HOW FAST CAN YOU RUN?

 

Your maximum speed for a given duration can be determined using your maximum aerobic speed (your VO₂max pace) and your maximum anaerobic speed (the fastest speed you can run for 8 steps, or about 3 seconds).

Max Race Speed = Max Aerobic Speed + (Max Anaerobic Speed – Max Aerobic Speed)

Your Max Anaerobic Speed minus your Max Aerobic Speed is your Speed Reserve, so we can write the equation:

Max Race Speed = Max Aerobic Speed + Speed Reserve

What happens if both increase?

  • If both your Max Anaerobic Speed and your Max Aerobic Speed increase, you get faster. Duh.

What happens if one increases and the other says the same?

  • If your Max Anaerobic Speed increases but your Max Aerobic Speed stays the same, you get faster. Duh, but not obviously duh, since most runners don’t spend time improving their sprinting speed, instead working on aerobic endurance.
  • If your Max Aerobic Speed increases but your Max Anaerobic Speed stays the same, your Max Race Speed doesn’t change. Ah, we are starting to learn something now.

What happens if one decreases and the other stays the same?

  • If your Max Anaerobic Speed decreases but your Max Aerobic Speed stays the same, you get slower. Interesting.
  • If your Max Aerobic Speed decreases but your Max Anaerobic Speed stays the same, your Max Race Speed doesn’t change. Even more interesting.

What happens if one increases and the other decreases?

  • If your Max Anaerobic Speed increases but your Max Aerobic Speed decreases, you get faster. Very interesting.
  • If your Max Aerobic Speed increases but your Max Anaerobic Speed decreases, you get slower. Perhaps the most interesting of all.

What does all this mean, Dr. Jason?  

You need a big speed reserve, which comes from your maximum sprinting speed. Your Max Anaerobic (sprinting) Speed has a greater effect on your running performance than your Max Aerobic Speed. Max Anaerobic Speed is extremely important. Train your Maximum Anaerobic Speed.

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