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# MAF training Makes my blood boil!! (Read 98 times)

mis902

Hi all I'm new to this but have done a lot of research and like what I see for the low heart rate form of training.

I like the fact that in using the same set heart rate for all tests and runs I can tell from my pace if I'm improving, over training or stagnating etc.

There's just one thing that really makes me mad Why 180 - age = * why not some number really relating to particular runners heart rate max etc...?

For example:

Two runners both same age of 50 years but one with a max heart rate of 200 and the other a max heart rate of 160.

Runner 200 max HR

Maff 180 - age (50) = 130 maff HR

130 HR = 65% of max 200 HR ok

Runner 160 max HR

Maff 180 - age (50) = 130 maff HR

130 HR =  81.25 % of max 200 HR even if you lower the maff heart rate to -10 (120 it's still 75 % of the runners max of 160.

My conclusion (please put me right)

Runner 200 max running at 130 maff will find the pace very slow and the heart stress low.

Runner 160 max running at 130 maff will find the pace good and might be close to there normal pace but the 81.25 % heart over a time could be a little to taxing and lead to over training. (in actual fact this runner might feel that low heart rate running is no different from they have always been doing)

Why are there no more variables taken into consideration like max heart rate, resting pulse, body weight excess etc as they seem to be very relevant?

I want to start doing this kind of training I just need some help with clearing up my confusion

(in actual fact this runner might feel that low heart rate running is no different from they have always been doing)

Why are there no more variables taken into consideration like max heart rate, resting pulse, body weight excess etc as they seem to be very relevant?

well yes you pose a very valid question here. I asked maffetone himself a similar question at his website (in the forum there). I think he didn't want to bore anyone to death by explaining all the research details as he simply just said that these haven't been found relevant by him. as an example, he brings up that lactate threshold can vary in two people even if their maxHR and MAF HR are the same.

I would agree to the extent that lactate profile is indeed individual and can depend on several factors. this of course still isn't the full answer to the question. anyhow, to make sense of all this, the point, as far as I could understand, is that for some reason maffetone found that for planning aerobic training, the formula proved more reliable than e.g. lactate threshold so the formula simply doesn't use any such data as lactate threshold or maxHR or resting HR etc...

otoh, do consider the fact that he also mentions on his site somewhere that the formula is just an approximation really and what's more, he himself doesn't use the formula for his own patients/clients "IRL" (=in real life) because he has a lot more information available dealing with them in person so he uses that to get a better HR number for the training.

so to me, the end conclusion is that this is an individual thing and a generic formula cannot and will not work for everyone as we are unique people with unique bodies and physiological parameters and other life parameters and whatnot. yes, of course the adjustments for the formula do try to take this variation into account but it's still a somewhat limited way to deal with all of the variation. these adjustment options are what make the 180 formula better than the 220 formula, IMO, but yes, still limited.

(btw, talking about variation, unfortunately I've seen no such data published about the 180 formula, that is, no information on any of its statistics details, e.g. standard deviation. example, using the commonly known 220-age maxHR formula, about 99% of people will fall into +-20 beats range and the 220-age number itself will be close enough for maybe half of the population.)

right, so, there is no magic infallible formula, such a thing is impossible to generate. so what can you do? you can experiment on yourself, use tests, MAF test or Hadd test or simply race times or some other test to see if you're improving. if not, something's wrong. but really it's all about consistent training over months and over the years (no quick shortcut) and that's only possible with the right training load. and what the right training load is, that (in addition to your fitness and other things) depends on your training goals too. I could go on about this but that's it in a very small nutshell.

the existence of LHR formulas such as MAF or Hadd or 70% of HRR or 70% of maxHR or whatever similar formula is still good because it  shows the path to how to do real aerobic training. then in the absence of a magic formula, the refinement is up to the individual runner. you may also want to try an RQ test or even jimmyb's treadmill HR test might work to pinpoint a MAF number if you are not sure about using the 180 formula including its adjustments.

hope this helps.

mis902

Thank you for your clear and patient response, you seem to have fully grasped my dilemma.

I'm going to stick to relatively low heart rate training for two reasons, one hopefully it will allow me to build my weekly mileage up with out injury and two,  running most of my runs at a set window heart rate will allow me to make a good base line for working out improvements, ailments etc.

