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vVO2max (velocity at maximal oxygen uptake) is an intense running pace which can be maintained for only about six minutes. This is the minimum speed for which the organism's maximal oxygen uptake is reached (after a few minutes of exercise at this intensity); at higher paces, additional power is entirely delivered by anaerobic processes. At this pace, blood lactate in the muscles reaches levels around 8-10 mM.

The vVO2max of world class middle and long-distance runners may exceed 24 km/h (14.9 mph or about 4:00/mile pace), making this speed slightly comparable to 3000 m race pace. For many athletes, vVO2max may be slightly slower than 1500 m or mile race pace.


Research by Véronique Billat has shown that training at vVO2max pace improves both VO2max and the economy required to maintain pace at this intensity.[1][2]

Training at vVO2max takes the form of interval workouts. For example, 3 x 1000 m with 3 minutes recovery between each repetition.

Determining vV02max from VO2max[edit]

The formula from Léger and Mercier[3] links the VO2max to the vVO2max, supposing an ideal running technique.

vVO2max = VO2max / 3.5

where vVO2max is in km/h and VO2max is in mL/(kg•min).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Billat, Véronique L.; J. Pierre Koralsztein (Aug 1996). "Significance of the Velocity at VO2max and Time to Exhaustion at this Velocity". Sports Med. 2: 90–108. Retrieved 27 March 2011. 
  2. ^ Billat, Véronique L.; DeMarle, Alexandre; Slawinski, Jean; Paive, Mario; Koralsztein, Jean-Pierre (December 2001). "Physical and training characteristics of top-class marathon runners". Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 33 (12). Retrieved 27 March 2011. 
  3. ^ Léger, L.; Mercier, D. "Gross energy cost of horizontal treadmill and track running.". Sports Med 1 (4): 270–7. doi:10.2165/00007256-198401040-00003. PMID 6390604.