in aerobic performance capacity resulting from altitude or an unusually hot day could change your Training Status to Unproductive or Overreaching.
In addition to letting you see how well your body is adjusting to the environment, recognizing and accounting for the influence that environment has on your performance improves the reliability of other metrics. This means more meaningful feedback in a growing number of tough environments.
This includes, for example, the feedback you get from the training status data screen, which interprets changes in your VO2 max in light of your current training load and activity history. Left unaccounted for, the effects of uneven terrain or a measurable decrease in aerobic performance from altitude or a hotter than normal environment could mistakenly identify your training status as unproductive or overreaching.
The ever-changing conditions of trail running pose significant challenges for both you and your performance data. Special attention is necessary to account for the extra effort that rugged and variable terrain often demands.
On select Garmin GPS watches, this is now achieved by feeding accelerometer data into the Firstbeat analytics engine powering VO2 max estimation on your Garmin watch. This allows changing conditions underfoot to be incorporated into the analysis of performance versus how hard your body is working.
How long does it take to acclimate to heat and humidity?
The speed at which your body acclimates to elevated temperatures depends on several factors.
One of the most significant factors is the difference between the conditions you are acclimating to and your normal environment. The bigger the change, the longer it takes to adapt.
Another factor is the frequency and duration of your workouts and time spent outdoors in the new environment. The acclimation processes are triggered by your direct exposure to the environment.
Evidence shows that prolonged daily outdoor exposures to challenging climates can produce the necessary adaptations in as little as 1 to 2 weeks. Athletes with a higher VO2 max typically adapt to challenging climates at a much faster rate, sometimes decreasing the acclimation period by as much as half.
Physiological Adaptations That Result From Acclimation
- Improved sweating
- Improved cardiovascular stability (ability to sustain blood pressure and cardiac output)
- Better fluid-electrolyte balance