Effective VO2max

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VO2max is a scientific metric for the maximal oxygen uptake that is highly correlated with one's maximal running performance. Still, two athletes with equal VO2max values do not need to perform equally as their efficiency may differ. Instead of the exact VO2max (which can be measured in a lab), the combination of VO2max and running efficiency is of intereset. The resulting Effective VO2max can be used as direct predictor for upcoming running events.

With this tool, you can view different race times for an Effective VO2max (or vice versa), as well as the corresponding training paces.

The difference between the VO2max and the Effective VO2max

VO2max as a scientific parameter is determined in the laboratory during performance diagnostics on the ergometer or treadmill. This test provides an exact, reliable value and is considered an important characteristic of an athlete's performance. However, this value cannot be used to draw exact conclusions about the possible time in a 10 km run, since running efficiency also plays a decisive role. Two athletes with the same VO2max therefore do not necessarily run the 10 km at the same speed.

The "Effective VO2max", on the other hand, is closely related to the scientific VO2max, but is defined quasi the other way around: It is defined from the 10 km time (or by conversion from the race time over any distance) and can be read in tables. It thus corresponds to a combination of the scientific VO2max and the running efficiency. A 10 km time of 40 minutes corresponds to an Effective VO2max of 52 (and likewise 5 km in 19:17, half marathon in 1:28:28, marathon in 3:04:27). Two athletes with the same Effective VO2max will therefore have the same 10 km time.

Runalyze estimates for you the "Effective VO2max" also from non-maximal training performances based on the ratio of heart rate and speed. Of course, this estimation is not always accurate, because heart rate depends on many other parameters. Breaks, uphill/downhill, difficult ground conditions, running ABC, ... there are numerous possibilities why the estimate of a single workout could be off (and in this case you should disable the workout for calculating your form).

Nevertheless, determining Effective VO2max from training performances is very important and helpful, because as an athlete it is impossible to go to the lab every week to determine actual VO2max. Moreover, an improvement in running efficiency, which thus allows one to run faster, is also reflected in the Effective VO2max, while the VO2max from the lab would remain unaffected.

Both values are therefore quite important performance characteristics. In running, when we are primarily concerned with representing performance as a prediction over, for example, a 10 km or marathon, we should always consider the Effective VO2max.

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