V02 max, anaerobic, lactate threshold... what is it?

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05/10/2012 at 18:18

Hello, 17 year old distance runner here- eager to learn more about the science of running so I can use it to enhance my training and performance.

Can anybody explain what all these things mean? The internet seems to confuse me when I research it.

Cheers!

05/10/2012 at 18:24
If you find the terms difficult to understand I think you had better just forget about them. You don't need to know them. Just concentrate on words you can understand. Simple words like run and stop.

Your welcome
05/10/2012 at 18:32

Black D, the simpler way is to get to a decent AC with a decent coach, and follow their lead.

That or get one of those massive books on running anoraks read.

I'd go with Option A.

05/10/2012 at 19:03
Sussex Runner (NLR) wrote (see)
If you find the terms difficult to understand I think you had better just forget about them. You don't need to know them. Just concentrate on words you can understand. Simple words like run and stop.

Your welcome

Excellent language lesson there, SR.  Thanks for that.

bd123 - No harm in having some theoretical knowledge about how these things work.  If you fancy some reading, a couple of the more digestible books I'd recommend include:
Pfitzinger and Douglas - Advanced Marathoning
Bob Glover - Comeptitive Runner's Handbook

05/10/2012 at 19:08

VO2max is the most VO2 you can have.

Ana Erobic was a Serb who once took the women's 1500m record, but she's been struck from the records following an affair with Stan Ozolol, the Croat national coach.

Lactate Threshold was a Sun headline the day they stole the front step from that Modern Art monstrosity by the Thames.

Stevie, Stevie, Stevie, please lend me one of your massive books!

05/10/2012 at 19:08

Oh, looks like Phil's lending me his... 

05/10/2012 at 19:11

Ratzer, you should know by now I know jack all about running, I'm literally spoon fed my sessions!

 

And that's the way I likes it!

05/10/2012 at 20:03
A lactate threshhold is the maximum amount of milk a baby can take!!
05/10/2012 at 20:06
Mr Pub - The OP has difficulty in understanding the terms described on the internet so I would assume he would have difficulty understanding the excellent Mr Pfitzinger. Therfore I suggest he should forget the brainy stuff and just run.
05/10/2012 at 20:08
And finally Ester.............Joking apart Stevie G there have been many succesful athletes who are spoon fed their training and do brilliantly on it. Sometimes i think people think far too much and get it hopelessly wrong.
05/10/2012 at 20:58

I agree SR.

I can't stand people who over think it, and try and link their own approaches to some expert's approach with elites.

I'd summarise it as the below

  • 1 tempo run a week
  • 1 speedwork session
  • above sessions linked to current fitness/slightly faster than current fitness
  • as much easy paced running as you can fit in, including one LSR
  • Have target races in mind
  • Peak around them

Simples.

05/10/2012 at 21:23
Sussex Runner (NLR) wrote (see)
Mr Pub - The OP has difficulty in understanding the terms described on the internet so I would assume he would have difficulty understanding the excellent Mr Pfitzinger. Therfore I suggest he should forget the brainy stuff and just run.

First off, I was referring to the irony of giving lessons on definitions of words when your own English was shit.  Your/you're...  Secondly, give the lad a break.  I was going to continue my post by offering my own definitions of the terms he was asking about, then I realised I'm struggling with anaerobic threshold because it means different things to different people.  Hence the reason for recommending literature which might make things clearer than referring to multiple, possibly conflicting sources on the internet.

Running needn't be rocket science but if someone is curious about the science behind it, why discourage them?

05/10/2012 at 22:47
You're/your was a typo I would never make if writing in the pen. My English is A* but my typing is not so good.
05/10/2012 at 23:05

PP, you're right, so I'm glad you stopped before offering your own definitions.  But unfortunately the books can be just as confusing:

Advanced Marathoning -" tempo runs in which you run for at least 20 minutes at your lactate-threshold pace. This corresponds closely with your current 15K to half marathon race pace. For most marathoners, this pace range corresponds with about 82 to 91 percent of maximal heart rate."
The Competitive Runner's Handbook - "Lactate threshold training is primarily at a pace slightly slower than 10K race pace (15K to half marathon pace). Tempo runs are the most effective way to improve lactate threshold."

