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PUSH YOURSELF
TO THE MAX

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LEARNING HOW TO TEST YOUR LIMITS
MAY MAKE YOU A STRONGER, FASTER RUNNER.

You may have heard the term VO2 max before. Some of you may even know what it means,
or how learning about it could make you a better runner. But for everyone else, we asked
Nike Performance Council member Aaron Coutts, PhD, a professor in sport and exercise
science at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, to break it down for us.

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WHAT EXACTLY IS VO2 MAX?
It is a measure of the highest volume of oxygen consumed by your body during exercise,
and it's used to assess your overall aerobic fitness. It's traditionally tested
in a sports science laboratory, while running at maximum effort on a treadmill.

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WHY IS VO2 MAX IMPORTANT TO ME AS AN ATHLETE?
A higher VO2 max means your body can deliver more oxygen to your muscles as you run, which potentially
gives you the ability to go faster at harder efforts. Because of this, it's common for an athlete with a
high VO2 max to also have a high lactate threshold, meaning that you can work at a higher intensity for
a longer period of time before your body begins to build up too much lactic acid and fatigue sets in.

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ANY ADVICE ON HOW TO IMPROVE THOSE NUMBERS OVER TIME?
Your best bet is to follow a training plan that incorporates a good mix of endurance, tempo and
speed workouts. Once you've got a solid training base, try performing high-intensity interval training
sessions regularly (with recovery days built in) as well—it's one of the most effective ways to increase
your VO2 max and lactate threshold. To see a boost, you'll need to run each interval at a hard
effort, with a recovery bout of equal time between each. Yep, time to push past your comfort zone.
Nobody said it would be easy, but you will be better for it.

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RUN SMARTER

Learn how to become a fitter,
faster and healthier runner.

Go deeper and run further
with Nike+ Run Club.

Get up to speed with popular (and
often misunderstood) running topics.

Get inspired with nutritional advice
and recipes for runners.

Easy ways to improve
as a runner.

Explore in-depth workouts designed
by athletes and elite NRC coaches.

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