Thursday, September 4, 2014

If only the Garmin was right!

The new Garmins on the market have some neat features for the technically driven runner. These include information about running cadence, ground contact time and body movement. They are also programmed to calculate a VO2max estimate and use this to predict potential race times. Given where I am these days, I sure wish what my Garmin has been telling me was true. It currently has my VO2max at 48 ml/kg/min and as a W50, this ranks me in the 'superior' range. Not only that, it presently predicts I could run a sub 22 min 5K. Last week is was predicting a sub 23 min 5K, but my effort at parkrun did not get even close. The VO2max estimate is an algorithm from Firstbeat technologies. I've found that the value drops after a tough session and then increases after an easier session.
Running 'metrics' from an intervals session
They say that fast runners have high cadence and less ground contact time. So is it the chicken or the egg? My cadence is quicker and I spend less time on the ground when I'm running faster. I'm guessing most people would find the same thing, when comparing slower paces to quicker paces. Question is, could a slow runner get faster by simply changing the way they run? Maybe yes and maybe no, it would be an individual thing. But hey, it's lots of fun looking at all the graphs and numbers. I wonder when that race time predictor will get it right? Time will tell ;-).

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. The race time predictor seems to be as accurate as 'current pace' on Garmins. Not very!
    Yes, that would be the same for all of us.
    For distance running speed I think it's aerobic power that makes the biggest difference to speed. It's like a race between V8 and 4 cylinder cars. If you rev a 4 to redline (fast cadence) you might match a V8 for a bit but the V8 will always be doing it easier. Similarly, cadence has a maximum sustainable upper rev limit. Maybe 220? Once you hit that, how do you get faster? Increase stride length. But you can't do that if you haven't got the breath to do it.