Increase your MAS to improve and run faster


For faster running, enhanced performance and progress without muscular or heart strain, you need to improve your endurance. But how do you approach this? Simply by increasing your MAS, or running speed. With the goal of increasing or targeting a certain performance level, running at the same pace is not enough. You need to vary your running intensity and volume with a specific weekly training programme.

Why work on your MAS ?

To improve running speed and build up a greater endurance capacity, runners need to work on their maximum aerobic speed. This will help the cardiopulmonary system to take in enough oxygen, and lower and regulate heart rate during training.

What is the maximum aerobic speed ? 

The maximum aerobic speed (MAS) or maximum aerobic power (MAP) is always expressed in km/hour and is the speed of movement in relation to the maximum consumption of available oxygen (VO2*). 

Of course, every runner can run faster than his/her MAS, but this energy won't come from the muscle's aerobic system (body using oxygen) but the anaerobic system (body using no oxygen). Extreme exertion on these two systems frees lactic acid into the muscle which results in a decrease in the runner's endurance time and will lead to mild to severe physical pain (cramps, heavy legs, dizziness, etc.).
The runner's MAS is calculated based on the maximum volume of oxygen he/she can use, but also takes other factors into account, such as the energy required or the intensity of the effort (efficiency of movement and stride), and the motivation of the runner, which is essential to improve training and increase endurance.

How do you calculate your MAS ?

To do this, the exact value of your maximum aerobic speed must be assessed. For any regular runner seeking to improve performance, the MAS value gives a specific indication of their breathing capacity and the calculation of their maximum aerobic speed. 

There are several methods for calculating your MAS: 
  • continuous test: The half-Cooper test
  • gradual test: The Léger-Boucher and Vameval Tests 

Please note: A MAS test is based on the idea that a runner can keep up 100% of his/her MAS for about 6 minutes. To calculate the base speed, running coaches or the runner him/herself calculate the distances covered during this period of time.

MAS "testing" sessions (30 seconds of fast running and 30 seconds of slow running)


Example : A regular runner starts off with 2 sequences of 10 30-second runs followed by 30 seconds of recovery at a slow jogging pace. Three minutes of recovery are to be taken between the two sequences. 
As well as field tests, you can calculate your MAS with laboratory stress tests or during a check-up with your cardiologist. During a maximum heart rate stress test, the MAS is measured in millilitres per kg of body weight and per minute of exertion.
Advice : To calculate your MAS during your running season, always use the same test to get a clear idea of your progress during training.
Formula for calculating the maximum aerobic speed: MAS = VO2Max/ 3. 5
Note: The higher the MAS, the greater the capacity the runner will have to run fast before reaching his/her VO2 max. The MAS will then be used as a basis for calculating running speeds for training. These speeds will be expressed as %.

How do you improve your MAS ?


You are a regular runner of intermediate level, you know your MAS perfectly and you wish to increase it so you can run faster and for longer. To do this, it is important to choose specific training intervals that match your goals (short, medium or long). 
A runner can only keep up his/her MAS continuously for a period of three to eight minutes. It is therefore beneficial to work on your rhythm by breaking up your runs. The combination of specific MAS enhancement training sessions (exertion time) and recovery sessions help a runner achieve a MAS of almost 8 minutes.
Example: For a 10 km run, a runner with a maximum aerobic speed of 17 km/h and keeping a speed of 88% of that MAS will complete this run in 40 minutes 6 seconds. If he/she exceeds his/her MAS by 0.5 km, and runs at 17.5 km/h, remaining at 88% of his/her MAS on the same run, he/she will complete the run in 38m 57s. The time gained is valuable, but requires a lot of work to increase the maximum aerobic speed.
To achieve your goals within a few training sessions, follow Coach Kalenji's training plan: 
> Discover Coach Kalenji/Jiwok's training plan
This programme is destined for runners that already have a good aerobic level and are between two goals. The Kalenji training plan is made up of two or three sessions per week of varying intensity and physical effort, for a period of 4 weeks. It will significantly improve your endurance capacities and neuromuscular reactivity. 

When should you work on your MAS ?


In order to progress, a regular runner should work on his/her maximum aerobic speed all year round. This should be adapted according to the runner's goal and the frequency of his/her runs.
During normal training, the runner should aim for
  • four weekly training sessions / two MAS improvement sessions/week, 
  • three weekly training sessions / two MAS improvement sessions/week

During training periods and specific preparation, the runner should aim for:

  • over four weekly training sessions / one MAS improvement session/week, 
  • three weekly training sessions/ two MAS improvement sessions every two weeks

What equipment is used to calculate your MAS ?

For any runner, heart rate is a key constant to measure when working on MAS improvement. It is different for every athlete, and determines the heart's activity and gives a precise indication of heart and breathing capacity during training. When calculating the maximum aerobic speed and for any addition to your specific, personalised training programme, different measuring equipment is advised::

Kalenji cardio family: heart rate monitors, GPS, watches and stopwatches
> See our heart rate monitors for running
> See our GPS and accelerometers for running
> See our watches and stopwatches for running


Depending on the equipment used, the runner can check his/her speed and heart rate, and enter the figures for running variations, by using the different calculation methods. Every constant will be stored in the memory and/or can be uploaded on the Internet. This is good for efficiently increasing your MAS, managing your progress and staying motivated! 
For complete understanding: with the aim of progressing in running or targeting a certain performance level, every regular runner must determine their precise maximum aerobic speed (MAS) or base speed. Calculating aerobic capacity helps runners target training programmes that improve the different levels of exercise intensity and running volumes. With the aim of improving endurance in 12 sessions, the Kalenji training programme brings highly positive results to the regular runner.

With Coach Kalenji's programme, you will run faster every day!!


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