In the world of running, achieving optimal performance is a delicate balance between pushing your limits and avoiding overexertion. One crucial element in this equation is Maximal Aerobic Speed (MAS). This metric serves as a key indicator of your peak aerobic capacity and plays a pivotal role in tailoring running intensities to maximise training benefits. Let’s delve into what MAS is and how it can be effectively utilised in prescribing running intensities.
Maximal Aerobic Speed Defined:
Maximal Aerobic Speed is a measure of the highest running speed at which your aerobic system can meet the energy demands without relying on anaerobic processes. In simpler terms, it represents the sweet spot where you’re pushing yourself to the limit without crossing over into the oxygen debt territory.
Calculating Maximal Aerobic Speed:
MAS is often determined through incremental running tests, where the speed is gradually increased until exhaustion. Advanced fitness trackers and physiological testing equipment can also help in precisely measuring this speed. Once established, MAS becomes a valuable reference point for tailoring training intensities.
Common ways to calculate MAS with field sports include a 2km time trial or the 30:15 Intermittent Fitness Test. These are the frequently used test’s with field sports like soccer, AFL and Rugby League/Union.
First, the athlete needs to ensure that the run is at a perceived rate of 10/10 of maximal effort to ensure accuracy for testing and programming. To work our your MAS, convert your time to total seconds and divide it by the length of the run in metres. This will five you your MAS.
You run your 2km in 8mins. 8mins = 640s.
To calculate MAS divide distance (m) by time (s) ie. 2000m/640s = 3.125m/s
This is your Maximal Aerobic Speed (MAS), and can be used to prescribe your running training.
Prescribing Running Intensities Using MAS:
1. Zone Training:
MAS serves as the anchor for defining different training zones. These zones are typically categorised based on a percentage of MAS, ranging from easy recovery runs (60-70% MAS) to intense speed work (above 100% MAS). By organizing your training plan around these zones, you can ensure a balanced and progressive approach to building endurance and speed.
2. Interval Training:
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a popular training method that involves alternating between short bursts of intense effort and periods of rest or lower intensity. MAS is a crucial factor in determining the speed of these high-intensity intervals, ensuring that you are working at a level that challenges your aerobic capacity without causing excessive fatigue.
3. Progressive Overload:
Knowing your MAS allows you to progressively increase the intensity of your workouts in a controlled manner. This gradual escalation helps prevent injury and ensures that your body adapts to the increasing demands, leading to improved performance over time.
4. Recovery Runs:
Easy-paced runs are essential for recovery and building aerobic endurance. By prescribing these runs as a percentage of MAS, you can maintain an optimal balance between training stimulus and recovery, preventing burnout and overtraining.
Maximal Aerobic Speed is not just a number; it’s a powerful tool for optimising your running training. By understanding and incorporating MAS into your workout routine, you can fine-tune the intensity of your runs, pushing your limits while minimising the risk of injury or burnout. Remember, it’s not just about how fast you can run but how smartly you can train to unleash your true running potential. For more information, contact our Strength and Conditioning team, who can put together a personalised fitness program based on your MAS.