Thursday, February 17, 2005

Be Still My Pounding Heart...

Don't you just love it when your browser, or your server, or God knows what, or probably all of the aforementioned, crashes, dies, gives up the ghost and all of your Blog just kind of... disappears?

Normally I write my Blog first, copy it and then cut and paste it into Blogger, but me being me, sometimes I get lazy and just want to cut corners, or I think it's going to be short. As if I have ever been anything other than long-winded in my entire freaking life. And by the way, everyone tells me I am beating the word freak to death lately, and I don't have the heart to tell them that I'm trying to wean myself off of the f**k word. So freak is kind of like the methadone treatment for profanity. For someone who tries to make their living with words and is possessed of a not unreasonable vocabulary (even if I do say so myself), I have found myself a little too predisposed at times to drop F-Bombs into a conversation, usually with very little provocation.

Enough whining. I had two good work outs back to back this week. Tempo and Hills on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively. Anthony asked me at the last moment to speak with him at the marathon clinic on Tuesday night about heart rate monitors and I didn't get his e-mail until about ten minutes before I had to jump into my car. The gist of the talk was... 'Get a heart rate monitor!'

I can't train effectively without one, given my tendencies for overtraining, and I don't want to risk burning out. I tried to convince the clinic members that it is one of the best investments a runner can make, especially if you think of what it actually costs when spread out over four or five years. It definitely costs less than what I spend on runners per marathon, and for me a heart rate monitor is at least as every bit as important as fabulous footwear, maybe more so.

The marathon clinic as taught by the Running Room really emphasizes getting to the start line of the marathon fit and capable of finishing, and hopefully with a smile on your face. For all the eager Type A's who sign up, one of the hardest tasks for the pace group leaders is convincing them to SLOW DOWN during the long runs. Save it for the hills! I figure my job would be easier if I could just pin a heart rate monitor on everyone.

Here's a few links that will keep you going for a while and give you more information about heart rate monitors, MAX VO2, Lactic Acid and Lactate Thresholds and Heart Rate Target Training Zones than you ever wanted to know... unless of course you're just like Seymour, or Michael or Anthony or... Hell, unless you're like just about every other obsessed runner I know.

There are so many runners, mainly the ones that run a marathon for the first or second time, that make a mistake regarding the marathon's predicted time.

Research in the USA showed that 65% of the runners said that they would run the marathon faster than they really did, and worse, 15% of the first time marathoners and 8% of the second time marathoners made a mistake of more than one hour.

On the other hand, experienced runners can predict their marathon time to within a few minutes.








1. What are some different levels of VO2 max, and what do these numbers mean?

VO2 max values, typically expressed in ml/kg/min., can vary between 20 and 90 ml/kg/min. The average value for a sedentary American is about 35 ml/kg/min, while elite endurance athletes average about 70 ml/kg/min. Your sedentary VO2 max value is primarily determined by genetics (a sedentary person may have a VO2 max value as high as 50 ml/kg/min. or as low as 20 ml/kg/min). Although anyone can improve their sedentary VO2 max value through training, this genetic variation helps explain why everyone can't train themselves to be elite.

2. What are some of the highest levels of VO2 max ever recorded?

The highest VO2 max value ever recorded, 93 ml/kg/min, was from a Scandinavian cross country skier. Steve Prefontaine, at 84.4 ml/kg/min, had one of the highest VO2 max values recorded in elite runners. Grete Waitz had a VO2 max of 73 ml/kg/min. when she was running at her best, one of the highest recorded values for women and on par with the values for some elite men.

3. How do some elite runners make up for lower levels of VO2 max?

Although all elite runners have VO2 max values well above the population mean, the correlation between VO2 max and performance is not absolute. Derek Clayton only had a VO2 max of 69 ml/kg/min. and Frank Shorter only recorded a value of 71 ml/kg/min., yet both of these runners ran marathon times of under 2:11 and surely outperformed runners with higher values. This variation in VO2 max values among the elite is possible because VO2 max is only one of several factors that determine running performance. These other factors include mental attitude (ability to tolerate pain), running economy (how efficiently one runs), and lactate threshold (fastest pace you can maintain without accumulating large amounts of lactic acid in your blood). A runner with a relatively low VO2 max, but high in these other performance factors, could outperform a runner with a significantly higher VO2 max but with poor running economy and a low lactate threshold. For example, Derek Clayton and Frank Shorter compensated for their lower VO2 max values with their high efficiency and ability to run their marathons at a high percentage of their VO2 max without accumulating too much lactic acid (high lactate threshold).
MAX VO2 Calculators


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