Running with the VDOT Method

I want to be a faster runner. Who doesn’t? My usual routine is to run with my heart monitor and do my easy runs, and long runs in Zone 2, my tempo runs in Zone 4, and my intervals in Zone heart attack. I know to avoid the ineffective Zone three when training. However, I don’t feel like I’m making progress as a runner. I want to train more effectively for my run training, and I’m not sure if I’m using the heart zone training correctly. I want to know exactly how fast I should be running when I do my easy runs, long runs, tempo runs, and intervals.  There has to be an easier way right?

I think I may have found something that will do the job. I came across this interesting article online at the Runner’s World Website. The article explains what the VDOT method is and how you can use it to become a stronger, faster runner. Read the article here.

Basically, I had to find my VDOT number by identifying my most recent race time. I used the VDOT Running Calculator (further below on this page). My VDOT number is 38.2. Once I discovered my VDOT number, I found out what my training paces should be.

What VDOT Level Am I?

Now here’s where it gets interesting. My VDOT number is a 38.2, and I have my training paces for my VDOT number, which is great. But what does 38 really mean in the big picture of the VDOT method? Well, there are 10 levels in the VDOT method (see below) and the first level for men is a VDOT number of 35. Wait, I’m only on level one? I’m clearly not the runner that I thought iI was. Womp womp… I have some running to do!

What I like about the levels is that I have a way to gauge how I’m improving as a runner, and that is a great motivator for me. There are several VDOT training plans for different race distances. I’ve included a six week 5K VDOT race plan further down the page, that I may try out during my triathlon off-season (November – March).

I look forward to trying out the VDOT system and becoming a faster runner!



Finding Your VDOT Number (Calculator)

Six Week VDOT 5K Training Plan

Click to enlarge.