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vVO2max (velocity at maximal oxygen uptake) is an intense running or swimming pace. 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.[citation needed]

The vVO2max of world class middle- and long-distance runners may exceed 24 km/h (15 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.[citation needed]


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 vVO2max 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).

Note: This formula is identical to that used to calculate the Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET) score for a given VO2max estimation.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 March 2012. 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): 2089–2097. doi:10.1097/00005768-200112000-00018. PMID 11740304.
  3. ^ 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.