Make the most of your cardio sessions with this guide to calculate your VO2 max pace. Knowing how hard you can push yourself has benefits way beyond the finish line. By working at different percentages of your maximum effort, you can tailor cardio sessions specifically to your goals. The best measure of how hard you can train is your VO2 max, and the pace at which you reach it. This is the maximum amount of oxygen you use during intense exercise- the ideal benchmark for your aerobic endurance and cardiovascular fitness. Find your magic number and cross- reference your personal goals with the set percentages, to ensure you’re getting the most of your cardio training.
WORKOUT YOUR VO2 MAX PACE
Use the Bruce Protocol method to find your VO2 Max pace on a treadmill. This will determine your max that you’ll need for these workouts. To calculate your VO2 Max:
2.94*RUN TIME, IN MINS+7.65
Step 1: Warm up for 5-10 mins, then stop, Step 2: Restart the treadmill at 2.5kmph to an incline of 10 percent. Start running, Step 3: Every 3 minute increase the speed by 1.5kmph and the incline by 2 per cent, Step 4: When you can run to more, stop and record your speed(VO2 Max Pace) and time.
BEST FOR IMPROVING YOUR VO2 MAX;
90% OF VO2 MAX PACE: Your VO2 is a bench mark for overall fitness, so it pays to spend a little time improving it. Less than an hour of flexible intervals,two or three times a week will improve your aerobic fitness by eight per cent.
Use it: You can quickly improve your magic number by running at 90 per cent for 30-45 minutes,taking walking breaks, as and when needed.
BEST FOR BURNING FAT;
80% OF VO2 MAX PACE: Don’t worry you don’t need to go too fast for very long- one minute will do the trick. The intensity of work raises your metabolism for a lot longer after you stop.
Use it: 21- minute long intervals, each followed by 30 seconds of rest, will burn 35 per cent more calories per minute than exercise at a steady rate.
BEST OF RACING;
70% OF VO2 MAX: For many novice runners, being surrounded by other pavement- pounders can send them out of the starting blocks too fast. Training yourself not to do this is as important as getting the distance in your legs.
Use it: If you’re aiming for a 5K OR 10K race, stick to this speed while following your training plan- it will stop you from burning out before the finish line.
BEST OF RECOVERY;
50% OF VO2 MAX PACE: For the day after a race(or if you fancy doing something on your designated rest day) run at this pace. Training like this is ideal for easily aching muscles as it increases blood flow without putting too much strain on your muscles, which would cause further damage.Use it: Run at 50 per cent of your VO2 max pace for 30-40 minutes. If you feel any twinges or unusual aches and pains, stop- this is a recovery session after all.
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