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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Long distance running - Next form of Evolution - Oxygen Intake!

Another aspect of long distance running that I wonder is this:  how come an individual evolve?   Why am I personally struggling to run long distances?  Is there a limit?  While the biggest factors are the motivation and mental elements, let us examine the physical factors.  The first of them all is Oxygen Intake.

As one runs more, the relative consumption of oxygen - called Volume Oxygen Maximal - or VO2 max, which is by nature a key determinant in terms of a person ability to perform during an endurance sport - which could be long distance running, rowing, cycling, climbing etc., among others.  We will avoid meandering into technicalities but some key observations.  I have sourced some from the experts:



VO2 max peaks out after sometime
 vs Exerise Intensity
VO2 max (also maximal oxygen consumptionmaximal oxygen uptakepeak oxygen uptake or maximal aerobic capacity) is the maximum capacity of an individual's body to transport and use oxygen during incremental exercise, which reflects the physical fitness of the individual. The name is derived from V - volume, O2 - oxygen, max - maximum.
VO2 max is expressed either as an absolute rate in litres of oxygen per minute (l/min) or as a relative rate in millilitres of oxygen per kilogram of bodyweight per minute (ml/kg/min). The latter expression is often used to compare the performance of endurance sports athletes.
The Fick equation defines the same as:
\mathrm{VO_2\; max} = Q(\mathrm{CaO_2} - \mathrm{CvO_2}), when these values are obtained during an exertion at a maximal effort.
where Q is the cardiac output of the heart, CaO2 is the arterial oxygen content, and CvO2 is the venous oxygen content.
(CaO2 – CvO2) is also known as the arteriovenous oxygen difference.


Among many other reliable tests, this test called the Cooper test is used to measure the oxygen intake of long distance runners:
Kenneth H. Cooper conducted a study for the United States Air Force in the late 1960s. One of the results of this was the Cooper test in which the distance covered running in 12 minutes is measured. Based on the measured distance, an estimate of VO2 max (in ml/min/kg) is:
\mathrm{VO_2\; max} = {d_{12} - 505 \over 45}
where d12 is distance (in metres) covered in 12 minutes.

Elite male runners can generate up to 85 ml/kg/min, and female elite runners can generate about 77 ml/kg/min [8]. Five time Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain is reported to have had a VO2 max of 88.0 at his peak,[9] while cross-country skier Bjørn Dæhlie measured at 96 ml/kg/min.[10] Dæhlie's result was achieved out of season, and physiologist Erlend Hem who was responsible for the testing stated that he would not discount the possibility of the skier passing 100 ml/kg/min at his absolute peak. Norwegian cyclist Oskar Svendsen is thought to have recorded the highest VO2 max of 97.5 ml/kg/min, a "sensational" value in itself, made more remarkable by his young age (18 years old at the time).[11] World class rowers are physically very large endurance athletes and typically do not score as high on a per weight basis, but often score exceptionally high in absolute terms. Male rowers typically score VO2 maxima over 6 litres/minute, and some exceptional individuals have exceeded 8 l/min.
To put this into perspective, thoroughbred horses have a VO2 max of around 180 ml/kg/min. Siberian dogs running in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race have VO2 values as high as 240 ml/kg/min.[12] 
Improving your Max VO2

The ability to run is about having a better VO2.  Just reproducing 
the article from Runners world for this:

Understanding how your body uses oxygen during exercise is the key to faster times - By Amby Burfoot Published 11/14/2001
Oxygen is the key determinant in
an endurance athelete's performance
All aerobic endurance activities, like running, bicycling, swimming, and cross-country skiing, are essentially contests to see how much oxygen your body can deliver to your exercising muscles. Increase the amount of oxygen, and you can run, bike, swim, or ski faster.
In their laboratory research, scientists frequently measure this delivery and use of oxygen, calling it maximum oxygen uptake or VO2 max. They consider maximum oxygen uptake to be the most basic measure of aerobic fitness, and they've shown that it increases as you train more and harder. I generally reverse the letter order, since max VO2 has a friendlier sound than VO2 max.

As your aerobic capacity increases, you can run farther and faster. All training improves your aerobic capacity, even slow, relaxed jogging. But some workouts improve it more than others.

The best and most efficient way to increase your aerobic capacity is to run slightly faster (10 to 30 seconds per mile) than your 5-K race pace. Faster runners should be closer to the 10-second figure, and slower runners closer to the 30-second figure. For example, if you can race a 5-K at 7:40 per mile, you should run your max VO2 workouts at 7:20 to 7:30 pace. This isn't a pace that you can maintain very long in training. You can run for distance (800 meters) or time (3 to 5 minutes).