I'm 51 and my max recorded is 195, from this I have chosen a working hr of 145.  This is not just picked out of thin air it just seems to be at the moment the lowest rate at which I can still run with any kind of comfortable cadence.  I tried a lower rate and this caused me to use a bad gait which started to give me joint problems.

So this is my plan I intend to stick to:

Run 5 - 6 times per week for example last weeks miles are Mon to Frid 3, 5, 3, 3, 5 (19 miles). All miles at 145 hr and the Monday 3 mile is run on the same course as my weekly test to check my progress.  If all feels well then the following week I will add a few miles and check again on Monday.  If my progress regresses or I feel tried then the week miles will be dropped.

If after say 4 - 6 weeks I stop progressing and I feel alright and no injuries seem to be forming then I'll add some more miles.

My goal is to get to a point where I'm running over 50 miles per week and doing my Monday 3 (145 HR) test at a pace of about 9 mins.

My present status is week 1 pace at 145 11:14 min mile

week 2 pace at 145 11:07 min mile.

I've created myself a excel spreadsheet for this so I can check on progress and health

Happy low heart rate aerobic running

I think you will find that over time you will realize that 145 is probably too high for a true MAF run.  Think of it as a very easy run.

My max HR is 194 and I'm 44 so my MAF should be 136.  This is also 70% of my Max HR so that works really well for me.

When I first started trying to run at MAF last May, I really struggled to run that slow.  I was even slower than your paces and I had just run a sub 2 hour half marathon.

As the year has progressed, I've gotten faster, but it still always seems hard for me to run at MAF.  When I was running at 11:30 that was just over my MAF and I didn't feel like I could slow down any farther.  Now I'm running at 10:00 pace which is just over my MAF.  No idea why, it just seems that I stuggle to get down to my MAF rate of 136.  I almost always tend to go a couple beats higher and run just a smidge too fast.

So to summarize, I think you are on point that 180 - age is a slightly flawed equation, but I also think that for the vast majority of folks it is going to get them pretty darn close.  Your example of folks with a 200 HR and 160 HR at the same age are at the far end of the bell curve.

My 2 cents.

Age: 47 Weight: 215 Height: 6'3" (Goal weight 195)

Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09 (2013); HM 1:36:42 (2015); 10K 43:59 (2014); 5K 21:27 (2013)

Hi all I'm new to this but have done a lot of research and like what I see for the low heart rate form of training.

I like the fact that in using the same set heart rate for all tests and runs I can tell from my pace if I'm improving, over training or stagnating etc.

There's just one thing that really makes me mad Why 180 - age = * why not some number really relating to particular runners heart rate max etc...?

For example:

Two runners both same age of 50 years but one with a max heart rate of 200 and the other a max heart rate of 160.

Runner 200 max HR

Maff 180 - age (50) = 130 maff HR

130 HR = 65% of max 200 HR ok

Runner 160 max HR

Maff 180 - age (50) = 130 maff HR

130 HR =  81.25 % of max 200 HR even if you lower the maff heart rate to -10 (120 it's still 75 % of the runners max of 160.

My conclusion (please put me right)

Runner 200 max running at 130 maff will find the pace very slow and the heart stress low.

Runner 160 max running at 130 maff will find the pace good and might be close to there normal pace but the 81.25 % heart over a time could be a little to taxing and lead to over training. (in actual fact this runner might feel that low heart rate running is no different from they have always been doing)

Why are there no more variables taken into consideration like max heart rate, resting pulse, body weight excess etc as they seem to be very relevant?

I want to start doing this kind of training I just need some help with clearing up my confusion

Those variables aren't included because they don't matter. Your MAF can be ascertained with an RQ test (respiratory quotient). This is how Dr. Maffetone figured out MAF's back before he began writing books, and before using a formula. The RQ test measures the amount of fat and sugar you're burning as you increase intensity, while also recording HR. When the results are graphed, what you see is a small amount of sugar being used at low intensities---an initial curve that will plateau, then a sudden steep rise in sugar burning, making a deflection point----this is your MAF. The HR will mirror the fat/sugar graph. After many years of doing this with clients, Dr. Phil noticed it equated with 180-age, with a 5-10 beat range around it, depending on the aerobic fitness of a person. Someone in supreme aerobic fitness would have a higher MAF, those with aerobic deficiency would have a lower one (then the 180-age). This is why he has the adjustments. He admits in the books that the 180-age gets flooby when someone is 65+ years old, and adding up to ten beats might be necessary.