Note that whilst the paces stated are the same range, the former has a statement on duration and pace - tempo run, at that pace, for at least 20 minutes - whilst the latter has a simple statement - tempo run.  From the latter you wouldn't know that this meant a tempo run at that pace for a certain duration.  But where did "tempo run" suddenly come from?  And why is it that range?  Well, it's that range because the titles are Advanced and Competitive, and are still using the Daniels' version 1 of tempo pace being fastest pace for 1 hour, observationally based on the groups he was coaching.  So, you go back to Daniels, and now you find out that he's updated his definitions of tempo, because he's realised that he was coaching Advanced Competitive runners, and the rest of the world isn't always that good but still wants to improve.

And you're back to square one on Lactate Threshold.

Advantage number one of the internet over the books is that the science is the latest, unfortunately you have to pay for the best of it.  Books are still in the realms of VO2max being the most important factor in distance running - without even being able to explain exactly what it is.  That said, I completely agree that they are a very good place to start.  I'd just go a little further backwards and start with a basic Exercise Physiology guide.  From there you're armed to go surf the big, scary internet and make your own decisions on what is clean and what has been tainted by evangelism.

Or if you don't want the outlay:
For initial definitions of all the above, go to www.brianmac.co.uk.
For VO2max google Billat - she publishes her papers online. 

05/10/2012 at 23:07

Thanks for the, er, response so far guys- PhilPub, feel free to share any knowledge on the terms you already have as it's all appreciated. I think running is a science, like any sport, or activity, you can stay in the basics or you can dive into the depth of how it all works... ironically a lot of the best teen runners are studying sport science at Uni so it seems sensible to understand what I'm doing in training, surely that is the best way to ensure I'm training at 100% (aimed at Sussex Runner, not you)

06/10/2012 at 22:55
Didn't realise all the teenagers in East Africa were studying sport science at University
07/10/2012 at 21:51

That is a true point...

08/10/2012 at 09:59

I am astounded at one or two of the responses in this thread.

The OP posed a perfectly valid, perfectly common-sense question.

To say 'don't worry about the science' is something that would get you banned (or at least a warning) on most halfway decent strength and conditioning forums.

And I actually think that attitude is very condecending.

Either defend your views with a least a little credible science, or leave it for someone else to do.

I also don't consider it's appropriate to say to someone: 'undertake tempo and/or speedwork sessions', then deny them the understanding you have been benefitted with.

08/10/2012 at 13:12

blackdonkey123,

Welcome to the forum

Here are some simple, approximate answers:

VO2max - the maximum amount of oxygen your body can consume. It can be a rough guide to your racing fitness but some have done very well on less impressive figures, for example Derek Clayton supposedly only had a VO2max of 69 when he ran the 2:08 WR for the marathon. It's another thing to boast about along with your super high mileage and low resting heart rate.


anaerobic - without oxygen. In the running context usually we're talking about running faster (for brief periods) than your body can handle using oxygen.

lactate threshold - as your speed increased the levels of lactate in your blood increase. There are several different definitions of the threshold, for example one is the speed at which it hits 4mmol/litre.

Joe

08/10/2012 at 13:28
SomeOldDog wrote (see)

I am astounded at one or two of the responses in this thread.

The OP posed a perfectly valid, perfectly common-sense question.

To say 'don't worry about the science' is something that would get you banned (or at least a warning) on most halfway decent strength and conditioning forums.

And I actually think that attitude is very condecending.

Either defend your views with a least a little credible science, or leave it for someone else to do.

I also don't consider it's appropriate to say to someone: 'undertake tempo and/or speedwork sessions', then deny them the understanding you have been benefitted with.

You are right that the OP posed what appears to be a valid question, and I apologise for my initial flippant answer.

You are misleading to post that this kind of response would get you a warning or banned on certain other threads.  

Note that the majority of advice across this forum for beginners and improvers at running is to join a club or get a coach.  Running under two coaches at two clubs, I would not expect to get a defence of any session in scientific terms from either coach.  It is entirely up to the coachee to determine what comments like "it's to improve your threshold" actually mean.  A more advanced runner with a coach will have undergone that experiment of one, and know that the coach has recorded what works, and potentially put down his thoughts as to why.  But still I wouldn't expect the coach to expand on why a session works - it has been seen to in the past, for the coachee, and so we do it now.

And this brings us full circle.  If you want to know the science, good for you, there's plenty of information out there.  [I do want to know it, so I read a lot.]  It takes years to sift the wheat from the chaff.  If you want to run, just do what people have been doing and refining for many, many years, and then find out what works best for you.  Not condescension, but the simplest advice refined from years of results.

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