vVO2: Knock off 10 seconds from your 5K PB

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Wednesday & Toy TTV
Wednesday & Toy TTV (Photo credit: 427)

Just when you thought it was safe to go training another abbreviation hits the fan: vVO2. Yep, that’s right. Lowercase V then uppercase V then uppercase O then a 2, ideally the 2 would be in a subscript but it’s Wednesday and my computer won’t do that today.

It’s not new either this concept has been around for a while but I haven’t covered it before because of my lack of fonts.

VO2 (max) is just the maximum amount of oxygen your body can shunt around. the higher the better. Obviously (oxygen burns/oxidises the fuel in your body and turns it to energy).

So if yours is higher than mine does it mean you are faster than me. No! But you might have the capacity to be better. You might be a rubbish runner with poor technique or you might only be able to sustain VO2 max for a short period.

vVO2 on the other hand is the (slowest) velocity/pace/speed at which your body can produce the max amount of oxygen throughput. To work it out go and run as fast as you can for 6 minutes.

Let’s say you did 1440metres. 1440 divided by (6 minutes x 60 seconds) is 4metres per second. Or 4:10/km pace.

Let’s do a 3 minute session. You run at 4:10/km for 3 minutes, rest for 3 minutes and repeat as many times as you can maintain that pace for. It should be hard to do more than 6.

That’s it really. Do that once a week for a month and most of you will knock at least 10 seconds off your current 5K time, me included.

The science {BILLAT, V. (1999) Interval training at VO2 max: Effects on Aerobic Performance and overtraining markers. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 31 (1), pp. 156-163} says that you will improve both your vVO2 and running economy.

Or you could just do 1km reps at faster than race pace like me and many others have been harping on about for years. It kinda always seems to boil down to really fast training+quite fast training+aerobic training=most of what you need to do to improve. And it doesn’t get more scientific than that (actually it does).

Do I do this?

A: Yes.

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