The best way for you to find out your MAF is to get an RQ test. You could also try the treadmill test (click) I created that mirrors the HR part of an RQ Test. I and several others have found it's a good way to confirm the deflection point.

This program is based on what type of fuel and fibers you're burning, not what your MHR is (MHR is actually a bit fluid, I found). Think of the MAF like you would the lactate threshold, which also has nothing to do with your MHR (though could correlate to a general HR range in most runners).The MAF is the point you begin to use anaerobic fibers, which burn sugar as fuel (though one of the Type 2 fibers can be trained to use fat, become more aerobic).

Dr. Phil found that some people's RQ's   were so horrible (and MAF's  so low), they'd be burning near 100% sugar at rest! They were often unhealthy when in this state---injured. MAF training is about improving your RQ and your health.

If you can at least do an MAF test once a month at your calculated MAF, it can tell you a lot about how your current training is affecting your aerobic system. If the speed at MAF (aerobic speed) is getting worse or not improving, adjustments in training load and effort might have to be made. If you find your aerobic speed is constantly improving with your current plan, you feel good, no colds and flus, are not injured, and have no nagging sore spots, then sticking with it is probably fine. Overtraining (and resulting future injuries) will often show up in a diminished aerobic speed long before someone falls into the OT state.

All Dr. Phil and MAF training is really concerned with is maintaining your health despite the heavy training. 180-age is a suggestion, not a commandment. MAF training does demand rigorous honesty to one's self about how one is truly doing. If you're training your ass off and are getting to the starting line with the flu, injured, and feeling like crap---and lacking endurance---it might be time for a bit of honest self-reflection and an adjustment in your training methods.

mis902

jimmyb,

I get it , I really do...the Maff test is used to find the most efficient working heart rate for using fat as the primary fuel and also puts you in a close to optimum aerobic stimulus  zone.  This also has the merit of allowing the body to recover and improve with a much smaller chance of injury or health problems caused  usually by more intense type training.

My Maff  from the formula 180 -52 (age) = 128 I can't add 5 because I've never trained consistently for more than a few months at a time.

My running self image is of me being an indestructible no distance , no speed is ever  too much for this wild stallion with a death wish.

Now running at a 128 heart rate and no more will turn my so called running speed according to my ego into a laughing stock...a sloth wearing ankle weights and clown shoes fitted with specially built  ski's 10 foot long and whilst using the only supplement of choice massive amounts of IV diazepam..At this rate I could be the first runner to actually travel back in time

Joking and rant aside I'm going to keep to my most comfortable lowest heart rate of 145 for the next 4 weeks, don't ask me why, stupid is stupid does maybe...Then I'll become that zen monk that ponders on the sound of the one armed man clapping whilst moving along at a

transcendental

rate of 145 heart beats per minute

mis902

It doesn't really make my blood boil, that was just a header to get a response.  I Apologise for that now!

Your running experiences using this principal are much more important to me than the science behind it as like yourselves I can always google for that.

I think what I'm trying to say is I have done the research and think I have  found what I was looking for and hopefully in the future I can ask you guys for feedback on my progress.

Run easy and light

I think you will find that over time you will realize that 145 is probably too high for a true MAF run.  Think of it as a very easy run.

My max HR is 194 and I'm 44 so my MAF should be 136.  This is also 70% of my Max HR so that works really well for me.

When I first started trying to run at MAF last May, I really struggled to run that slow.  I was even slower than your paces and I had just run a sub 2 hour half marathon.

As the year has progressed, I've gotten faster, but it still always seems hard for me to run at MAF.  When I was running at 11:30 that was just over my MAF and I didn't feel like I could slow down any farther.  Now I'm running at 10:00 pace which is just over my MAF.  No idea why, it just seems that I stuggle to get down to my MAF rate of 136.  I almost always tend to go a couple beats higher and run just a smidge too fast.

So to summarize, I think you are on point that 180 - age is a slightly flawed equation, but I also think that for the vast majority of folks it is going to get them pretty darn close.  Your example of folks with a 200 HR and 160 HR at the same age are at the far end of the bell curve.

My 2 cents.

Another option may be to do a run/walk interval for your MAF runs.  Take really short walk breaks like 30 seconds or so, just to get your HR back down a bit.  Then jog as slow as you can stand for 2 or 3 minutes then take another 30 second walk break.  You would need to keep the walk breaks short because your HR will drop quickly if you are in decent shape at all.

