how fit are you?

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Screenshot 2014-08-02 13.47.13


there is no way my VO2 is 62 – my polar HRM used to say it was around 57-59


An interesting article explaining VO2 max in training

An interesting article from run keeper blog:

RunKeeper FitnessClasses are an invaluable resource for runners looking to take their training and racing to the next level. Besides keeping you accountable and providing critical fitness data, FitnessClasses help put you on the perfect schedule that you don’t have to think about. Instead of waking up every morning wondering how to best reach your race goals, you simply check the RunKeeper app on your device and the days training is already laid out for you – just like your mother used to do with your clothes before school!

However, sometimes it’s also helpful to know the purpose behind some of the workouts in your FitnessClass. Whether you just enjoy reading about training theory, or you find that understanding the concepts behind the training helps you execute better, it can be a benefit to your progression when you recognize the purpose behind each workout. With that in mind, I am going to explain to you the concept of VO2 max, a term you’ve probably heard many times in running circles, and how it applies to your FitnessClasses.

What is VO2 max

Defined as simply as possible, VO2 max is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilize during exercise.

To get more scientific, as exercise intensity increases so does oxygen consumption – you need more oxygen to keep running faster. However, you’ll eventually reach a point where you can increase how hard you’re running without the associated rise in oxygen consumption. This plateau is your VO2 max. To understand this in a visual sense, take a look at the diagram below:

Since oxygen is critical to running fast, your VO2 max is the single best measure of running fitness. Now, don’t confuse running fitness with running results. Having a high fitness level doesn’t always mean you will race well, there are many physiological and mental components to a great race, but having a high fitness level is extremely important.

Why Train at VO2 max

The most important training adaptation produced by VO2 max workouts are that they increase the amount of oxygen your body can use. The more oxygen you can use, the faster you can run. Furthermore, since most VO2 max workouts are much faster than easy runs or lactate threshold, they can increase the efficiency of your running and improve your form.

VO2 max works and your FitnessClass

The shorter your goal race, the more important training at VO2 max becomes. However, it is still an important piece to the puzzle for every race distance you might run. Here is how VO2 max contributes to your FitnessClass distances:

5k FitnessClasses

VO2 max is most useful when training for the 5k. During the second half of a 5k race, your finishing pace will be determined by how quickly and efficiently you can speed your working muscles oxygen. The higher your VO2 max, the more oxygen you can send the muscles and the stronger you’ll be able to finish.

The Jeff Galloway 5k FitnessClass incorporates VO2 max workouts consistently in your training. You can check them out here.

10k and half marathon FitnessClasses

VO2 max becomes less important for the 10k and half marathon distance, but it is still an important factor to racing well. While the first portion of your 10k or half marathon FitnessClasss will focus on building aerobic endurance, the last 1/3rd of the FitnessClass will emphasize more VO2 max workouts to help you develop the final piece of the puzzle. Think of this part of the training as putting the icing on the cake. Here is an example of a 10k specific VO2 max workout:

Marathon FitnessClasses

VO2 max workouts are not a big component in marathon training. The most critical indicator of marathon performance is actually how efficiently you can burn fat as a fuel source and conserve carbohydrates. The amount of oxygen you can process certainly plays a role in your overall fitness, which is why your marathon FitnessClass includes some VO2 max workouts and speed work in your training plan once every 3-4 weeks to help tweak your form and efficiency.

I hope you now have a better understanding of what VO2 max is and how your coaches implement this training concept into your FitnessClasses to help make you faster and more race ready.

What I did Sunday – A race for a change

This morning was a 5km race – a GIRLS on The Run support Race. See their website for more details ……

Our wasnt in the US but rather Baghdad and it was 6:30am and already hot. I had decided to dress up in support so was in frou frou skirt blonde wig crop top and fishnets … had more that a few wary army eyes on me and perhaps unsettling a needy eye from one or two too far into their deployment. Was going to pace a colleague to a 24min/5km time but after 1km was told to run on so I hot footed it and proceeded to try pass everyone I could. From starting to race properly not one person passed me – which I guess is the benefit of starting from the back. Had a good run as well as a last minute dash to the line by a soldier who didn’t want to be beaten by a cross dresser, especially a cross dressing civilian. He not only lost that sprint but also faced the heckle from a spectator who shouted ‘you got beat by a girl….. an old girl’ – there was me thinking I looked alright.

Finish time 20m43 at just over 5km so not bad for me and for drag …..

And after the race I went to the gym and did a 15min spin on the bike to get rid of the lactic acid. My race number had a discount coupon on it for RoadID – something I have been meaning to get for a while – like a subtle dogtag in case something happens on a bike ride or a run (or even a mugging)

So made my profile and ordered one as did my work colleague and occasional run and exercise mate Guy. Will let you know when I get it.