Now , when we are already "hacking" on tradition, here a fun article to read and think about on VO2 max ideas.
The Great VO2 max Myth
The Great VO2 max Myth
The Great VO2 max Myth by Doctor Andrew Bosch
I often receive telephone calls from runners wanting to know if it would be possible to measure their VO2 max. My standard answer is something along the lines that it is, indeed, possible.
However, I then go on to ask why they want to have their VO2 max measured? There is usually one of two replies. Firstly, I am told, by knowing his or her VO2 max the runner will know that esoteric time that he or she is ultimately capable of running for some particular race distance, and therefore their ultimate potential as a runner. Secondly, once their VO2 max is known it will be possible to prescribe the ultimate personalized training schedule. My response to both is that knowing the VO2 max of a runner does not answer either question. It is widely believed that the VO2 max is genetically determined and unchanging and that an individual is born with either a high or low “max”. Someone with a high value has muscles that are capable of utilizing large amounts of oxygen and a cardiovascular system capable of delivering this volume of oxygen. The athlete is able to run at a maximum aerobic speed that this oxygen supply can sustain.
In this paradigm it does not appear to matter whether the runner is unfit or superbly fit, the outcome of a VO2 max test remains the same.
However, it is intuitively obvious that when fit the athlete can run much faster on the treadmill than when unfit. Thus, since VO2 max is genetically determined and does not change (in this model), VO2 max would be reached at a relatively slow running speed when a runner is unfit compared to when very fit, when a much higher speed can be reached on the treadmill.
This means that in a totally unfit world-class runner we would measure a high VO2 max (say 75 ml/kg/min or higher) at a speed of maybe 17 km/hr on the treadmill. When very fit the same athlete will reach the same VO2 max at a speed of about 24 km/hr. The problem is that such a high VO2 max is never measured at a speed of just 17 km/hr. This would be almost impossibly inefficient. The theory of a genetically set and unchanging VO2 max therefore begins to appear a little shaky.
This concept of VO2 max evolved from misinterpretation of the data of early experimental work. It was believed that as an athlete ran faster and faster during a treadmill test, the muscles needed an increasing volume of oxygen, a process, which continued until the supply of oxygen, became limiting or the ability of the muscle to utilize oxygen was exceeded.
At this point there would be no further increase in oxygen uptake. This plateau in oxygen utilization was regarded as the VO2 max of the runner. If high, then the athlete had great genetic potential. However, in addition to the problem described in the previous paragraph, half of all runners tested in exercise laboratories never have a plateau in their oxygen uptake.
Instead, the oxygen uptake is still increasing when the athlete cannot continue the test. The conventional view of VO2 max now appears to be even more suspect.
Consider a different scenario. A runner on a treadmill requires a certain amount of oxygen to run at a given speed. When the speed is increased, there is a corresponding increase in the volume of oxygen needed to run at the higher speed. The runner runs faster and faster, with corresponding increases in the oxygen required, until something other than oxygen supply to the muscle prevents any further increase in running speed. "