Take it to the (VO2) Max
I've been wanting to know my VO2 Max for years. How hard can I push, though? And does it really matter?
I’ve got a facemark strapped over my nose and mouth, wires plugging me into a computer and I’m running on a £50,000 treadmill above the heads of a small group of researchers. I’m trying to run smoothly at 6 minute-mile pace. And I’ve got an itchy nose.
“Hold it together,” I tell myself. “It’s not that fast.” The problem is, every three minutes I get a 10-second break while a guy syphons a few drops of blood from my finger, and then the pace cranks up to a new faster speed for the next three minutes. I’ve been getting steadily faster and faster for over 35 minutes now, and although we started off fairly sedately, the cumulative effect is building. Which is the idea. I’m at Exeter University, home of one of the country’s leading sports science units, to measure my fitness ahead of my upcoming challenges.