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Garmin Training Zone and V02 Max

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  • 26-03-2021 10:59am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 1,212 ✭✭✭


    Hi all,

    Just got into running properly over the last year and a half and I am really enjoying it, never took part in a race but would like to.

    I've been running maybe four times a week, one day a run at tempo maybe 8k, a slow long run on a Sunday (trying to keep within low aerobic/recovery zone) and then some hill training and maybe a brisk 5k as well.

    I supplement this with mobility training and bodyweight training to keep my legs strong as well.

    Anyway, i've been finding Garmin's training load and v02 max very frustrating. my times are good, and improving, but evertime i try and do a recovery run Garmin will tell me i'm being 'unproductive' and will drop my V02 max back down again. Feel like i'm just on this weird limbo.

    Anyway, i guess i'm just looking for people to tell me I'm either a) using it wrong, or b) ignore it its silly anyway.

    I should add I am really enjoying myself.


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,576 ✭✭✭Reg'stoy


    From my own experience with my Garmin watch, the readings tend to be hit and miss and don't take into account weather, previous (hard) runs etc and seemingly rely on pace and heart rate alone to calculate your V02. I particularly notice a difference between runs with and without a chest strap, if it's wrist heart rate and the watch is lose or your very sweaty the readings can be off and so anything calculated from them is wrong. Even my chest strap misreads and so again anything calculated is off. I'm 52 this month and my V02 has been as high as 53 and recently dropped to 48, back yesterday to 49 after some tough 1K repeats but for a long time has been around 50. A friend of mine who is very overweight has been walking to lose weight, and his started at 23 and now is 28, we're both the same age but the difference would definitely reflect the difference in fitness levels.

    You know your own body the best, so listen to it, if you feel tired you are. I personally use a chest strap and my heart rate average doesn't lie, it goes up if I'm tired. Considering you are enjoying your running, I wouldn't be overly concerned and just use you PB's as an indication of your fitness.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,043 ✭✭✭✭event


    I wouldnt be putting much stock on how a watch calculates your VO2 tbh.


  • Registered Users Posts: 601 ✭✭✭Slow_Runner


    Yeah the Garmin readings are annoying, I'm currently "detraining" even tough I'm running the same volume and increased intensity workouts (doing a 5/10k training block).

    I wouldn't put any faith in those readings as previous poster has said it doesn't take into account weather, hills, previous workouts, etc. I just keep an eye on my HR during the run (rarely go by pace unless session calls for it) and use the avg HR when reviewing how well (or not) I'm doing overall.

    With the development in AI in recent years it won't be long until Garmin release a more accurate VO2max.

    I have an older chest strap so not sure what the newer HRM-Run straps are like


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,606 ✭✭✭token56


    When I started to use my Garmin I thought it was useful and correlated pretty well to my fitness but not so sure any more.

    During the Summer last year mine reached 60, sometimes 61 and I set 5K PB around 19:30. Yet a couple of months later it had dropped to 58 but I set a new PB sub 19. The biggest difference really was that later in the year I was doing less mileage due to injury. I find the training status even less accurate. I know there is a bit of science behind it but as has been pointed out it doesn't take a lot of factors into account like weather, terrain, sleep, etc.

    It's great to hear you are enjoying the running btw. Hopefully there will be races this year and you can experience the joy of them.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,212 ✭✭✭Beanstalk


    Thanks everyone. I'm glad to hear other people are experiencing the same types of readings. Its definitely counterproductive to dwell on it and then i find myself almost like a slave to the V02 max reading, like if i go from 54 to 53 I'm regressing etc. Especially now that I've incorporated hill intervals, i thought that would help my v02 max more than anything! Its good to know I shouldn't be taking it too seriously. Thanks everyone!


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,541 ✭✭✭Dudda


    I don't fine it useful. The productive / unproductive thing drives you crazy after a while striving to keep it green.

    The VO2 max is also only a guide and I think the trick is to look at it over the 7 day average rather than individual days. As stated by others hills, strong winds are very humid conditions aren't taken into account but the average over a few days is a bit better and you'll know yourself if you're out for a few weeks resting/due to work/injury you'll see the VO2 max drop and similarly towards the end of a few month marathon training session you should see it higher. Day to day I wouldn't worry.

    I do think the recovery hours Garmin gives you is useful. If you've a really hard race or training session it lets you know how long you're body needs to recover. It's also common sense though. If you've a hard race or session you need to be taking it easy the following day anyway.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,208 ✭✭✭shotgunmcos


    Bit of chat on my log on this topic if any interest

    https://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2058144813&page=6


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,400 ✭✭✭ger664


    Can some tell we how a garmin watch can measure your oxygen and carbon dioxide concentration?


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,834 ✭✭✭OOnegative


    ger664 wrote: »
    Can some tell we how a garmin watch can measure your oxygen and carbon dioxide concentration?

    The exact same way a chocolate teapot makes tea........


