VO2 Max, Lactate Threshold and Aerobic Capacity for Beginners

Have you ever felt like you need a master's degree in kinesiology to be a runner? Don't worry; you're not alone.

As a rookie runner, a slew of new terms are thrown your way such as VO2 max, lactate threshold and aerobic capacity. But there's no reason to feel overwhelmed by your new sport and the new vocabulary that comes with it.

Put down the dictionary and lace up your shoes; here's what you need to know about these fancy words to hit the ground running.

VO2 Max

While this may look like a complex chemical equation, VO2 max is the maximum volume of oxygen the muscles can consume per minute.

"VO2 max represents the size of your aerobic engine," says Jason Karp, Ph.D., running coach and author of Running a Marathon for Dummies. "It's the rate at which oxygen can be used."

This means the higher the number (your VO2 max) the faster the rate in which oxygen can be used, and the faster you can run.

More: VO2 Max and its Impact on Running Performance

Why you should care: "A higher level of VO2 max leads to better performance," says USATF and RRCA-certified running coach Brendan Cournane. "There's more oxygen available to the body to fuel the muscles, so endurance increases and speed can increase as well."

Simply stated: The more oxygen that's available to your muscles, the better you'll perform.

More: 3 Workouts to Increase VO2 Max

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