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Running Training: Determining your current level of fitness.

Article By: Jack Daniels

This article is a continuation from Part 3: Goals of Training
Original Article: Part 1: Principles of Training

Part 4: Determining your current level of fitness.

By using standard values for running economy and by having a timed Performance over at least one running distance, a fitness ("VDOT") value can be assigned to you for training and race-prediction purposes. Table 1 provides this information. To use this VDOT Table, you merely look up a time associated with a distance you have recently run and read across to the column headed by "VDOT". VDOT is an adjusted V02max (which may or may not match a laboratory-generated V02max), which tells you how you might race for other distances (in the row, associated with the same VDOT), and also tells you how first to perform different types of training (Table 2 provides the training-intensity information).

When using a race performance to identify a VDOT, which will then be used to predict a performance for another, yet-to-be-run distance, make sure you use performances run under similar conditions (terrain, wind, temperature and altitude). Also,a longer race (15K to 25K, for example) will usually be a better marathon predictor than would be a 1-mile or 5K race.

When using a current VDOT to determine training intensities, you plug the identified VDOT into Table 2 and read across that row to identify paces for Easy / Long (E/L) runs, Marathon-pace (MP) training, Threshold (T) runs, Intervals (1) and Repetitions (R) training. Don't try to beat the assigned training intensities; to train faster, you first must justify a higher VDOT by performing better in a race situation.

Table 1

Table 2

Part 5: Setting up a season of training: Coming In Dec., 2000

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