VO2 Max estimate way too high


I've had a Forerunner 245 Music for 2.5 weeks now. On the first day, I did a 9min "Benchmark Run" (GC shows a pace of 6:59, 138 bpm avg HR). After a day or so, it started showing me a VO2 Max estimate of 54. I believe this to be way too high. I am male, in my thirties, I run *very* rarely. I can't really run longer than 10mins at that pace (I was battered after that benchmark run) and I can run for perhaps 30mins max at a much slower pace (perhaps around 8:00 or so). I do some sports sometimes but not endurance sports/cardio. I ran a 5k once 10 years ago in 31min and I was completely devastated afterwards. Since then, my running fitness has very likely *not* improved.

After a couple of days, I discovered the "Activity Class" setting on my GC Web profile, and I've set it to 3. And I've got very long legs, perhaps that's worth mentioning.

After the first week of using the 245, Training Status started showing me a 5k prediction of 22:04 (and the 10k/half-marathon predictions are about as ridiculously low).
I have not done (m)any longer runs, as I do not/can't run longer - I've done two Run-Walk-Run's from the Coach plan of around 22min and one other 25min run (not from the plan) and a few Drill Workouts from the Coach plan (but not sure Garmin uses these to estimate/improve VO2 Max?).

The thing now is this: I've done a few runs now but my VO2 Max is not going down. However the watch is consistently saying "Training Status Unproductive", that my Fitness is going down, during the runs it's giving me scores of -8, etc. So basically the watch thinks I am some kind of super athlete and that I am currently performing way below how I should be performing.

You can probably imagine how frustrating this must feel. No matter what I do or how hard I run, the watch is telling me I'm doing very badly. Of course I can just ignore the watch but I bought it as a gadget and "training utility" and this is just very demotivating. It also doesn't seem to correct the VO2 Max. So far it just went down from 54 to 53, in three weeks! How long do I have to wait and run until the watch realises I am not a super-athlete? You can imagine it would be much more motivating if my ability was estimated more correctly and I could actually work on *improving*, instead of just seeing how it goes downwards and downwards.

I don't really want to factory reset the watch and loose all my workouts and data from the first 3 weeks. Also I know that there's a field where I can input VO2 Max manually but I have no idea what I should be putting, this is exactly what I would want the watch to figure out for me.

Thanks for any ideas or suggestions!

  • There are many people with the exact opposite experience. The conclusion I have come to is that obtaining an estimate of VO2max from a wrist-based HRM watch thing is pretty much a waste of time and space. It might work for some people, but for many it's complete cobblers.

  • I have this exact problem. Since you asked a year ago, I am wondering how this worked out for you. Did it eventually correct itself over time to a more accurate value? 

  • I think I would say it as "partially" or actually "more or less" worked out. The truth is I don't run frequently and long enough and I've also had many weeks with "No Status" in the last year (I've done a lot of sport but just not running, nothing that would "count" into the VO2max estimate of Garmin).

    With that being said, the VO2max did go down slowly over the past year - it's now at 46. And probably if I ran more regularly/longer, it would've adjusted (downwards) even more. The 5k race prediction time now shows 26min, which is still a bit too high. I ran close to 5k only once this year, and that was a time of about 35min. Purely from lung capacity / HR I could probably run faster so the VO2max estimate might actually be quite alright now. But there are "other" factors to a body that Garmin doesn't incorporate :-).

    I should also note that I've been using a chest HRM for most of the time, so alexeames comment above regarding wrist-HR inaccuracies would no longer apply.

  • Thanks for responding! I’ve only just started running and prior to that was playing racquetball once a week. Nothing to indicate a vO2 max of 51 for my age. The race predictions are ridiculous as well. I’m hopeful it’ll self correct but with the training I’ve done so far it’s gone from 53 to 50, then back up to 51 so we’ll see. Outside of this, I am loving the watch. 

  • Same issue. My first run with the watch was 4km @ 5:50min/km pace and my HR was through the roof, frequently hitting my max of 190 bpm. Garmin gave me a VO2max of 49 which is much too high for someone who has never done endurance training in his life.

    I quickly realized that I'm running in too high HR zone so I started running more slowly. For the past month the device has been telling me that my training load is "balanced" but my overall fitness is getting worse because it's trying to get to the correct VO2max value after initially getting it wrong.

    The watch is still occasionally recommending me to do a "base" run at either 6:30min/km pace or 140bpm HR. Those are completely different things for me, at 6:30min/km my HR would be in the red zone. This would seem to indicate that even though the VO2max has dropped to 47 it's still way off.

  • If you were hitting your max heart rate several times it is probably set too low. To reach the max HR requires a great effort and is nothing you just accidently do on a run even if you run fast and hard. If you don't run much it is probably not even possible for you to even reach your max HR.

  • Interesting. I averaged 183 bpm and maxed out at 189 bpm on that 24 minute run. I'm 30 years old so I thought that should be close to my maximum. Could be just wonky data or maybe I happen to have a very high max HR. I used some old Polar chest strap some years ago and I could sustain HR of around 180 for about 45 minutes.