First off, a quick recap on what V02 max actually is
Hack 1 - Lose Some Weight
Hack 2 - Speed Training
Speed Session 1 – The 3k Blitz
Speed Session 2 – The 5k Split
Hack 3 - Hill training
This is another form of training that a lot of runners tend to skip… until they learn that at it’s an excellent way to improve your V02 Max.
- Find a long and moderately steep hill (you should be able to run at a good speed up the hill)
- Run up the hill at a solid speed for 2 minutes
- Walk back down to where you started
- Repeat this process 4 times
Hack 4 - Super Consistent Training
- If you run 30 miles or less per week, it should be safe to increase your mileage by about 10%.
- If you run 50 miles or more per week, it should be safe to increase your mileage by about 5%.
Hack 5 - Use A Curved Treadmill
Curved treadmills are quickly becoming a staple requirement for successful gyms and crossfit boxes across America for good reason. Curved treadmills have been shown to burn as much as 30% more calories as a standard treadmill. They allow you to do sprint training, interval training and distance training indoors, while promoting good running form. Perhaps more importantly, studies have shown that running on a curved treadmill can help you achieve:
- Significantly higher relative oxygen uptake across all velocities (32.5% increase)
- Significantly higher heart rates during training (16.8% increase)
- Faster running cadence (2.6% increase)
- Higher rate of perceived exertion (27.2%)
- Less efficient running economy (38.4% variance)
All the findings above suggest that training on a curved treadmill is an excellent way to increase your V02 max, without putting excess pressure on your muscles and joints (curved treadmills are much gentler on the body).
Here is a super simple curved treadmill workout that can help you improve your V02 max.
3 x 3 minute endurance sprinting sessions (the fastest speed you can sustain for 3 minutes), with 2 minutes of rest between sets.
Controversial V02 Max Methods
The following methods have been included, even though they are a bit controversial and further research is needed before any concrete conclusions can be made.
Weighted vests have been gaining in popularity over the years, mainly because they can turn one of your normal workouts into a super challenging beastly workout.
A study by the European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology, researchers found that endurance athletes who trained wearing weighted vests had a lower 2 mol lactate threshold, superior running time to exhaustion, greater vertical velocity and improved VO2 max for sub maximal running, post load sessions.
In other words, there is a method to the the madness. However, there are a few things worth mentioning.
- You must be in very good shape before you even consider using a weighted vest
- They are great for enhancing incline walks, hiking and strength training
- The can increase the load on your joints and impede your natural running form
- They aren’t actually that useful for runners
Training at altitude is one of the best ways to increase your V02 max… but it’s totally impractical for most runners. It isn’t feasible to relocate for weeks at a time in order to reap the benefits of altitude training. The elevation training mask has attempted to solve this problem, but with limited success.
So even though the benefits of altitude training are pretty clear, it’s basically impossible for most people to take advantage of these benefits. This is why I haven’t actually included it as a tip.
If you’ve made it to this point, it means you’re pretty serious about improving your V02 max. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to do this and you don’t need to buy any extra gear or equipment to make it happen.
When all is said and done, the thing that matters most is your willingness to engage in the types of training that most runners avoid at all costs. Hardcore speed training and hairy hill training. If you have the guts necessary to make these sessions an integral component of your training, your V02 max will skyrocket!