How to Find Your Fitness Level + What is Vo2max

How to Find Your Fitness Level

The widely accepted criterion of measurement of your aerobic fitness level, or aerobic capacity, is to find your maximal oxygen uptake, commonly referred to as your Vo2max.

What is Vo2max?

Your Vo2max (the V = volume, o2= oxygen, max = maximum) is the measurement of the maximal capacity of your body to transport and utilize oxygen during exercise which also is closely related to the functional capacity of your heart muscle.

The higher your VO2max is, the more oxygen you will take in and the more energy you will have available in order to keep running.

A true Vo2max test involves a procedure known as open circuit spirometry, a very pricey, complex, and quite uncomfortable test. It also, should only be performed under the administration of an exercise science professional who is familiar with the equipment, calibration, and who can make accurate interpretations.

Since the test is out of the reach of most runners, the common solution is to perform a graded submaximal Vo2 tests, designed by exercise physiologists, that can then be used to estimate (quite accurately) your Vo2max or your maximum fitness level.

We will be using the 1.5 Mile Run Test to estimate your VO2max. It is a very simple test with little room for user error and is appropriate for long distance runners who are used to running at least 2 miles.

NOTE: If you have a smart watch (such as the FitBit or an Apple watch) you can most likely find your Vo2max estimate in your specifications in your account. If you do find that your Vo2max has already been calculated for you from recent past runs then feel free to use that value and continue on with the next step. Otherwise, take the 1.5 Mile Fitness Test to get your Vo2max estimate!