After each repeat, jog for four to five minutes, and then do another. The workout is finished when you've completed three to four repeats (for beginning and intermediate runners) or six to eight repeats (for advanced runners).

Many runners do max VO2 workouts on the track as part of their interval training routines because they like to measure the lengths and times of the repeats exactly. That's fine, but it isn't necessary. You can also do max VO2 workouts on a good trail, a grassy field, or any other smooth surface that allows you to run at a fast clip without fear of ankle turns. Use your watch to time the four-minute repeats, and run at a strong and fast (but not all-out) effort.

Don't do these aerobic-capacity workouts more than once a week, and skip them on weeks when you have races. These workouts cover less distance than tempo workouts, but they're more taxing because the pace is considerably harder. If you were to do several max VO2 workouts a week or include one in your training program during the week of a race, you might soon find your race performances deteriorating because you'd be too fatigued to race at full strength.

In their laboratory research, scientists frequently measure this delivery and use of oxygen, calling it maximum oxygen uptake or VO2 max. They consider maximum oxygen uptake to be the most basic measure of aerobic fitness, and they've shown that it increases as you train more and harder. I generally reverse the letter order, since max VO2 has a friendlier sound than VO2 max.
As your aerobic capacity increases, you can run farther and faster. All training improves your aerobic capacity, even slow, relaxed jogging. But some workouts improve it more than others.

The best and most efficient way to increase your aerobic capacity is to run slightly faster (10 to 30 seconds per mile) than your 5-K race pace. Faster runners should be closer to the 10-second figure, and slower runners closer to the 30-second figure. For example, if you can race a 5-K at 7:40 per mile, you should run your max VO2 workouts at 7:20 to 7:30 pace. This isn't a pace that you can maintain very long in training. You can run for distance (800 meters) or time (3 to 5 minutes).

After each repeat, jog for four to five minutes, and then do another. The workout is finished when you've completed three to four repeats (for beginning and intermediate runners) or six to eight repeats (for advanced runners).

Many runners do max VO2 workouts on the track as part of their interval training routines because they like to measure the lengths and times of the repeats exactly. That's fine, but it isn't necessary. You can also do max VO2 workouts on a good trail, a grassy field, or any other smooth surface that allows you to run at a fast clip without fear of ankle turns. Use your watch to time the four-minute repeats, and run at a strong and fast (but not all-out) effort.

Don't do these aerobic-capacity workouts more than once a week, and skip them on weeks when you have races. These workouts cover less distance than tempo workouts, but they're more taxing because the pace is considerably harder. If you were to do several max VO2 workouts a week or include one in your training program during the week of a race, you might soon find your race performances deteriorating because you'd be too fatigued to race at full strength.

As your aerobic capacity increases, you can run farther and faster. All training improves your aerobic capacity, even slow, relaxed jogging. But some workouts improve it more than others.
The best and most efficient way to increase your aerobic capacity is to run slightly faster (10 to 30 seconds per mile) than your 5-K race pace. Faster runners should be closer to the 10-second figure, and slower runners closer to the 30-second figure. For example, if you can race a 5-K at 7:40 per mile, you should run your max VO2 workouts at 7:20 to 7:30 pace. This isn't a pace that you can maintain very long in training. You can run for distance (800 meters) or time (3 to 5 minutes).

After each repeat, jog for four to five minutes, and then do another. The workout is finished when you've completed three to four repeats (for beginning and intermediate runners) or six to eight repeats (for advanced runners).

Many runners do max VO2 workouts on the track as part of their interval training routines because they like to measure the lengths and times of the repeats exactly. That's fine, but it isn't necessary. You can also do max VO2 workouts on a good trail, a grassy field, or any other smooth surface that allows you to run at a fast clip without fear of ankle turns. Use your watch to time the four-minute repeats, and run at a strong and fast (but not all-out) effort.


One sure way to improve VO2, is
interval training!
Easy way to calculate your VO2 max with a guideline of the quality of your intake is here.  
A simple form of evolution of the long distance runner, especially people who are constantly looking for PB or trying longer distances and steeper courses, the VO2 max improvement training plays a vital part.  
Then the answer is intervals, intervals and intervals!!!  One such interval plan is given here.

Meanwhile another interesting topic is about Barefoot vs Shoes.  One surprising article, against all theorem is that Light Shoes are the best options, even better than barefoot.  I am a shoe-lover and hence may be biased. Barefoot lovers, please excuse, as I consider you more evolved than us, shoe-lovers.  

-The Road Runner.


Note: All links are copyrights are individual websites. 




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