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,449 ✭✭✭✭Murph_D


    ger664 wrote: »
    Can some tell we how a garmin watch can measure your oxygen and carbon dioxide concentration?

    https://sites.udel.edu/coe-engex/2019/03/16/how-accurate-is-your-garmins-vo2max-estimate/

    This link explains how it’s done and some results and discussion about accuracy. I would say it’s down to now well you are measuring HR, which as many of us know, can be very hit and miss.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,212 ✭✭✭Beanstalk


    Well, I went out today on a time trial and shaved 3.5 mins off my 10k PB, and the training load is still telling me I'm unproductive so there you are that's me convinced. :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,992 ✭✭✭opus


    Good few years back, my Garmin watch was telling me I should be able to run a marathon which was ~8 mins faster than I thought was possible & I had been training for. For the crack I said I'd give it a lash so ran for a bit over 30k before detonating! Had to walk for a while, have a stern talk with myself & then was able to start running again. Taking it a small bit easier would have lead to a nice PB but nothing ventured, nothing gained I guess.


  • Registered Users Posts: 606 ✭✭✭echancrure


    Like all metrics (even basic weight) they have to be taken with a pinch of salt.
    Daily variations don't mean much.
    Being obsessed with numbers is dangerous as it is only moral boosting when they are improving and demoralising when they are not. And inevitably they don't always improve...
    On the other hand week or month trends are usually meaningful. Of course, Garmin VO2max does not measure your true VO2max, it is an estimate, and the predicted race times are optimistic. But in general, an upward trend will go hand in hand with improved fitness, and vice-versa. But then it basically confirms how you should feel anyhow so their use is very limited.
    Perhaps, once you have a few races under your belt, you will be able to look back at your VO2max of your current PB, and use it to estimate your chances of beating it given your current VO2max...
    In conclusion, don't check your metrics every day, look after long terms trends, and look back.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,890 ✭✭✭Marty Bird


    Beanstalk wrote: »
    Well, I went out today on a time trial and shaved 3.5 mins off my 10k PB, and the training load is still telling me I'm unproductive so there you are that's me convinced. :)

    I’ve always thought that the training load was down to HR on that particular session.

    🌞6.02kWp⚡️3.01kWp South/East⚡️3.01kWp West



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,208 ✭✭✭shotgunmcos


    Marty Bird wrote: »
    I’ve always thought that the training load was down to HR on that particular session.

    It is. An example.

    New VO2 day 1 "productive"
    Improved VO2 +1 after next session following week "productive" still
    Both sessions were with HRM

    The day after the improvement forgot to wear my HRM. It was a very easy run zone 1 <130hr stuff. However the wrist based HR gave me readings of 160+HR for the first 20 minutes. The Recovery update that Garmin flashes at you early in a run was -5. A sure sign I was overdoing it, despite running slow :rolleyes:

    Sure enough dropped my VO2 and declared "unproductive" after a satisfying recovery run feeling fresh. Day to day numbers are less meaningful that 7 day averages or overall trends in fitness versus actual results

    What could also happen is you went out and got a PB the day after a hard run. Garmin tends to not like that too.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,189 ✭✭✭crisco10


    I've long ignored my garmin VO2 figures. Given I've only worn a chest strap for 3 months, I think they're are mostly based off of wrist based HR.

    Apparently my VO2 max is consistently over 60, my predicted times are about 10 to 20% better than my pbs too. I just look at them and go "i wish".


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,400 ✭✭✭ger664


    If your HRM cannot take RR intervals or Heart Rate Variance then you are not getting an accurate picture.

    5 minute RR interval/HRV test at rest is a better indicator if you are recovered sufficiently to do a hard adaptation session or not. On a polar watch its called a fitness test. Several Apps can read this if you just do an an active and then export the RR data from polar flow.

    Polar HRM h7 and h10 can collect this data. Not sure if Garmin Chest strap HRM can but I seriously doubt a wrist HR device can.

    As regards training with HR I use to make sure my recovery runs stay in the recovery zone. For sessions I just don't wear it and go by pace/perceived effort.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,207 ✭✭✭partyguinness


    I really would not take any notice of the VO2 reading on my Garmin.

    I've had mine done twice in a lab and hooked up to all sorts. When I did last July (2nd time) Garmin was reading 58 but my lab reading was 51. That was after 5 months of very slow HR training. I would like to think it is higher than 51 now as I then ramped up the training significantly for marathon last November...at least 2 intervals sessions per week. Garmin today is reading 60.

    My predicted Garmin PBs are outrageous eg 5k at 17mins even though I have only just broken 20mins for the first time in January.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,116 ✭✭✭BigAl81


    I really would not take any notice of the VO2 reading on my Garmin.

    Do you wear a chest strap or use the wrist sensor?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,648 ✭✭✭wersal gummage



    My predicted Garmin PBs are outrageous eg 5k at 17mins even though I have only just broken 20mins for the first time in January.

    My predicted 5k time on the garmin is 30 seconds quicker than my "PB"... I have never been in a race, and my best time was set on busy urban streets, crossing roads, luas tracks, jumping off paths for people, turning tight corners slowly in case pedestrians coming etc.... I've also only tried to run 5k as quick as I can 3 times in the last year.

    I'm guessing if I had a good day and the road or a track to myself I would knock 30 seconds off....


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