Most runners have heard of renowned running coach and exercise scientist Jack Daniels. However, you may not be as familiar with VDOT O2, or VDOT which Daniels developed as a measure of a runner’s current fitness. He wanted to provide runners with a way to determine their appropriate training paces without having their VO2 max measured in a lab. He found that runners of equal race times often did not have equal (or near-equal) VO2 max results. Now there is a simple, user friendly app and training platform available for free for runners to use to help track your training and find your appropriate training paces.
What is VDOT O2 and How It Can Improve Your Training
What is VDOT O2?
VDOT is an adjusted VO2 max which gives you a value that can be used to determine your training paces. It takes into account not only your VO2 max but also how efficiently you are able to use the oxygen you consume to determine how fast you could race. This is calculated by taking the calculated VO2 cost of any average race speed and dividing it by the fraction of VO2 max used. (The reason it’s called VDOT is because it is based on the minute duration of a race, and the V typically has a dot over it indicating a 1 minute value). Daniels created a VDOT table that includes various race times and correlating training paces. However, now there is an online version making it much easier for runners to plug in their race results and get their training paces.
Using VDOT to find equivalent race times
One way you can use a VDOT score is to figure out an appropriate goal for an upcoming race. While these are not necessarily predictions, they are “physiological equivalent performances” Let’s say you are getting ready to train for a half-marathon. You could run a 10k (or a 5k) to find your VDOT and determine a goal time for your race as well as your training paces. Of course this is not 100% accurate. Some runners are stronger at short races and others are slow-twitch runners that will do better with long distances. It’s simply a guideline to give you an idea of where your fitness is.
How to use the VDOT O2 training paces
Once you have a VDOT O2 score you will have access to training paces for different kinds of runs (easy, threshold, intervals, etc.) As you build your training plan this will make it easier to ensure you are training at the proper paces for your goal distance. Keep in mind that factors such as heat, terrain, and overall mileage could factor into how your paces feel, and it’s best to listen to your body and make adjustments as needed.
Using the training platform
VDOT has a great training platform for scheduling and tracking workouts. It’s free for runners and can also be used by coaches to schedule and track workouts for athletes. (There is a fee to use it as a coach). It syncs with Garmin and Strava so you can upload workouts to your watch and they automatically sync back to VDOT after your workout. I’ve been using it with my athletes for a few months now and I really like it! If you would like a free 1 week trial of coaching using the VDOT platform, let me know!
How to start using VDOT
There are two apps you could download: The first is the VDOT O2 app which is where you can track your training. The other is the VDOT O2 calculator where you can predict race times and find your training paces. Both are free and easy to use.
The VDOT Coach Marketplace
You could also use the VDOT Marketplace to find a running coach! You can search for different coaches based on your needs and then read more about them in a bio. Many offer a free trial or consultation. Then you will receive your training plan on the VDOT platform. Some coaches just offer private coaching, others will create a customized training plan. If you are a coach, you can also use the platform to coach your current athletes without being on the VDOT marketplace. I accept athletes both through my website and through VDOT.
Hopefully this gave you a quick overview of how VDOT can be helpful for both runners and coaches!
Have you ever used VDOT to plan your training?
How do you determine your goal race times and training paces?
If you have worked with a coach, what platform have you used for training?
Now it’s time for the Runners’ Roundup! Link up your running and fitness posts below! Join myself, Coach Debbie Runs, Confessions of a Mother Runner, Runs with Pugs , and Laura Norris Running to post your favorite running tips, experiences, race and training recaps, workouts, gear, and coaching ideas.