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Maffetone and his version of anaerobic. (Read 1380 times)

polymath


    So I am reading The Big Book Of Endurance Training And Racing and unnecessarily long titles by Dr. Philip Maffetone and I need some calcification because I am not so smart. It seems like he thinks everything that isn't at your Maffetone approved zone no matter what will destroy your aerobic base. Is this true? I mean at work I sometimes unload some heavy boxes off of delivery trucks so am I really messing up my endurance doing this? Don't laugh at me! I am a simple man with few brain cells.

    jimmyb


      The heart of Maffetone's method is managing total stress on the body, which includes the sum total of your aerobic and anaerobic exercise, life stress, chemical stress, diet, etc. It is about staying healthy. You can be fit enough to run a marathon, but if you are injured and overtrained when you get to the starting line, then maybe the way you are training is not the best way for you at that time. He developed his method bringing lots of broken down athletes back to health and out of bad states of overtraining and aerobic deficiency. When he talks about anaerobic work making your aerobic system go south, he isn't talking about any anaerobic work, but the amount in relationship to what state of health you are in. If you are trying to emerge from a state of overtraining or extreme aerobic deficiency, just a little anaerobic running could set back your progress. If you are fairly healthy, have a solid aerobic system that just needs some work to reach it's potential, then a little probably won't hurt. The key is to do regular MAF tests to monitor your speed at your maximum aerobic function of heart rate (MAF).  If it isn't improving, then something in your training needs adjusting. If it is improving, whether you are doing anaerobic work or not,  then good.  Increased life stress that becomes chronic can hurt your aerobic system. I've seen it happen. Training needs to be cut back during these times. 

       

      THe common misunderstanding of his method is that it is all aerobic base work at the MAF or below, when the truth is that it is only part of it. He writes that the anaerobic system has to remain in balance and needs work. Plus, race season (s) always come, and he knows many racers are following his system. Race season is anaerobic. Most of the year, when healthy, is spent  using anaerobic workouts (which includes races). Again, he recommends monitoring your aerobic speed with the MAF test throughout the year, and then adjusting accordingly. Mark Allen's training was a good example of how it goes:  click here to read about his training and how he incorporated the MAF test and aerobic base period suggested by MAffetone. You see that he spent about 12 weeks in a base period, then brought in some hard stuff, then raced hard.

       

      The MAF can be seen during an RQ test as a deflection point in the ranges where you are burning mostly fat as fuel. On a graph of the %fat/sugar ration data in the test, you'll see a steady curve to a plateau, then a sudden steep rise on the graph when the anaerobic fibers begin to kick in.  The deflection point is your MAF. Almost all type 1 fiber, and a touch of Type  2 (probably the "a" kind that can become aerobic). When these fibers kick in, the use of sugar as fuel increases rapidly. You still use sugar at HR's below MAF, but it is used mainly to help burn the fat you are using as fuel in the red Type1 fibers. The idea is to develop these fibers to the utmost, get as fast as possible using fat as fuel. Mark Allen talks about it here. How he slowed down immensely when working out at MAF, then getting very fast at it. Becoming an aerobic machine.

       

      If you want to find out more, we have a forum here on RunningAhead: click here. There are many there who can answer questions. The method is not for everyone, but I would recommend the MAF test to anyone during any kind of training as not only a way to monitor the state of your aerobic system, but also as an indicator for helping to figure out pacing for marathons and other races (e.g. when my MAF speed is 9:00 per mile, I can run a 3:30 marathon, when it is 10:00, I can't).

       

      Good luck.

       

      --Jimmy

      Log

        So I am reading The Big Book Of Endurance Training And Racing and unnecessarily long titles by Dr. Philip Maffetone and I need some calcification because I am not so smart. It seems like he thinks everything that isn't at your Maffetone approved zone no matter what will destroy your aerobic base. Is this true? I mean at work I sometimes unload some heavy boxes off of delivery trucks so am I really messing up my endurance doing this? Don't laugh at me! I am a simple man with few brain cells.

        There’s no shame in asking simple questions – most of us here, myself included, may seem to know what we’re talking about but, when asked very simple questions, such as the one you had just asked, probably stumble to answer it quickly and clearly.

         

        First of all, I don’t think it’s that ANY type of anaerobic exercise is bad.  Lifting up a heavy box, while technically “anaerobic”, I really don’t think it’s going to hurt your aerobic base.  If I understand it correctly, aerobic and anaerobic exercises almost co-exist.  Life is a series of aerobic-anaerobic exercises.  Just because your state is “aerobic”, that does not necessarily mean you’re developing your aerobic capacity—if you sit around and doing nothing, you’re aerobic but I don’t see any aerobic benefit from doing that.  Likewise, if you wake and get out of bed, that “action” may be classified as “anaerobic” but I don’t believe it’s hurting (or breaking down) your aerobic capacity.  Lifting a heavy box, while it is most likely classified as anaerobic, will bring your aerobic capacity down much at all.  It is the series of prolonged anaerobic exercise, and messing up your metabolism as the result of that, that pulls your condition down.  If you visit letsrun.com, there seems to be always a debate about whether or not this statement is true or not.  I don’t think there had been any scientific research done to prove that prolonged anaerobic exercise would bring your aerobic capacity down.  In fact, I’m not sure if we fully understand the border-line of aerobic exercise and anaerobic exercise and their full benefit to our body.  All we know, and as far as people like Lydiard or Maffetone are concerned, prolonged anaerobic exercise would produce hydrogen iron that would create acidity in your system which, in turn, screws up your enzyme functions.  As a result, your body is not getting full benefits of nutrients and body’s rebuilding process is affected adversely.  It’s like eating McDonald, 3 times a day, everyday.  You can live on it, but you’re not getting much nutrients from it.  So what happens?  It’s not healthy.  Building aerobic foundation means you’re making your body more healthy; your heart and lungs will get stronger, your blood will be more toned, more oxygen and nutrients will be flowing around through your body…  Too much anaerobic training is not healthy; you’re hurting body’s metabolism, putting your body through breathlessness and demanding your body to do above and beyond what it’s capable of…but it’s also necessary if you want to race well because, as Jimmy pointed out, that’s what racing is all about—you are asking your body to go above and beyond what its comfortable zone is and you’ll need to get your body accustomed to it.

