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Middle Age Running, VO2Max and the Jogging Trap

Updated: Mar 31

running vo2max longevity middle age

Now please don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with jogging: slow easy running! It has proven health benefits and can be really enjoyable. But do you get the feeling, that run after run, you're just not getting anywhere with your fitness? Exercise feels good, once the initial aches and pains have passed. But perhaps you just don't have the feeling of fitness and energy that you were looking for or expecting?

Recent research has shown that about 40% of exercisers fail to respond fully to the running effort that they make, so called "stubborn responders"

40%?! That is a significant number! Our fitness, our health, does not improve as much as expected when we are putting in the time and effort. Why? We are not really too sure but there is a solution.

As always, we advise that if you are considering changing your diet, exercise or lifestyle practices, please discuss plans with your primary medical practitioner before making any changes and always workout within your limits. Consider using a personal trainer to get techniques right.


Many people, when they first start running, run too hard too soon. It is painful, it leads to injury, burnout and likely no more running. If you are lucky, you will have avoided this trap and managed to find a running pace and regimen that delivers consistency and that fits into your life. But then running might get stale.

Irrespective of if you fall into the 40% "stubborn responders" or not, there is a solution to get more health from your running. The answer is to increase your intensity.

If you have got a foundation of running built up, say you can run for 40 or 50 minutes, now is the time to get some faster work into your running regimen, if you have not already done so. Tempo or threshold running, a faster run for about 20 or 30 minutes at a time is a great place to start. But if you want to make the most gains, to improve your VO2max and with it your longevity and healthspan, then you need to consider running HIIT intervals. High Intensity Interval Training. And this will lift up your fitness, whether you are one of the 40% of stubborn responders or one of the 60%.

If you want to try a proven HIIT protocol, tried and tested Norwegian Intervals, click here to learn more.

HIIT training running

As you improve your capacity for exercise, remember to focus on good eating and hydration practices, rest and recovery. As one ages, these pillars of health become an increasingly important part of being successful in running, exercise, in health and in life!


Variety in one's running: different paces, different distances, different routes all make the activity more enjoyable, even it it means being out of one's comfort zone. Running hard is, well, HARD. There is discomfort in maintaining a hard pace. But that is where the magic and the health is found.

Stay Healthy,



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Related Studies

The paper on 'stubborn responders'... Bell LR, Gabbett TJ, Davis GM, Wallen MP, O'Brien BJ. Stubborn Exercise Responders-Where to Next? Sports (Basel). 2022 Jun 10;10(6):95. doi: 10.3390/sports10060095. PMID: 35736835; PMCID: PMC9229615.


Montero D, Lundby C. Refuting the myth of non-response to exercise training: 'non-responders' do respond to higher dose of training. J Physiol. 2017 Jun 1;595(11):3377-3387. doi: 10.1113/JP273480. Epub 2017 May 14. Erratum in: J Physiol. 2018 Apr 1;596(7):1311. PMID: 28133739; PMCID: PMC5451738.

Mann TN, Lamberts RP, Lambert MI. High responders and low responders: factors associated with individual variation in response to standardized training. Sports Med. 2014 Aug;44(8):1113-24. doi: 10.1007/s40279-014-0197-3. PMID: 24807838.



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