How To Improve Your Running Vo2 Max | Triathlon Training Explained

How To Improve Your Running Vo2 Max | Triathlon Training Explained


(digital electronic whizzing) – Welcome to “Triathlon
Training Explained”, we’ve gone into the how
to find your VO2 max in a recent video, so now you know how to get your numbers, how do you go about improving them? – Yeah, now part of having a high VO2 max comes down to genetics, but
you’ll be pleased to hear that there are way in
which we can still increase that magic number. – Well, I hope you are
ready for some hard work. (upbeat music) – Now don’t be put off by
these letters and numbers, VO2 max, it can all
sound rather complicated, but essentially we’re just
looking to get you fitter. But before we crack on with that, let’s just quickly explain
exactly what your VO2 max is. – Yeah, it’s basically shorthand for the maximum rate
of oxygen consumption, V being the volume, O2 being the oxygen. And to calculate it you
actually also include your body weight, so it
give you an equation of, millimeters of oxygen, per kilo
of body weight, per minute. And you can test this in a physiology lab to get a very accurate result, but there are several other methods too of which actually Mark and
Fraser went into detail in the recent video of what is VO2 max, so check that one out
and whilst you’re there, why not give us a like a follow. – Yeah, and your VO2 is
essentially your engine and how efficient you are at
utilizing the oxygen available. Now this isn’t the only component to being able to run
fast, but it’s certainly a very clear measurement of your fitness, and therefore can be
improved with training, and it’s actually very important
for us as distance runners. – Now for the important part. You know how to work out your VO2, so it’s time to look at improving it and the rates of improvement
are going to vary, so if you’re someone who’s
not been running for months and you’re getting up off the sofa for the first time in a while,
then you’re going to see quite impressive
improvements really quickly. If however you’re the
other end of the spectrum and you’re already running regularly and you’ve been doing this consistently, then you’ll still going
to see improvements, they’re just going to be less obvious. – Yeah, we’re not going to lie to you here or beat around the bush,
VO2 max sessions hurt, but that being said, you get a pretty good
return for your investment as for the amount of time
spent in the hurt locker, you get a good pretty return in fitness. Basically what we’re trying to say is, they’re well worth it. – There are various styles of sessions which you can adopt to improve your VO2, all of which are going to have
you working at, or very close, to that intensity. When it comes to the longer reps, then you’re going to be
working slightly under that VO2 max intensity. The shorter reps on the other hand, you’re going to be working
at, and sometimes even above, that intensity. But the one thing they all have in common is they’re going to be
broken into intervals where you’ve got periods
of working really hard for a short period of time, followed by an active recovery. – Yeah, so we’ve actually
helped you out today, we’ve picked out three
of our favorite sessions, (woman laughs) I use that term, favorite, rather loosely, because well, you’ll see. Before we do crack on with those sessions, do make sure that you are
well warmed up beforehand so that you’re ready
to run at VO2 max pace. – Yeah, and we’re going
to be talking about your VO2 max pace quite a
bit throughout this video, and if you’ve done a physiology lab test and you can get your pace
from that, if you haven’t, then you can actually go and
do a six minute all out effort, just make sure you’ve done
a thorough warmup first, then take your average pace from that. (upbeat music) It’s time to take a look
at the sessions then, and the first one is know 30/30s and it was my coach’s
favorite, so it’s fair to say that I have well and truly
tried and tested this. It was actually devised by
French exercise physiologist, Veronique Billat, when he
discovered that working at your VO2 max pace for 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds jog recovery, repeatedly, until failure, was a great way to improve
your overall fitness. So for this one, you just
want a nice thorough warmup, and then it’s straight into the main set. I actually measure out the
section that I need to run hard and then I use my turnaround point midway through the recovery section. And it’s quite a mind game this session, as you’re always trying to
just push one more rep out before you don’t make
that 30 seconds beep, and it’s a good marker of where
you’re at with your fitness. So ideally, if you can manage to get this session in once a week consistently and you can increase the
amount of reps you’re doing every couple of weeks, say by two, and then once you get to eight weeks is ready to take the next step up and actually increase it to
60 seconds on, 60 seconds off. So say you’ve reached 24 30/30s, then realistically you want to still, be obviously hitting the same pace, but try to do 12 lots of 60 on, 60 off. If that’s a bit much for the first week, then drop it down to 10 and you
can start to increase again. And personally, I must admit
I did dread this session, but that was mainly ’cause our coach would change the goalpost, but if you’re consistent
with your improvement, you’ll definitely see yourself
getting much stronger. (gentle music) – All right, this session needs
little introduction really, hills are great for making you work hard, without really having to
worry about your pace. Now due to gravity, we naturally will just go a
little bit slower up hills than we would on the flat for the same given intensity or effort. Now for this session I’m going
to suggest you do your warmup on the flat or an undulating terrain and plan to finish at the
bottom of your chosen hill. Now that chosen hill
needs to be steep enough that you’re going to end
up working hard on it, but not so steep that
you can’t find a rhythm. It also needs to be a long enough that you can get in a good two
to three minute rep on there, so you can really target
that VO2 max development. Now a good example
session to start out with is four to five lots of two
minutes going hard uphill, and then recovering on the downhill. Now I’d advise trying
to make a mental note of where you get to after each
of those two minute efforts, and trying to get to that
same point, or further, on each of the subsequent reps. Now the idea of this whole session is that you will feel absolute
toast at the end of it, if you don’t, then just
add on an extra rep, and as the weeks go by, do the same, keep adding on extra reps
until you’re at a point that you feel like you can
start doing three minute reps rather than two minute reps. Now I absolutely love
this session because of the simplicity of it, all you need is a timer, a
good hill, a good gradient, and it’s hard not to work. (upbeat music) – There’s no need to make
things complicated here, just hard. Yes you’re going to need
a really thorough warmup as you’ve got to be ready to run at pace, we are actually upping the
intensity a little bit further, you’re going to be touching
on close to lactate threshold and maybe a little bit
above your VO2 max pace. – Yeah, we’ve picked out
a pretty meaty one here, we’ve got five lots of 1K with 400 meters jog recovery between. Now those kilometer
reps should be at a pace that you can just about maintain
them for those five reps. Yeah, we said this was going to
be (woman laughs) pretty hard. – But you can mix it around a little bit, that’s the kind of basis
session so you can change the distance that you’re doing per rep, or the number of reps. So say, you might want
to do 800s instead of Ks, and then you could aim for
six or seven for example. – Yeah, well that should be enough for you guys to go away
with and play with. Just pick one of those sessions per week, and trust me, they are physically
and mentally demanding, but really pay off in the long run. – Yeah, well hopefully you’ve enjoyed it and hopefully you like the sessions, give us a like and a follow at GTN.

