HOW UNDERSTANDING VO2MAX CAN MAKE YOU RUN FASTER
Written BY IAN ROBINSON LEVEL 4 REPS MILITARY PT
Whether you are a runner, a cyclist, any endurance athlete or a cross fitter looking to get better at WOD’s, VO2Max is what you need to firstly understand and then secondly improve to get quicker, faster, stronger in all aspects of training.
VO2Max is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilize during exercise. It’s a combination of how much oxygen rich blood your heart can pump and the muscles efficiency in extracting and using the oxygen.
Since oxygen is critical to running fast, your VO2MAX is the single best measurement of running fitness.
As exercise intensity increases, so does oxygen consumption, however a point is reached where exercise intensity can continue to increase without the associated rise in oxygen consumption. This point at which oxygen consumption plateaus defines your VO2MAX.
So how does VO2MAX help me run faster?
Training at VO2MAX increases the amount of oxygen your body can use. Obviously, the more oxygen you can use, the faster you can run. In addition, VO2MAX running can increase the efficiency of your running and improve your form. Since VO2MAX workouts are much faster than normal training they force you to run more efficiently and with better form.
Training at VO2MAX also increase leg muscle strength and power in which improves economy and also can correlate to other sports such as weight lifting.
Examples of VO2MAX workouts would be 12 x 400m at 1-mile pace, with a 2 min rest in between, or a 2km row, or a 2.4km max effort run.
Knowing when you have hit your VO2MAX is truly tough to know unless you are being tested at the time of the workout, however in my opinion it takes an athlete a few years to work out to be able to feel or know when they are at or around VO2MAX pace, however using heart rate equipment during workouts and during sleep will help you estimate.