         

        Border line of these two metabolisms is not as clear as we’d like to think.  Some experts even debate whether or not, by doing a workout such as 20 X 400m at very high level speed can be really anaerobic or not.  I’m not an expert on that field and, frankly, I don’t really give a damn whether or not it’s aerobic or anaerobic.  All I know is, if done too much of those, you’d pay for it but you also need to do enough of it to prepare yourself for races.  So you really can’t say “this is aerobic and that’s good; this is anaerobic and this is bad.”  In essence, I think you’ll know when you’re doing too much anaerobic because you’d start to feel “jaded”.  Besides, if you start to feel “jaded” by lifting heavy boxes at work, it’s probably more of a reflection of your lack of good fitness level than doing too much anaerobic work (=lifting boxes).  Also, just be clear; feeling “jaded” means you feel edgy and restless and feeling drained; not getting sore backs or muscle soreness.

          Thanks so much for this thread. I was recently introduced to the Maffetone Method by reading Mark Allen's stuff. My aerobic base turned out to be atrocious. I've spent 4 weeks (out of a planned 12) sticking to a strict sub-150 heart rate training regiment, but my pace is so discouraging. I expected it at first, but it just keeps getting slower. I must be making a mistake somewhere. 

           

          I'm definitely not a "racer." I've been running regularly for 6 months and love it. I would love to increase my aerobic capacity and run faster.

            Thanks so much for this thread. I was recently introduced to the Maffetone Method by reading Mark Allen's stuff. My aerobic base turned out to be atrocious. I've spent 4 weeks (out of a planned 12) sticking to a strict sub-150 heart rate training regiment, but my pace is so discouraging. I expected it at first, but it just keeps getting slower. I must be making a mistake somewhere. 

             

            I'm definitely not a "racer." I've been running regularly for 6 months and love it. I would love to increase my aerobic capacity and run faster.

             

            My personal feeling is that if you're sticking to low intensity stuff you need to have decent volume to improve. Glancing at your log I'd suggest that you might find some more miles would help. Low intensity miles don't tax your body the same way that harder stuff does, so it's normally not a problem taking the mileage up in these circumstances.

              That would be nice, but with family and work (and living in Hokkaido, Japan with 25+ feet of snow outside), 20 miles a week is about my limit when it comes to time. 

                That would be nice, but with family and work (and living in Hokkaido, Japan with 25+ feet of snow outside), 20 miles a week is about my limit when it comes to time. 

                 

                perhaps some underground laps between the train station and susukino with side trips on tanuki kogi?

                  Hey hey, a fellow Sapporo-jin, huh? I actually use the Community Dome (400 meter indoor track) by Okadama Airport. 

                    Would bumping it from 4 hours/week to 7.5/week make a difference? If so, then comes the next hurdle....talking to the Missy's about it. Smile
                      Would bumping it from 4 hours/week to 7.5/week make a difference? If so, then comes the next hurdle....talking to the Missy's about it. Smile

                       

                      I'm sure it'll make some difference if you stick at it consistently - but hard to say whether you'll notice quickly. These things take time... consistency when it comes to running is best measured in years, rather than weeks or months.

                       

                      FWIW I used to alternate between cycling and running to work - the travel time is lost time anyway, so it's great if you can use it to get some training in. I also used to manage 45 mins running and a quick shower some lunchtimes.

                       

                      Now I do freelance programming and most of the time I work at home, so it's much easier to arrange things.


                      Feeling the growl again

                        Anaerobic activity does not "destroy" your aerobic base.  IMHO the most useful part of Maffetone for runners....triathlon is quite different...is that it keeps people who are not yet proficient at managing recovery from running too hard on a consistent basis.  If you run too fast daily and don't allow yourself to recover, you WILL go backwards.  Managing your HR forces you to slow down and run easy when you are supposed to run easy.

                         

                        However, things like fartleks and tempo runs will make you run faster....and IMPROVE your aerobic abilities....but require you to run above MAF.  You just need to make sure you get adequate recovery (a couple easy days) after a workout.

                        "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                         

                          Hey hey, a fellow Sapporo-jin, huh? I actually use the Community Dome (400 meter indoor track) by Okadama Airport. 

                           Wow, there are several people living in Japan on here. We're down in Atsugi. I need to try to make it up to the Ice Festival there sometime before we leave.