Running and Breathing: A Lesson in Oxygen Intake and VO2 Max

New runners will see the dramatic increases as they work to improve their VO2Max. Once you reach a certain level, the athlete will plateau and it will be harder to make increases, but continued VO2Max training will help more experienced runners maintain their VO2Max level for longer periods of time. This will help them become even more efficient runners and help keep fatigue at bay for longer. Genetics does play a role with VO2Max. So, if you can't seem to get past a certain level no matter what you try, you can blame mom and dad. Also, as you age, your VO2max will naturally begin to decrease a little each year.

So, how do you find your VO2Max? If you're a runner you can do the following run test. Do a 5- 10-minute warm-up walk or easy jog. Then run 1.5 miles at or near what you consider max exertion. On a 1-10 perceived exertion scale you should be running at about a 9. Record your time. Then plug your body weight in kilograms, your run time in minutes and your gender number (1=male, 0=female) into the equation below. The result will be your VO2Max. (Note: Before doing the test, or beginning any new exercise, first consult with your doctor.)

VO2Max Equation

88.02 -- .1656 (body weight in kg) -- 2.76 (1.5 mile time in minutes) + 3.716 (gender)

The charts below show the Average to Excellent VO2Max ranges for men and women.

MEN

 

18-25 yrs old

26-35 yrs old

36-45 yrs old

46-55 yrs old

56-65 yrs old

66+ yrs old

Excellent

>60

>56

>51

>45

>41

>37

Good

52-60

49-56

43-51

39-45

36-41

33-37

Above Avg

47-51

43-48

39-42

35-38

32-35

29-32

Average

42-46

40-42

35-38

32-35

30-31

26-28

WOMEN

 

18-25 yrs old

26-35 yrs old

36-45 yrs old

46-55 yrs old

56-65 yrs old

66+ yrs old

Excellent

>56

>52

>45

>40

>37

>32

Good

47-56

45-52

38-45

34-40

32-37

28-32

Above Avg

42-46

39-44

34-37

31-33

28-31

25-27

Average

38-41

35-38

31-33

27-30

25-27

22-24

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Certified running and fitness coach Thad McLaurin hosts and writes the popular RunnerDude's Blog and is the owner of RunnerDude's Fitness in Greensboro, North Carolina. He has a BA in Education from UNC-Chapel Hill, and his credentials include personal trainer certifications from NPTI and ACSM, as well as running coach certifications from RRCA and USA-Track & Field. Thad's greatest reward is helping others live healthy, active lifestyles. From general fitness to marathon training, Thad can help you reach your fitness and running goals.

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