Executives at Oxysocks claim their Lycra -and-CoolMax based pressure socks can improve a runner's max VO2 by increasing blood return from the legs to the heart. They note that patients with vascular disease in the legs have benefited from similar socks, and that compression tights were shown to improve leg strength in a Penn State University study.
Although precise measurements are done on a treadmill with equipment measuring oxygen uptake, you can estimate yours from a recent running race. The race distance should be between about one mile and a marathon (or about 1500 meters to 50 km). Distances outside this range will not give meaningful results, since performance is limited by factors other than VO2 MAX. You can also use this form to predict your performance at other distances. Once you find your VO2 MAX, try entering times for other distances that give the same value.
Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper conducted a study for the United States Air Force in the late 1960s. He develped the Cooper test in where someone runs for 12 minutes and the distance is measured. An approximate estimate for VO2 max (in ml/min/kg) is:
where d12 is distance (in metres) covered in 12 minutes.
Keep at the fore of your mind the goal of training, be it to get faster or to become fitter. Too often secondary means to the goal become the goal itself. For instance in an effort to become fit one may deem low weight important which then becomes the sole concern often at the expense of the true goal, health and fitness. For many athletes attaining a certain number of training hours is important to becoming faster, but when accumulating training hours becomes the goal, it is often at the expense of actually becoming faster. A good motto is: Train, Don't Strain. In other words, do only what it will take to reach your goal - not more, and not less.
Physiology of Exercise
The study of the responses of the human body to exercise is known as exercise physiology. There are several key principles in exercise physiology that are important to training for endurance performance. To identify factors important to endurance performance, exercise physiologists measure several variables including heart rate, respiration rate, oxygen consumption, and blood lactate. In the past, monitoring these variables was rather difficult and required expensive equipment. Currently, heart rate monitors are widely available and laboratory-based physiological testing has become more accessible. Combining the scientific measurement of physiological variables with properly planned training efforts often gives the athlete the ability to improve at faster rates.
Energy enables an athlete to do physical work. Energy is derived from converting carbohydrate and fat at the cellular level into adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Unfortunately only a small amount of ATP can be stored in the muscles and it must therefore be constantly replenished. ATP can be produced in two main ways: aerobically with oxygen; or anaerobically without oxygen.
Immediate Energy (ATP-CP) - High intensity efforts lasting 3-10 seconds will consume all available ATP and can be immediately replenished using creatine phosphate (CP).