I have a Garmin fenix 2 that gives me an estimate of my VO2max. I use the watch with a Scosche rhythm+ strapped to my arm.

I am interested in knowing how accurate Garmin's estimate is?

Along with the VO2max estimate, Garmin also gives me estimated finish times for standard distances -- 5k, 10k, HM and FM. I know from personal experience that Garmin overestimates my finish time (put otherwise, underestimates my avg. speed).

Any comments or links to analysis would be quite helpful. Thanks!

  • VO2max is an indicator of potential nothing more. You can raise it simply by losing weight. A much better predictor is vVO2max (Velocity/speed at which VO2max is reached). VO2 is a pretty number, not much more.
    – JohnP
    Sep 21, 2017 at 14:42

1 Answer 1


Garmin use the VO2 data supplied to them in tabular form from the Cooper Institute, for example here is the table for age 14 females: https://www.cooperinstitute.org/vault/2440/web/files/732.pdf

You may be familiar with the Cooper Institute as they are the creator of the PACER test which is used across nearly all schools in the US as an assessment of physical capability.

Your One-mile run data is used as an indicator of your aerobic capacity.

"One-Mile Run. The reliability of distance run tests in youth was summarized by Safrit (1990). Reliability coefficients for 600-yd, 1600-m, 9-min, and 12-min runs ranged from approximately .60 to .90." - How Reliable Are the Field Tests of Aerobic Capacity? FITNESSGRAM®/ACTIVITYGRAM® Reference Guide (4th Edition)

These tables are established through referencing scientific studies on the expected VO2 levels of various age/gender groups, more detail on that can be found here in chapter 6: https://www.cooperinstitute.org/vault/2440/web/files/662.pdf

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