There are many confusing body metrics used in running and other sports activities. Let’s try to shed some light on the meaning of one of them, VO2 max, and why it matters (or doesn’t)
VO2 max It is the maximum volume of Oxygen (in milliliters) your body can use per kilogram of body weight per minute. The name is derived from V – volume, O2 – oxygen, max – maximum. In essence, it says how fast your body can produce energy to power your muscles for running. It is a very personal measure of fitness.
How do you measure it:
To measure it you need a lab with sophisticated equipment. We can estimate it, though. Here is a link that explains how. The first method is the easiest, but one may want to do some of the others too to verify. For completeness, let me describe the first method.
Your VO2 max is estimated by 15.3 x (MHR/RHR)
MHR = Maximum heart rate in beats per minute which is estimated by 208 – (0.7 X age)
RHR = Resting heart rate. Sit still for some time and then measure your heartbeat! My Garmin gives it to me.
Can it be improved?
Your absolute maximum VO2 max is genetic and cannot be changed (so they say), but an unfit person could improve his VO2 max up to 30%. Regular exercise will help. But the best way to get better is with high-intensity interval training (HIIT). That is a topic in itself. To do it correctly seems to be a science and is hard to do. The trick is to run close to your VO2 max. But even if we get it approximately right, it will help!
If we want to approach the limits of our abilities in running or any other sport, this is one thing that can be measured. What can be measured, can be improved.
This is not the only measure of your running ability. There are various other factors. Running form is one, your lactate threshold is another. (But that is a topic for another day)
Daily World: The promo run and the coaching.
If you follow my blog, you will know that I am joining a small group of enthusiastic runners for a workout three times a week. If you are in Mohali or close to it, feel free to come and run with us. We mostly have runners who are working towards a 10k. But we accommodate other stages of fitness as well. So, come along if you want to become a consistent runner.
This morning before church the Daily World marathon had a promotional run that started at the lake. It was co-branded with the PGI (hospital) who did a walkathon for the international day of oral health. There were vast numbers of volunteers and more runners than expected. There was a colorful sunrise,
enthusiastic stage-directed warmup and perfect weather for a fast 10k.
My legs felt sluggish after yesterday’s 31k.
But I was able to shake it off soon enough.