Author: Kevin Mason

28 thoughts on “How To Improve Your Running Vo2 Max | Triathlon Training Explained

  1. By the way Véronique Billat is a lady. Anyone called Véronique is a lady as a matter of fact. Come on GTN keep up with your high quality standards

  2. @Heather two questions: 
    1. min. 4:17 – 30sec on VO2 Pace. How do i know in running what is my VO2 Pace?
    2 What % should my Vo2 Pace when i run a 21km? (VO2Max 47)

    Thank you for your very good Content and knowledge 🙂

  3. I've done 5x 1000m hard+3min easy (which come quite close to 400m). With warmup and cooldown that comes close to 10km total workout. At least for me that starts to be up there.

  4. Great Video. Can you also make one for VO2Max for Cycling? Or did I just missed that one?
    It seems like you were wearing Suunto or Garmin watches. Can you please make a video or answer me, how VO2Max is related to the maxHartrate and the lactate treshold. It would be interesting, because I couldn`t find that pair of information even if the threshold is calculated by most watches. I think for many athlets the calculated threshold by the watches are quite accurate for maintain a good training.

  5. These sessions are definitely tough and encourage fitness development… Session 3 (1k reps) is by far the most VO2MAX specific session of the three suggested. Coaching legend Jack Daniels (who's lab tested endless athletes over the years) states that it takes 2minutes until the body is operating at VO2MAX, which means a lot of the time spent in the 30/30 session may be at VO2MAX pace, but the body is not functioning at actual 'maximal oxygen uptake' i.e. VO2MAX. The second session could indeed work – but not many people know (or are able to estimate) their VO2MAX pace on a gradient, which typically results in the athlete either running below VO2MAX (and thus not maximising gains), or running above VO2MAX effort, which will be working anaerobically, making it feel a lot harder and meaning you won't be able to complete as much volume/time at VO2MAX, because you'll reach exhaustion a lot earlier.
    As I say – definitely very tough sessions that will bring improvements, but there are better ways than the first 2 sessions to optimise VO2MAX gains. Keep it simple and run intervals of 3-5minutes at VO2MAX pace with similar length recoveries 🙂

  6. I rely on my Garmin 935 for my VO2 Max and and currently at 48. I think that is pretty good for a 58 year old male but do you have information about how age affects VO2 Max?

  7. My heart rate needs more than 1 minute to increase to over 90% when I kick 450-500 watt (Polar Vantage) . So the intervals with only 30 oder 60 seconds have no real effect to my vo2max.

  8. So I do 40/20 on the indoor cycle x25. On running since it’s winter here in Wisconsin I do 400 meters followed by 200 meter walk on the treadmill and somewhere between 15-20 sets. Vo2 max cycling is 50 and running 45 according to my garmin 935 – age 60.
    Why is cycling and running VO2 max different?

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