Tuesday, July 14, 2009

How to Quickly Raise Your VO2 Max

Here is a belated follow up to my entry (see First Post) regarding a radical intensity training plan:

So after following this plan for one month, the biathlete I described raised his VO2 max by 10 points! (Not 10% but 10 points, as measured in a lab.) He described the plan for me for anyone interested:

-Find max heart rate (you may already know it)
-Want to be working at 90-95% of max HR during intervals. It's easiest to achieve this consistently on the treadmill where you can account for all the variables except yourself. I have chosen 15% grade and starting speed of 6mph because this brings it closer to skiing. You may choose a lesser grade, but will likely have to compensate by increasing the speed. Once you accomplish the same protocol twice in a row, increase the speed 0.1mph. Repeat.
-Interval structure is 5 by 5 minutes at chosen speed and grade, with 2 minutes recovery in between. Recovery should be active, with reduced speed and grade (a brisk walk or slow jog).
-Do this workout M-W-F
-Workouts on T-Th-Sa take the form of a 30 minute sustained threshold interval. Basically aiming for 85% of max HR.
[Sun was a rest day. Repeat this for four weeks.]

One amazing thing about the results here are that this is an already highly conditioned athlete. You could take a couch potato and put them through a training program and get stellar results, but it is much harder to make big gains in such a short periof of time in a fit person. He actually has two more cycles of these to go through heading into this ski season.

I plan on trying this using a treadmill this winter. Hard to incorporate it when right in the middle of training for a distance event, but I would love to get faster. I've been running some of the weekly Boulevard 5K's and then this past weekend did the Bradbury 6 mile trail race. Find that I am getting almost the exact same times as last year, which is a little frustrating. Plan on trying a mini "crash" week this week where you increase the intensity of training for 1-2 weeks (as described by Joe Frield in 'The Triathletes Training Bible.') Hopefully this will make me a little faster heading into Beach to Beacon.

OK enough about my middle of the pack struggles. I'll get back to injury prevention topics in subsequent posts.