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A number more valuable than VO2 Max for marathoners?

Yesterday, I talked about how you can establish an estimate for your VO2 Max by completing a 10 minute run.

(You can find that here, in case you missed it: https://blog.stryd.com/2019/12/17/can-stryd-determine-your-vo2-max-with-10-minutes-of-running-data/)

Well, I have a bonus run you can add on to that test.

If you complete a max-effort 3 minute run before you do the 10 minute run, you can establish a value that may be even more valuable than your VO2 Max.

While VO2 Max has long been hailed as one of the most important numbers in running, its usage in daily run training is fairly limited.

For most half marathon and marathon distance runners, they rarely need to approach their VO2 Max.

It is one of the last limits that they need to worry about.

However, there is a number that marathoners will need to approach far more often.

That number is Critical Power.

Critical Power (CP) is the highest power that a runner can maintain in a quasi-steady state without fatiguing.

CP becomes a performance indicator and limiter in half marathon and marathon performance way before VO2 Max ever does because you will reach a point of fatigue way before you reach max oxygen usage in endurance running.

The test is simple. You only need to add in a max-effort 3 minute run, rest 30 minutes, and the do your max-effort 10 minute run (a 9 minute run is acceptable as well) and the results from this test will be predictive of your Critical Power.

You can read more about how to test Critical Power and how to use Critical Power in Chapter 2 of our run power training guide: https://www.stryd.com/guide

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Angus Nelson

Angus Nelson

Angus is a cofounder of Stryd. He has trained for and raced every distance from 50 meters to Half Ironman & is pushing the run power revolution forward!

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