I have started swimming as cross training and now realise that my lung capacity (VO2max?)is poor to non existent. At the age of 47 is there any chance of developing this/preventing further decline?


  • Hi John, what makes you feel that you have little lung capacity? I see from your profile that you've been running over 10years. If you've just started swimming, then you're probably having problems because the muscles needed for swimming are untrained, and as a result your aerobic system has to work overtime to cope. Such is the specificity of training i'm afraid! Just out of interest, how's the running? What's your race times like? I'm sure its nothing to do with the aerobic system at all and it stems simply from the fact that, as said, your muscles are untrained for swimming.

  • Also, as a swimmer with poor technique I've never worked out when to breath exactly without drowning myself, so I end up just not taking enough breaths. Not to mention the effect of the chlorine fumes...
  • Thanks Jonny and 'roos - I've just done London in 3.56 and recent times are 45 mins for 10k, 1.45 for half marathon - no great demands for lungpower here. I have just learned to swim crawl after years of only been able to swim breaststroke and at the moment can manage 4 lengths before slumping in oxygen debt at the side of the pool! I cant believe the aerobic demands of this exercise and am hoping my swimming and running improve as a result.
  • John, just worked out that u r relatively aerobically fit. The formula I'm using determines if their is a relationship between ur times over the various distances. As I said, u r working muscles that aren't trained so of course you'll have to work much harder, but as far as you're lungs go, ur dead on!
  • just out of interest, do u have a 5k pb between 19:30 and 20:30 or there abouts?
  • sorry, between 20:00 and 21:00?
  • Hoping to run my 1st 5k next week! My target is under 21 minutes. I have previosly steered clear of this distance in favour of longer-slower runs
  • m8, i want to test this formula properly. If ur times were exactly 45mins, 1h45 and 3h56 then you should finish in exactly 19m50s, however, could u tell me ur times to the nearest second so i can see if it works after next week?
  • I started racing again 6 months ago after years of doing very little so all times are recent PB's. 10k = 44.29,1/2M = 1.45.19, M = 3.56.37. All time PB's are 10k = 40.57, 1/2M = 1.30.31, M = 3.27.08. (All over 7 years ago although it is my quest to set new PB's before age 50) I would be more than happy with 19.50 next week - I'll let you know the result. Are you developing some new theory/formula?
  • nope, just testing the Mercier-Leger-Desjardins nomogram! ok, given those recent race performances, according to the nomogram, 'in theory' you should get 20:30........

    I await ur 5k time! but it would be interesting if u did get 20:30!
  • A decidedly lungless 22.22 - atrocious weather conditions in mitigation!
  • well that was the reason then, bad weather slowed u down! though just think, u'll run faster next time, i'm sure of it!
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