VO2max. Lactate threshold. Running economy. Aerobic vs. Anaerobic. Fartleks.
If I’m walking a little taller these days, it’s because I took and passed (by the skin of my teeth) the REVO2LUTION RUNNING™ exam from Dr. Jason Karp at Run-Fit.com. A few quick things to note:
- Jason provided me with a free registration to the exam in exchange for me sharing my honest review.
- I almost said no because after attending one of his live seminars at IDEA World and scribbling “oh my goodness this is so over my head” on my notepad, I didn’t know if I was up for the challenge.
- While I am an experienced runner, I have never really followed a training plan, unless “run as far and as long as I can before my husband calls to say the baby is hungry” is a plan.
- If you decide to take the exam, use KATYWIDRICK for 15% off!
REVO?LUTION RUNNING™ is actually an acronym of the physiological factors that determine running fitness and performance: Running Economy, VO?max, & Lactate Threshold (R E VO2 L T).
And since every runner can benefit from understanding those terms, here’s a quick primer.
The maximum volume of oxygen your muscles consume per minute. It’s what determines how much aerobic power you have and it’s a calculation that includes your stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped out by your heart in one contraction), your heart rate/cardiac output and the difference in oxygen content between arterial blood and venous blood. Once you are at your VO2max, some of the energy you need to stay there comes from anaerobic glycolysis, and as soon as that happens, you’ll fatigue faster.
Raise your VO2max –> delay your reliance on that anaerobic metabolism process –> delay your fatigue.
It’s a very sexy running term. Without a high V02max, you can’t get a high level of fitness so everyone is trying to train toward this, and the certification process is heavily focused on this type of training.
Also known as the acidosis threshold, this is the transition between running that is almost purely aerobic and running includes anaerobic metabolism (remember that from above?).
At AT, lactate accumulates at the same time as acidosis develops (lactate and hydrogen ions accumulate in the muscles, which lowers the pH of those muscles and makes them more acidic). AT represents the fastest speed that can be sustained aerobically. The longer the race, the more AT plays a role, because you’ll be trying to hold a solid pace for a fairly long time.
If you’re running slower than your AT pace, you probably feel fine maintaining it. When you go above AT pace, you’ll feel tired and have trouble hanging onto that pace. So, the more than you can raise your AT, the better you’ll be at sustaining a faster pace.
Even when people are running at the same submaximal speed, they use different amounts of oxygen (that’s why runners who have the same VO2max won’t necessarily cross the finish line together at a race).
The faster the pace, the higher the oxygen consumption needed to maintain that pace — and the difference in oxygen use is known as running economy. VO2max is what happens at the upper limit of oxygen use and running economy explains what happens at levels below that upper limit.
And for good measure, because while they’re not in the acronym, I still think they’re important:
Aerobic vs Anaerobic
Simple, but important. Aerobic=with oxygen. Anaerobic=without oxygen. The aerobic system is more efficient, and because aerobic exercise progressively increases the body’s demand for oxygen, it can help muscles (including the heart!) become bigger and stronger.
The aerobic system also produces more ATP — adenosine triphosphate — than the anaerobic system.
My favorite running word ever. It actually comes from two Swedish words meaning speed and play. With fartleks, you are running continuously, unlike intervals or sprint drills, but you pick up and slow the pace at random times.
(Personally, I like to find little landmarks at every run and challenge myself to run faster from point A to point B, and I make it up as I go!)
OK, back to the exam.
REVO2LUTION RUNNING™ exam from Dr. Jason Karp
It’s TOUGH. Know that going in. Jason provides you with some great study guides, including seven manuals and four sample training plans. Once you register, you have four weeks to take the online, multiple-choice, 100 question exam…and you need to get 80%.
The good news is, you can take it more than once — I studied for 3.5 weeks and then took the test with about three days to go, just in case (and luckily, I did pass on the first try but not by a lot, so I’ll definitely be studying up before I do any coaching of my own).
Once you pass, you’ll get continuing education credits to most major fitness companies (2.0 ACE / 1.9 NASM / 15 AFAA / 8 PTA Global), you can apply to become a REVO2LUTION RUNNING master trainer, and you’ll be listed as a certified trainer.
And you’ll have a lot more knowledge to apply to your own running as well as a new ability to help clients.
A few other points:
- REVO2LUTION RUNNING™ certification is the only one of its kind in the industry. No other certification offers as much in-depth education about running.
- Certification is offered as home-study course or live workshop.
- The certification program is created by 2011 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year Dr. Jason Karp.
Have questions? Head here.