>Running 101>What comes first??
I even put it on sometimes.
Marathon Maniac # 3228
II have one. I even put it on sometimes. So, yes, there are times where it can be useful. But I see a lot of talk about how great an HRM is, and little discussion of alternatives. That's what I'm offering up. Some people, it's a money thing (can't afford it), others just don't like them. I've never said they aren't useful. They most certainly can be. But I think that they need to be coupled with other tools as well.
Regarding the formula method: http://www.d3multisport.com/articles/heartrate.htm I have a friend, his normal HR is higher, but he's older than me (he's about 35). His MAF should be around 145, and I know from running with him that it's actually higher than that (he ran a marathon, and average low 170s to high 160s). So in this case, the formula would have him training at too low a HR, and he won't see the same gains.
Elite runners aren't running for health. They run to win. It's how they make a living.
If you want to run for health, then you have no need to ever once worry about intervals, tempos, or anything beyond consistency. That is a completely different discussion, and a much easier one. If you are looking for race improvement, then that's a separate discussion. Running for health, you won't need to worry about a whole lot, you can eliminate much of the debate. Heck, if you're just running for health, then your volume shouldn't ever need to go above MAYBE 30 miles per week, and should probably be less. But this is not how you maximize your racing. That's trickier.
I have never once stated that running easy isn't useful. In fact, easier running should be the primary component of any runner's schedule. This concept is not Maffetone's alone; Lydiard, Pfitzinger, Daniels.... They all state this. But Maffetone also talks about higher intensity runs, and periodization. This is not a topic that I see discussed much about Maffetone. Why not? It's an important key to maximizing your racing.
However you determine what's easy is ultimately your business. Like I said, my biggest issue with Maffetone is the formula. That's pretty much it. That, and he doesn't discuss alternatives to using a HRM that I've ever seen. If he talked about RPE or pacing, I think it would be much more available to other runners.
If you're looking for a discussion of alternatives in a HRM or Low HR thread , probably not the place as the discussion is about the topics. Though if you actually read Maffetone's books, or follow the discussions, you'll see that anaerobic training, hills, intervals, and tempos are all part of the training. It's just that certain zones and limits are being used. Maffetone's favorite is Fartlek. The common misconception is that you're supposed to run 180-age all the time--that's only for the base period.
All this talk about running, I just remembered I have to go run!
Keep going, Scout!