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vV̇O2max (velocity at maximal oxygen uptake), also known as maximal aerobic speed (MAS), is an intense running or swimming pace. This is the minimum speed for which the organism's maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max) is reached, after a few minutes of constantly maintaining this exercise intensity. At higher paces, any additional increase in power is provided by anaerobic processes. In an incremental exercise test, it is the first speed at which any increase in exercise intensity fails to elicit an increase in oxygen consumption.

The vV̇O2max of world class middle- and long-distance runners may exceed 24 km/h or 2:30/km pace (15 mph or about 4:00/mile), making this speed slightly comparable to 3000 m race pace. For many athletes, vV̇O2max may be slightly slower than 1500 m or mile race pace.[citation needed]

Measuring vV̇O2max[edit]

While a sophisticated lab may be required to obtain precise measures of vV̇O2max, it can be estimated using a simple field test on a 400 m running track. In a 2015 study[1] of 28 male rugby players, the authors measured vV̇O2max and then had the subjects perform short time trials (TT) of various distances on the track. Using the average speed of a 2000 m TT gave the best estimate of vV̇O2max, with the limits of agreement estimated as ±5%.

For a better estimate, several time trials at distances varying from 1200–2200 m could be run, with adequate rest between them (e.g. 48 h in Bellenger et al.[1]). Then vV̇O2max may be estimated from the following linear equation

vV̇O2max = TTs × (0.117 × TTd + 0.766)

where TTs is the average time trial speed, and TTd is the time trial distance in km.

Training at vV̇O2max[edit]

Research by Véronique Billat has shown that training at vV̇O2max pace improves both V̇O2max and the economy required to maintain pace at this intensity.[2][3]

Training at vV̇O2max takes the form of interval workouts. For example, 3 × 1000 m with 3 minutes recovery between each repetition.

Determining vV̇O2max from VO2max[edit]

The formula from Léger and Mercier[4] links the V̇O2max to the vV̇O2max, supposing an ideal running technique.

vV̇O2max = V̇O2max / 3.5

where vV̇O2max is in km/h and V̇O2max is in mL/(kg•min).

Note: This formula is identical to that used to calculate the metabolic equivalent of task (MET) score for a given V̇O2max estimation.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Bellenger, Clint; Fuller, Maximillian J. Nelson, Micheal Hartland, Jonathan D. Buckley & Thomas A. Debenedictis, Joel; Nelson, Maximillian; Hartland, Micheal; Buckley, Jonathan; Debenedictis, Thomas (2015). "Predicting maximal aerobic speed through set distance time-trials". European Journal of Applied Physiology. 115 (12): 2593–2598. doi:10.1007/s00421-015-3233-6. PMID 26242778. S2CID 253889174.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Billat, Véronique L.; J. Pierre Koralsztein (August 1996). "Significance of the Velocity at VO2max and Time to Exhaustion at this Velocity" (PDF). Sports Med. 22 (2): 90–108. doi:10.2165/00007256-199622020-00004. PMID 8857705. S2CID 6890171. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 March 2012. Retrieved 27 March 2011.
  3. ^ 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): 2089–2097. doi:10.1097/00005768-200112000-00018. PMID 11740304. S2CID 38838193.
  4. ^ Léger, L.; Mercier, D. (1984). "Gross energy cost of horizontal treadmill and track running". Sports Med. 1 (4): 270–7. doi:10.2165/00007256-198401040-00003. PMID 6390604. S2CID 18731237.