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Old 02-13-2012, 05:51 PM
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Question About VO2 max

Coach, how familiar are you with improving one's VO2max? I've been reading up on it here:

A Guide to VO2 Max

and on certain days when I run I decide to run at a very fast pace for as long as I can (not an all out sprint but extremely fast) and then when I can't sustain it I stop it, but walk instead. I repeat this for 4 miles. Since I've been doing this, I've been experiencing rather dramatic improvements in my PB's when I just run 'regular'.

My questions are, how effective is what I'm doing for specifically increasing V02 max and are there any other ways to increase VO2 max? Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-13-2012, 06:19 PM
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Your VO2max is genetically fixed with a moderate improvement(avg. 15-20%) between trained and untrained states.
What improves greatly is the % of [email protected] you can sustain for a given distance or time and your economy of movement which decreases the amount of oxygen needed to run a given pace.

What you're doing is a form of fartlek(Swedish for speedplay), an unstructured form of interval training.

As with more structured interval training, the main goals are to increase running economy, improve resistance to fatigue poisons raise the lactate threshold and accustom the nervous system to a higher level of effort and faster running pace.

You're running faster due to all these changes. However, be careful as this is temporary and the body will self-terminate the process when the stress gets too high. This is what runners refer to as "peaking" or "sharpening" for a race.
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Old 02-13-2012, 06:34 PM
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Cool, thanks. Very helpful!

As far as fartlek I'm a firm believer that beans are healthy! But seriously, WHAT a word! I learn something new every day!

Could you elaborate on "self terminate"? I'm not clear on that.

Last edited by VitoVino; 02-13-2012 at 06:37 PM.
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Old 02-14-2012, 07:28 AM
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Thanks HC -- I think I'll work on the drills as warmups for a while, try some interval workouts in the spring and see how it goes from there. I really appreciate your taking the time to help me out!
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Old 02-14-2012, 04:27 PM
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Hi -

This is a great thread!!

I am female and I used to run/jog all the time until I stopped. Now that I am losing weight I am taking up jogging again. In the past I found that 40-50 minutes was enough for me. After that I got bored (I would do one or two maybe even three sessions a day, but I don't like anything longer). So right now I am at 30 minutes, on a slight incline, at 5 mph (or I can go 40-45 minutes but slower). I would like to increase this back to 40-50 minutes and I would also like to increase my speed (I actually have no idea what would be a good goal to shoot for).

Any suggestions?

Thanks
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Old 02-14-2012, 05:09 PM
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Do you have a specific fitness or performance goal?

Since you're running on a treadmill, you'll need to force any changes you make.
First goal is to gradually increase (10% per week) the time you run at 5 mph.

After that, it's just a matter of small speed increases as you feel ready for them.

By wearing a heart rate monitor, you can see when you're ready for an increase as your heart rate will be lower for a given speed/incline.
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Old 02-14-2012, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by VitoVino View Post
Cool, thanks. Very helpful!

As far as fartlek I'm a firm believer that beans are healthy! But seriously, WHAT a word! I learn something new every day!

Could you elaborate on "self terminate"? I'm not clear on that.
When an athlete is at a peak, s/he is also in a fragile state and it can only be maintained for a short amount of time (5-8 weeks). Continued hard training will push the body over the edge and a state of being overtrained will result with performance dropping to slower than base level.

A peak can usually be maintain for a longer period of time if training and racing is kept to a judicious level.

As an example from my running days:
Base level 6:30 per mile for a 10K race
After 7-8 weeks of "sharpening" my race pace would be around 6:10 per mile.
At this point one shorter interval workout plus racing would result in maintaining that level for appx. 5-6 weeks. A return to base training at that point would then result in my race pace slowly returning to 6:30 over the next 2-3 months.

If I was to continue hard training, I could crash to 6:45-7:00 pace in as little as a week once I went over the edge.
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Old 02-14-2012, 06:18 PM
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Thanks HC, that makes sense.

I've been careful to not overtrain by making sure I get enough rest, but I think I've got to start thinking about incorporating more "easy" days in there. It seems every time I run or bike I tend to push myself hard. It's like I feel like I'm cheating myself if I take it easy. But at least I get my rest in, and my diet is now optimal. And FYI I'm now only about 5 pounds over the weight I was when I first went off to college.
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Old 02-14-2012, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by VitoVino View Post
Thanks HC, that makes sense.

I've been careful to not overtrain by making sure I get enough rest, but I think I've got to start thinking about incorporating more "easy" days in there. It seems every time I run or bike I tend to push myself hard. It's like I feel like I'm cheating myself if I take it easy. But at least I get my rest in, and my diet is now optimal. And FYI I'm now only about 5 pounds over the weight I was when I first went off to college.
Excellent!
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Old 02-17-2012, 02:28 AM
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Okay Coach I need advice. I've had a rotator cuff injury for about 8 months, on Dr's orders I did 2 month of no weight lifting over the head, behind my back and for six weeks did absolutely nothing but cardio. After that I did 4 months of physio three times a week with the prescribed stretching every day. The physiotherapist said she couldn't do much more so I stopped. I can still do quite a few weights like seated rows, hammer curls, lat pull downs with no pain but the pec dec and chest press take me right back to the pain again.
My question is would you recommend any alternative therapy? I'm still doing all the stretches every day. I'm frustrated. Also is there a few exercises you would recommend as being good for whole muscle group in the shoulders without damaging myself further.
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