VO2 Max and How to Become a Faster Runner

Life starts with oxygen. Running begins with oxygen. Living an extraordinary life of running also starts with oxygen.

Let’s break it down for you.

The Three B’s of Running

Breathing → Blood → Body

A runner breathes

  • The oxygen inhaled by the runner moves into the blood
  • The lungs and heart work together to pump oxygen to the runner’s body
  • How well you do this differentiates the boys from the men or the girls from the women.

This, my fellow scientists, is called VO2 max.

VO2 Max is a measure of running fitness.

Running Scientist Definition – the amount of oxygen a runner can use for energy when running

How does VO2 max relate to your running?

The bottom line is this, Improve your VO2 max, and you will run faster.

Types of VO2 Testing

  • Lab Test – Expensive and only really necessary if you are an elite runner
  • VO2 Max Calculator – These self-tests are just estimates, not as precise as lab tests, but they work just fine

You don’t necessarily need to know your VO2 max to improve your VO2 max and become a faster runner.

However, if you do get tested, remember the difference between men and women:

  • Men have larger hearts
  • Men have a larger lung capacity
  • As you age, both men’s and women’s VO2 max decreases

VO2 Max Training to Improve Performance

  • Increase Volume – Run longer and more often
  • Increase Intensity – Run faster

In addition to testing your running potential, VO2 max testing is also a great way to test your progress with your training program. If you are not progressing, consider investing in an individualized training program with me.

Consistent hard and easy running, or intelligent aerobic training, will improve your VO2 max by increasing the presence of mitochondria, the energy-producing structures within your cells. At the same time, aerobic exercise will improve your oxygen transport system: your lung capacity and your heart’s stroke volume. Get after it; train hard!

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