Hi folks. Tim - you are going in the right direction, but allow me to add nuance. VDOT is an index of performance CAPACITY. The more capacity you have, the faster you can POTENTIALLY go in a variety of distances. If you put in times from a number of distances and get different VDOT scores, then this shows either that in some distances you ran slower than your current capacity, or that the conditions were not ideal to get the best time (too hot, hilly, windy etc), or it shows that there was too much time between events and your capacity has changed.
VDOT does not predict your race times. EVER.
So whatever is the best VDOT score that you have from a fairly recent event, indicates the kind of running performance capacity you have at the start of a training programme. When looking up the VDOT ratings in the table of training paces, you are told what are the relevant paces you should use for the different kinds of run which will be in your programme. These paces are sufficiently hard to lead you to appropriate training stress - not so much to break you - and not so little that you can easily cope with it and don't improve/ stagnate.
That's why I always recommend people do a VDOT look up at the start of a training programme. This is the key to steady, consistent improvement without the very significant risk of getting injured.
Chunktfg - if you want to know all the explanation about training theory, it's in the book, Jack Daniel's Running Formula. I recommend it to you.
I have to admit that when i've looked at vDOT I dont think the times for longer distances is too accurate (or maybe Í'm just not experienced enough to handle the last 12k in such all out pain to get it).
Tricky - Interesting that you say 6 months. So if someone is training for Paris they should already have a race done to assess their times ideally?
Hey Emmy - I mean that ideal results that are longer ago than 6 months - unless you have manitained a fairly consistent training base - are probably not so helpful for getting an accurate VDOT rating. The whole point about VDOT is setting appropriate training stress for the capability you currently have. It has nothing to do with ideal times, race predictions etc. It's only use is to set training paces which will introduce sufficient stress to lead to adaptation, but without breaking you. It's legitimate in a long programe to once or twice re-evaluate your VDOT to see if you are capable of taking on new training stress (on the proof that adaptation has already occurred).
I'd probably need to understand what you mean about the 'the times for longer distances'. VDOT gives PACES. It isn't a race time predictor. The tables are very well established and researched to be able to produce the right physiological training stimulus for each of the different kinds of runs - recovery runs, LSRs, tempo runs, intervals...
As TimR confirms, the underlying research in the book by Jack Daniels is very good theory for anyone wanting to understand in more detail how training makes us stronger and why rest is such an important part of training.
Out of interest to the group (and sorry to be all serious): what do you base your pacing on? How far back do you go with your PB at x distance to set them? The reason I ask is because I was talking to someone who said that you should aim to reset your training paces every 6 months-1 year to make sure that you're not training too fast or too slow. It seemed logical but then when i looked at my training paces noticed I was still using paces calculated from a race 15 months ago. What do you all do?
Emmy - I think the absolute max i would leave the time before re-assessing training capability would be 6 months, assuming a fairly stable base of performance. This is in fact what the VDOT Calculator is for - you enter a recent, best time under ideal conditions to find wyour VDOT rating. This rating then indexes back to a database of training pace tables, which you then use as the basis for whatever training programme you select.
The theory is all in the book, Jack Daniel's Running Formula which I think is a great reference book on the theory of sports training. Essentially, the VDOT scores tell you what level of training stress you can currently handle. If you are doing a long programme, you may wish to re-evaluate your VDOT score once or twice through the programme to see if you can handle higher training stresses. It is NOT a race calculator/ performance predictor. It's purpose is to establish correct training paces.
This is the book I just finished reading:
Although he comes from an elite cycling background, I think anyone who is interested in both the science and the human aspect of sports performance will find this interesting, informative and funny. There's only one short chapter that deals very specifically with cycling technology but I think the rest of it is very readable by rrunners. For example, he tells us that women require significantly shorter taper periods than men do - I did not know that. He's very up to date on nutrition, genetics, physiology etc.
It was a great read with more than a few laugh out loud moments.
Hey there Big George - welcome to the thread and Dirty Leeds Rob, welcome back pal, great to see you here again. TinkerBEL can send you an accommodation guide BG is you send her a Private Mail over the forum with your email address.
Jimbob - that must have been so frustrating to make a big effort to get to a race, to have all your adrenaline fired up and then to be denied the chance to run. What a shame. Now I am fully encouraging you to have a go at beating my marathon PB next year - fast course, a bit downhill, wind in your sails. Do it fella!
I'm thinking I might set a goal for Paris mara this year too: to complete it with the least amount of running preparation than anybody else on this thread. My knees have hurt like hell since doing a 10K run in London this week, so I am going to have to rely on lots of cycling or a late withdrawal. Hope that will impress any Catholics here present