Real Science

By Phil on 2014.04.02 In General

Today I went back to see the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences at Sunderland University for my follow up assessment following my 6 week training plan. After a very poor night’s sleep, probably due to pre-Polar excitement (or PPE as I now like to call it), I was feeling very tired and not looking forward to my assessment at all. But after a few strong black coffees and bananas I felt ok.

Before being wired up on the treadmill, Lisa and her team took my blood pressure, height (luckily I hadn’t shrank since last time, but unfortunately I hadn’t grown either) and my weight, which had dropped a few pounds, was an added bonus.




The tests followed the same pattern as last time, with a 5 minute warm up, before doing 3 minute interval runs measuring my heart rate, VO2 Max values, taking blood to measure blood lactate threshold as well as giving each interval session a difficulty rating.

I noticed very early in the test that I had improved and that I was finding each interval level easier than my previous test. Which confirmed what I had noticed during my training program, that the training plan given to me by Lisa and her team had really improved my overall fitness and certainly enabled me to run for much longer distances than I had ever managed previously.

Here are the magic numbers and pretty images from today’s test

test profile


key measures

You can view my previous blog post Weird Science written after my first assessment over 6 weeks ago here.

Extract from report:

For any given sub-maximal exercise intensity you can see a:

• Decreased HR
• Decreased perceived exertion
• Decreased lactate

The most beneficial outcome is the fact that you can sustain a similar intensity (velocity) with a lower accumulation of lactate. This suggests your body has increased capability for lactate clearance. You can sustain aerobic energy production for longer at higher intensities. Your body has improved its ability to transport essential oxygen to the muscles and your muscles will have improved the capacity to extract that oxygen from the blood and use it for energy production. This should delay the onset of fatigue and you should feel able to sustain sub-maximal exercise below the threshold for longer. This is supported by your RPE values (how hard you felt the exercise was) between 10-11.5km.h-1.

Your heart is working less hard to pump the blood and this conserves energy.
You said you had not slept particularly well the night before the testing session and this is reflected by the fact that you did not appear to max out on this test. As such, I would not read too much into the VO2max values. On your previous test you achieved a peak HR of 172 bpm, which equated to 97% of your predicted HRmax (HRmax calculated as 200-age). In this test you achieved a peak HR of 164 bpm, which equates to 92% of your predicted HRmax. This still demonstrates excellent effort but suggests you still had some spare capacity to push yourself harder!

Now I have now finished the training program and seen the obvious improvement, I plan to continue to train to a similar training pattern after the Polar and hope it helps increase my overall fitness even further in the future.

I would like to thank Lisa and her team for helping and supporting me over the last 7 weeks. It was a pleasure to work with all of them and hope I get the opportunity to do so again in the future on some other crazy adventure I attempt!

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Welcome to my blog about hiking, trekking, Fjällräven Polar 2014, in fact anything where you require boots and the outdoors.

My name is Phil, and following my outdoor epiphany which started in the summer of 2012 I’m now hooked on everything outdoors. So far my biggest treks have included the 250km Cathar Way, the 170km Tour du Mont Blanc and best of all, winning 1st place to take part in the Fjällräven Polar in April 2014.

I plan to use this blog to write about all my adventures, which will include my personal goal of becoming a Munroist (completing all 282 Scottish Munro mountains), summer treks, weekends in the Lakes and many more.

I like to try and make my blog posts humorous so I hope you enjoy reading and that I can put a smile on people’s faces while showing you some amazing places.

If you have any questions about the blog or the places I'm writing about, don't hesitate to contact me on: phil@philyourboots.com

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