What is VDOT?

I mention the term “VDOT’ a lot in my blog posts and (understandably), a lot of people don’t know what the heck I’m talking about.  I base most of my training these days off of what I’ve learned from a book called Daniels’ Running Formula by Jack Daniels (the running coach, not the whiskey distiller – though I’m a fan of both).

In short, VDOT is a way of determining one’s training intensity based upon a recent race performance.  The long version is that VDOT refers to the rate at which oxygen is consumed – the volume of oxygen consumed per minute.  You can read more about the science behind it in Conditioning for Distance Running: The Scientific Aspects by Daniels, Fitts and Sheehan.

To learn more about how to determine your VDOT and how to apply it to your training, I highly recommend Daniels’ Running Formula.  It contains a table to determine one’s VDOT based on times in various race distances.  From there, you can determine appropriate paces for various workouts.  The whole book is a useful read as it helps you understand why you do different types of workouts.  The book has definately taken my running to the next level.

6 Responses to What is VDOT?

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  4. Mark Lynch says:

    Can someone please tell me what VDOT actual stands for!!! I ve bought Jack Daniels book, trawled the internet & still with no success, is it a secret or does no-one actually know what it stands for????Many Thanks Mark.

  5. Brian says:

    VDOT is simply a measure of your current ability based on race performance. It is mathematical calculation that is a pseudo representation for your aerobic capacity, or the maximum amount of oxygen your body is capable of consuming per minute during exercise. Aerobic capacity is generally symbolized by a capital V with a dot over it (repesenting volume), followed by a capital O and a subscript 2 (the chemical representation of oxygen gas) and a subscript “max” indicating it is the maximum volume of oxygen processed. When reading this symbol, it is pronounced: “V-dot-O-2-max”. Daniels just shortened that to use the term “VDOT”.

  6. gene says:

    Its just like it sounds…V.O2. (volume of oxygen sub2)

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