Running Economy for Performance
There are scientific indicators that running economy improves performance. If you are running just to run, this may not interest you. If you are running to perform better, and want to improve your speed in the 5k and 10K distances, read on. These measures of your running performance take into account your running economy. A runner with strong running economy will perform better if you were to match two runners with identical VO2 max. abilities.
vVO2 max stands for velocity at VO2 max or in other words – how fast you are running when you first reach your VO2 max. vVO2 max is much more reliable because it includes a critical phase of your running that pure VO2 max does not – your running economy. A higher running economy means you are a more efficient runner. You are able to run with less effort and cover more ground with each stride. If two runners with identical VO2 max levels were competing, the runner with the most efficient stride would have a faster vVO2 max and would win the competition.
“Running Economy: The Forgotten Factor in Elite Running Performance”
Estimate your vVO2 max:
- 6-minute time-trial- run 6 minutes at fast as you can, covering the most distance you can. To determine your vVO2 max use this formula( distance covered in meters / 360 sec. = meters per sec.). This is your vVO2 max.
- Example: 1500 meters/360 sec. = 4.16 m/sec. Your 400 meter pace would be 96 sec.
To improve your vVO2 max:
- Run at vVO2 max pace. This can be accomplished by running at your vVO2 pace(96 secs.) Repeat this 96 sec pace over 400 meters followed by a 2 minute easy pace. Repeat this 10 times.
- A shorter workout would be to run approximately 25 secs. (100m / sec.) on a football field (end zone to end zone) followed easy 25 sec. jog (width of field), repeating this 10-12 times, or until you are unable to maintain your 25 sec. pace over 100 meters.
To improve you tlimvVO2 max(lactate turn point speed):
- Run at a pace faster than your 5K pace(or 10K pace) for short repeats.
- Example: If you run 21 minutes for a 5K you would run 800 repeats at a pace slightly faster than 4 m/sec. This would be a speed of 3 min. 20 sec. for 800 meters. This can be continued for 2 to 4 repeats.
tlimvVO2 max (time limit at velocity at VO2 max) adds yet another piece to the VO2 max puzzle – the amount of time you can run at your vVO2 max pace. Again using our two athletes with identical VO2 max levels, let’s assume that both also have the same levels of running economy. Now the runner that is able to maintain that pace for the longest period of time will be victorious.
Use these strategies as a guideline. Application of scientific methods for performance training is what it takes to separate you from the rest of the pack. Improving running economy will make you a more efficient runner, and take your performance to the next level.