Practical Application of Research on V02Max, Running Economy, and Peak Treadmill Running Velocity
Few athletes in the world have ready access to laboratories capable of measuring V02max, running economy, or peak treadmill running velocity. Thus, the information that we have covered in some detail in the previous pages may be very interesting but may at first glance seem to be of little practical value to the average runner. However, because the best predictor of running performance at any distance is running performance at other shorter distances, you can predict with reasonable accuracy your potential running performances at all distances even without ever entering an exercise laboratory.
Using an oxygen uptake of 30 ml/kg/min in this equation predicts that our athlete should be able to sustain a running speed of 9.5 km/hr for 17 hours. To know how far the athlete would run in 17 hours, we multiply calculated running speed in km/hr (9.5 km/hr) by running time to give a final distance of 161.8 km.
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However, most athletes do not wish to know how far they will run in a certain time. Rather, they wish to know how fast they can run various distances. Mathematician J. Affleck-Graves, a marathon runner and former professor of business administration at the University of Cape Town, provided a formidable Exercises (see Exercises 2.3), which gives all possible performances over virtually all possible distances that any runner would wish to race up to 24 hours. As running speeds will not be different for distances close to 90 km, reworking of the data will allow fairly accurate predictions of likely times for both the London-to-Brighton race (86.6 km) and the 100-km race. Distances below 5 km and beyond 24 hours cannot be accurately calculated, because the equation used by C.T.M. Davies and Thompson (1979) develops certain mathematical problems at very short and very long time periods (see Exercises 2.7).
Comparison of graphs of J. Daniels and J. Gilbert and of C.T.M. Davies and M.W. Thompson to predict racing times at different distances. Also shown is the graph of L. Leger et al. (1984) and D.L. Costill and E.L. Fox (1967).