MAS or Maximum Aerobic Speed is a frequently used parameter in running. Philippe Propage, international coach, deciphers this concept for you and explains how to use it during your training sessions in order to get the maximum benefit.


Physiologically speaking, MAS is the speed at which your oxygen consumption is at its maximum during an effort. In practical terms, it corresponds to a very intense running speed that we can hold from 3 to 6-7 minutes depending on each person’s fitness level.

There are several methods to determine your MAS:

- In the laboratory, during an effort test (e.g.; when establishing your medical certificate to participate in races). It is important to do this test regularly once past 50 years of age in order to eliminate any risk of compromising your health. A race could counter the benefits one can get from running.

- With a sports club, if you are a member. Many clubs organise health days during which the general public are offered various tests to determine this MAS.

- Individually, with a test that is rather easy to do (half-Cooper test): The goal is to cover the greatest distance in 6 minutes. This already requires certain knowledge of one’s capacities in order for the result obtained to be reliable. Indeed, at the beginning of the test one has to be able to estimate the maximum speed that one will be able to maintain during 6 minutes. To interpret the result obtained by this test you should measure the distance covered in 6 minutes (ideally you should do it on a running track) and divide it by 100.

Ideally, this test should be done twice a year. Irrespective of the type of test you do, in order to establish comparisons, you have to reassess yourself with the same method because there could be small variations between the different tests. You can use this test to know your HRmax because it will be achieved after 6 minutes. The heart rate is also a control tool during the different running speeds (see the HR advice).

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