vVO2max (velocity at VO2max) refers to the running speed at which an individual reaches their maximum rate of oxygen consumption. It is often considered a significant measure of cardiovascular fitness and endurance.
vVO2max is measured in the laboratory during a graded exercise test, where the intensity of running gradually increases, and the individual’s oxygen consumption is measured at different stages. The point at which oxygen consumption plateaus despite further increases in exercise intensity is considered their VO2max. The corresponding running speed at this point is referred to as their vVO2max.
Commonly running at vVO2max can only be maintained for about six minutes, though considerable variation exists. The vVO2max of world class middle and long-distance runners may exceed 24 km/h (14.9 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.
Training at or near vVO2max is a common strategy to improve aerobic capacity and overall running performance. By incorporating workouts that involve running at or slightly above vVO2max, athletes can enhance their cardiovascular system, improve oxygen delivery to working muscles, and increase their lactate threshold. These training sessions typically involve short, intense intervals with brief recovery periods.