What You Need To Know About VO2max

Nick Davies

RUSEEN Reflective Apparel does more than just Activewear (Side Note)

Here at RUSEEN Reflective Apparel we aren’t just here to sell you safety in the form of reflective activewear. We are all athletes and runners ourselves so when it comes to improving our performance we are all ears. In writing these blogs we have learned a lot ourselves, we have all learned awesome running tips, how to find our writing voice, and of course how terrible we are all at grammar (with the exception of Amy, thankfully! 😂). So while we love selling our athletic clothing we think some of our best efforts come from our blogs and we are truly dedicated to supplying you with the best information we can. We are all students here, we hope you are enjoying!

What is VO2max?

We all want to perform at our peak, lowering our PR’s and making those difficult runs just a little bit easier, but how do we improve? What kind of training can give us the results that we desire? A great way to improve your physical performance is by improving your VO2max. For those of you who aren’t familiar your VO2max, it’s a measure of the maximum rate at which an athlete's body is able to consume oxygen when performing a specific activity, adjusted for body weight. In other words it is the point you hit during exercise when you are breathing as hard as you possibly can. If you train to improve your VO2max properly it is extremely beneficial. In fact, minute for minute, VO2max training boosts running fitness more than any other type of run training.

RUSEEN Reflective Apparel - Exercise Level Chart Based On Age

Where Limitations Lie…

Before we get into what exactly you can do to improve your VO2max let’s talk about the limitations of training. They say that if you want the best VO2max then you better pick your parents because 50% of your capabilities lie within your genetics, leaving us that 50% room for improvement. While having a high VO2max is great, it isn’t to say that you can’t be a great runner regardless. Even a small improvement can give you amazing results. For example a five-point jump in your VO2max can translate into a seven percent improvement, or 90 seconds for a 20-minute 5K.

So How Do You Improve?

To improve your VO2max you need to do consistent aerobic conditioning. French exercise physiologist Veronique Billat found that the fastest way to reach your potential is to run intervals at a speed that elicits your VO2max, a pace known in lab circles as velocity. This pace is equivalent to 3,000-meter pace or the fastest effort you can maintain for about eight minutes. To reap a training benefit, however, you only need to sustain that pace for two to five minutes. Even doing this training once a week can bring great benefits and keep you competitive.

So let’s keep it sweet and simple. By running as hard as you can, you bring yourself to a point where you are breathing as hard as possible. If you sustain that for anywhere from two to five minutes at least once a week and you will see improvement.

RUSEEN Reflective Apparel - VO2max Training - Treadmill Running

How Do I Check My VO2max?

Unfortunately the only way to get a 100% accurate VO2max reading to get it professionally read by running on a treadmill while wearing a breathing mask. Lucky for us though if you have an accurate distance to time recorded for yourself running an equivalent pace to 3,000-meters (just under 2 miles) then you can try a VO2max calculator. Give it a try here! Or if you happen to have a Garmin watch or Fitbit, many models give you an estimate.

 RUSEEN Reflective Apparel - Training to be The Flash - Men’s Short Sleeve

Most experts agree that VO2max reading from a watch or calculator are around 97% accurate, so while not perfect close enough for me! 😁 I wish I could say that my VO2max was on a superhuman sort of level but sadly I was average. I guess I’ll have to keep training to become The Flash one day.

Thanks for reading, cheers!

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