VO2 MAX
VO2 max is an important indicator of your aerobic fitness.  It refers to the maximum amount of oxygen consumed and utilized by your body during an all out effort of exhaustion.  VO2 max is measured in milliliters per kilogram of body weight per minute.  The higher the number, the more oxygen you get to the muscles.  

Like me, many athletes want to improve their VO2 max and according to scientists, you have to blame your parents if you have a low VO2 max number because 50-80% is determined by your heredity.

VO2 Max Calculator from RunnersWeb.com
Also, the older you get your VO2 max number decreases and I find that VERY uncool! There have been times when it's been hard to regulate my breathing and my training becomes choppy.  When I realized it wasn't my asthma I started to look into VO2 max research.  As a younger runner in high school and college, I was labeled as a sprinter and short distant runner.  Now that I am older and have transitioned from a 5K to 1/2 marathon runner, it has been important to gradually improve my VO2 through consistent training.   

You can calculate your VO2 level but the best way would be to go to your sports medicine specialist.  Per the VO2 max calculator my level is 37.09 ml/kg/min which is good but not excellent according to the chart below!

How can we improve our VO2 max? Training!. . .consistent training and a solid interval workout.  Below are some great workouts that you can follow.  If you do not have access to a track there is an alternative listed below!

VO2 Max Running Exercise
(once or twice a week when NOT competing)
  • 4 X 1600m @ 4 secs slower per 400m than your best mile time.  3 min rest
  • Repeat X 3, 400 (30sec rest) / 800 (30sec rest) / 400 (30sec rest) @ mile race pace
  • 5 X 1200m @ 8 seconds slower per 400, than best mile time.
  • Run at maximum effort for 5 minutes.  Rest for five minutes.  Run the distance again 10% slower with 90 seconds rest.  Repeat until target time is not possible.
  • 400m 4 seconds faster than best mile, 70 seconds rest, repeat until target time is not possible.

Alternative when there is NO track access:
  • 5 X Run for 4 minutes at 80% of race pace.  Take a 3 minute rest 
  • Run X 3, 1.5 minute at race pace (30sec rest) / 3.0 minute race pace (30 sec rest) / 1.5 minutes at race pace
  • Run at maximum effort for 5 minutes.  Rest for five minutes.  Run the distance again 10% slower with 90 seconds rest.  Repeat until target time is not possible.
  • Run a 1.5 minute 4 seconds faster than best mile, 70 seconds rest, repeat until target time is not possible.
In the Gym with Your Trainer:
(Complete the entire circuit without resting in less than 1:30)
  • Speed Squats / 20 repetitions 
  • Lunges / 20 (10 per side)
  • Box Shuffle/split jump 20 (10 per side)
  • Squat jumps / 10 repetitions 
Join me this week and improve your VO2 max!
As always, check with your doctor and fitness professional first before taking steps! Every person is different, so go to your local professionals! Happy Running and Exercising!