If you're a runner, you've obviously already heard of "VMA". What is the purpose of this famous VMA? How to calculate your VMA? Here are all my answers!
What is VMA?
VMA is the abbreviation for Maximum Aerobic Speed. It is the speed at which your oxygen consumption is at its maximum.
Knowing your MAS can be very useful when starting a training program. It is also very useful for planning your split sessions at the right speed.
How to calculate its VMA? The Half-Cooper test
The simplest test to carry out to know your VMA is the Half-Cooper test.
After about 20 minutes of warm-up in fundamental endurance, the aim is to run for 6 minutes as fast as possible at a steady pace. An athletic track is perfect for this type of test.
You will find your VMA by multiplying the number of kilometers run in 6 minutes by 10.
For example: if you run 1.3 km in 6 minutes, your VMA is 1.3 x 10 = 13 km/h.
How to calculate its VMA? The VAMEVAL test on a treadmill
To obtain an accurate value of your VMA, you can do a VAMEVAL test on carpet. To do this, if possible, set your carpet to a slope of 1% or 1.5% (to compensate for the lack of air resistance).
The test starts at a speed of 8 km/h. Then, every minute, increase the speed of the treadmill by 0.5km/h until you can no longer keep up with the pace. The last full minute that you are able to run on the treadmill will tell you your MVA.
Ex: If I can't run a full minute at 13.5 km/h, my MVA is 13 km/h.
The VAMEVAL test can also be carried out on the track, by placing a peg every 20m. The aim is to reach the next cone before the whistle blows (and the speed increases more and more). These types of tests can be organized by athletic clubs or race organizers. Stay tuned for the possibilities! Otherwise, some applications or podcasts provide soundtracks that indicate with a beep when you should have reached the next plot.
How to use VMA during your workouts?
Your VMA will allow you to know how fast to run on specific sessions. For example, fundamental endurance is run between 60% and 65% of VMA, threshold workouts are run between 80% and 85% of VMA, etc.
In most training plans, training speeds are indicated as a percentage of MVA. Knowing your VMA means making sure you follow a serious training program adapted to your level! Indeed, running too fast is counterproductive and causes excessive muscle fatigue. Far too many runners fall into this trap!
The ideal is to calculate your VMA at least twice a year (because it can vary quite quickly) and especially to do a test a week before the start of preparation for an important race. Having an up-to-date VMA is a guarantee of optimal preparation!
And you, what is your VMA?