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FAQ: VO2 Max
This chart is alarming to me. Either this chart is way off, or I have no idea what I am doing. I am a 37 year old male with a recently tested VO2max of 55.8. Other variables tested are; PMHR of 206 BPM, LT of 169 BPM, AeT of 139 BPM and LT calorie burn of 1169. Based on the calculator above, I should be able to run an 18 minute 5K and 1:23 half. I can’t get anywhere near that, and I have been running for several years. The best I have attained as an adult is a 22:15 5K, and my half times are off the chart pace even more. Ironically, I can also run a 60 sec 400 meter, which is better than that above. I seem to have a great deal of trouble with overheating and dehydration. I have tried all the tricks from hydration to salt loading to pickle juice. They help, but it seems that I produce a ton of waste heat that my body struggles with. High intensity workouts leave me lethargic and fatigued for several days. I am trying to figure out the path which will get me closer to the predicted times on this calculator. Any thoughts?
You have described a very interesting set of personal circumstances but nowhere do you mention how much training you are doing. With your 400m abilities, Yasso 800′s at 2’45” would be easily achievable, yet you describe your half marathon time as being exceptionally poor. With the correct training I have every faith that you are capable of running 1h23′ for a half marathon and should be able to dip under three hours over 26 miles!!!
there are several variables to consider that are extremely relevant which should be included in the analysis with the largest factor being weight..I recently had a VO2 test at a local college…I am a 50 year old male with a MHR at 180 BPM which was tested at 52 Vo2 capacity with a LT of 168 BPM…According to the VO2 conversion chart, I should be able to run near a 3 Hour marathon…No Fing way am I running near a 3 hour marathon or a 3:30 for that matter…The culprit?…I also weigh 182 pounds and am 6’1″…and no I am not fat (11% Body fat analysis)…Thus I would ask what is your weight ?…I would imagine the analysis above assumes a body weight of lot less near 180 (155-165 perhaps?)…
These numbers are guidelines for what you can do under optimum conditions. And people are different. You may just have the genetic make-up of a sprinter and be full of fast twitch muscles. You just may not be an efficient distance runner.
I could never achieve what my VO2 said my marathon or 5 miles could be, but I could hit my numbers between 15K and half marathon and 5K and under.
You say you can beat your predicted quarter mile times, but what kind of workouts do you do for your 5Ks? Are you doing mile repeats and five mile runs with three miles of tempo. For your half marathon times are you doing weekend long runs in the 15 mile range?
I laugh at the VO2 numbers I get from workout equipment, my treadmill gives me a a VO2 reading in the 70s and the elliptical at the gym would consistently give me 58-60. The best way to use this calculator is to take a recent race to determine your VO2 max and then use that to gauge what similar performances would be.
A 37 year old male with a 22:15 5K has a VO2 max of 44.0 and that translates to a half marathon of 1:42:12, is that more in line?
Bottom line is running is for fun and being fit, being out with people. Times are nice, but they shouldn’t stress you.
I generally agree with what Todd said. I find it interesting that Todd hit his predicted VO2 max times under 5K. For me, my actual race times at under 5K are almost always faster than the predicted times, because I do speed work (400s, 800s) if I am preparing for these shorter distances. Genetic speed endowment likely plays a role, too. My other race times (10K, 1/2 marathon, marathon) are pretty close to the prediction.
I agree with the sentiment that VO2 max times in themselves should be taken with plenty of salt, especially if not cross-checked with actual race times. Furthermore, VO2 max (as you may know) measures the maximum amount of oxygen uptake, not the performance of a runner. Good runners have a high VO2 max, but having a high VO2 max does not necessarily mean a good runner. As Dan said, one’s body build can play a significant role.
I too feel that race predictors are overoptimistic for 1/2 marathon and marathon times based on my own experience
but I think the reason is to do with the fact that most runners train at 10km levels most of the time then occasionally extend to a longer race. As a result they are not fully trained up to the longer distance
In my case I am usually slower than the prediction by 15 mins for a 1/2 marathon and around 30 mins for a marathon
I think if I did an extended period of marathon training say 12 months and did 3 races over that time I would get close to the marathon predicted times without my 10km time getting any quicker
I did a 10km in Jan 2010 at 66 mins (age 64) with no training in the previous 12 months
I did the 2011 London Marathon with only moderate training in 6h 20
I am an ex smoker and started taking up running seriously this year to keep me out of smoking. I have been on a personal quest to improve my V02MAX to clear up my lungs from almost 35 years of smoking. I must say this calculator is quite accurate compared to other sites. I entered a V02MAX of 39 which is what I got from another calculator that is based on distance & race time parameters., i am 49 years old male, 5’4″ & 138 lbs. The race time predicted is AMAZINGLY so close to my PRs on 5K @ 24:48, 10K @ 50:16 and Half Marathon @ 1:57:39 I am on my 3rd cycle of High Intensity Interval workouts 10 x 400 @ 7:30m/mile with 30 sec- 1 min recovery. I have seen a jump on my aerobic capacity to sustain an increased pace for a longer duration. As my threshold increases, i plan to gradually increase the intensity. (length & pace). I also use an ULTRA BREATH breathing exerciser to compliment my training.
Don’t have much to add here that hasn’t already been said – except to reiterate that these race times are “idealized”. If you read Jack Daniels’ book where he goes in-depth about this stuff (VO2 Max and associated race values) you are talking about a very narrow set of requirements that include you being at an ideal weight, having trained for a specific race, etc. As an example of what I’m talking about — say you trained for and ran a 5K race in 20:00. According to that race result, your VO2 Max is around 49.8 and your predicted marathon time would be 3:11:18. Trust me when I say that if you went out and tried to run a marathon a week later, without training for it, you would not be able to run a 3:11:18 marathon. All that to say – specificity of training is VERY important AND there are a lot of factors at work. Rather than being disappointed if you aren’t running times that your specific VO2 Max suggests you should be; you should be excited because that means you have the potential to run those times and you have room to improve from where you are.
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