Garmin VO2 max measurements

I didn’t see a heading for the most recent Ask A Cycling Coach podcast where our Aussie friend noticed his fitness was improving but the VO2 max on his watch stayed the same. Assuming it’s a Garmin watch, DC Rainmaker said that he has noticed the same thing on his recent Forerunner 965 review. He has been training and getting fitter but the VO2 max on the watch hasn’t changed. You can read about it at the DC Rainmaker website. He says a lot of other people have noticed the same thing. Appears to have happened around November. Other people (including myself) have noticed the same thing and mentioned it in the comments of the watch review. I can’t find any explanation from Garmin so far.

Watch only issue?

My only Garmin is a 530 bike computer and it has been increasing vo2max estimates with increases in fitness from October thru February.

I do NOT have a Garmin watch. Just a 530.

I have an Edge Explore 2, no watch, and the VO2 max estimates have been increasing through the winter.

Working fine on my Epix 2 (indoor rides) and Edge 530 (outdoor rides).

Working properly and increasing on my Fenix 6.

Increasing in Fenix 7 estimations also, even though I am doing only long Z2 and single Z4/SS per week.

my running vo2 got to 59 and haven’t move since November…
My cycling went down to 49 at some point and have not improve…
So not sure…

I use a 955

Garmin, at some point in 2022, has “slowed down” the rate of change of VO2Max, making it a lot less jumpy. This was super-evident to me when moving from the 945 to the 955.

This might or might not be the same issue, but, in my case, the VO2mnax is still moving, just very slow and you have to look for decimal changes. Garmin doesn’t show this in the app but there are a few ways to monitor the changes:

  • the graphic widget on the watch
  • runalyze
  • (there is a way to extract VO2max from Garmin fit files with 2 decimal precision).

This is my running (red) and cycling (black) VO2Max from for the last 3 months:

If I was just looking at Garmin Connect, I would see no change for two months, while things are actually moving in the right direction. Garmin only shows integers, so just a couple of days back I reached 45.52 on running and Connect finally moved me from 45 to 46.

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You also have to remember you can still significantly improve your fitness / results without increasing your maximal oxygen consumption.

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