Also, hills can be a great place to do some MAF work.  I can get my HR to MAF just doing a brisk walk up some of the steeper hills around me, then you can run pretty darn fast down them and keep your HR at MAF.

Age: 47 Weight: 215 Height: 6'3" (Goal weight 195)

Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09 (2013); HM 1:36:42 (2015); 10K 43:59 (2014); 5K 21:27 (2013)

It doesn't really make my blood boil, that was just a header to get a response.  I Apologise for that now!

Your running experiences using this principal are much more important to me than the science behind it as like yourselves I can always google for that.

I think what I'm trying to say is I have done the research and think I have  found what I was looking for and hopefully in the future I can ask you guys for feedback on my progress.

I like your energetic writing, Mis.

Feedback, stories, and gentle loving is why this forum exists.

Give some, get some.

Have fun!

--Jimmy

p.s. Walking is a legit thing to do in the base-building phase. Helps. And sometimes you can walk faster than you can run at the same HR.

Below is your fate:

I think you will find that over time you will realize that 145 is probably too high for a true MAF run.  Think of it as a very easy run.

My max HR is 194 and I'm 44 so my MAF should be 136.  This is also 70% of my Max HR so that works really well for me.

When I first started trying to run at MAF last May, I really struggled to run that slow.  I was even slower than your paces and I had just run a sub 2 hour half marathon.

As the year has progressed, I've gotten faster, but it still always seems hard for me to run at MAF.  When I was running at 11:30 that was just over my MAF and I didn't feel like I could slow down any farther.  Now I'm running at 10:00 pace which is just over my MAF.  No idea why, it just seems that I stuggle to get down to my MAF rate of 136.  I almost always tend to go a couple beats higher and run just a smidge too fast.

afaik, MAF isn't necessarily a very easy run...

btw, about problems with running a specific pace, I find for me it's all a question of what I got myself used to. I used to do 14min/mile pace runs and then 7:30 min/mile pace runs or I can also do 180-age minus 10 bpm regularly or I can do even 180-age plus 25 bpm regularly, and yet end up feeling that I couldn't easily start to go faster or slower. it's some conditioned subjective feeling...

another thing, I don't think you need to worry about running 1-2 beats over that 136 target. I don't like this one thing about how the way some MAF'ing guidelines online are worded may make you obsessive about your HR, that's not a good thing, just unnecessary stress. 1-2 beats here or there, who cares? it hardly matters if at all. not worth the tradeoff of becoming obsessive about sticking to an exact target number of heartbeats.

also, jimmyb mentioned MHR is a bit "fluid", now what if MAF HR is also a bit fluid

also, jimmyb mentioned MHR is a bit "fluid", now what if MAF HR is also a bit fluid

It is!

Depends on aerobic fitness.

It is!

Depends on aerobic fitness.

**Circular Reference Warning - This formula contains a circular reference and may not calculate correctly.**

A little accountant/Excel humor for the day

Seriously, when do you know that it's ok to add a few beats to MAF?  I've been pretty good about sticking to 180-age, but sometimes a pace just feels good so I let it creep a few beats and end up averaging right at MAF for the run.  I'm not quite 3 months into this and my 3 mile MAF pace is around 8:45.

Eric

PRs:  5k - (20:42) 3/9/2013 18:55 (9/28/13)

10k - (42:42) 3/23/2013 39:11 (10/26/13) course was short @ 6.0 mi :)

10 mi - (1:12:10) 4/6/2013

HM - (1:34:38) 4/27/2013

Seriously, when do you know that it's ok to add a few beats to MAF?  I've been pretty good about sticking to 180-age, but sometimes a pace just feels good so I let it creep a few beats and end up averaging right at MAF for the run.  I'm not quite 3 months into this and my 3 mile MAF pace is around 8:45.

the answer to the question "is it ok to add a few beats" depends on the objective/goal of the workout/training

the answer to the question "is it ok to add a few beats" depends on the objective/goal of the workout/training

My objective for 90% of my runs is still base building, so probably just shouldn't sweat it and stick where I am at 143 until I stop seeing progress.  I'm doing enough racing right now to count as speedwork/strength training.

Eric

PRs:  5k - (20:42) 3/9/2013 18:55 (9/28/13)

10k - (42:42) 3/23/2013 39:11 (10/26/13) course was short @ 6.0 mi :)

10 mi - (1:12:10) 4/6/2013

HM - (1:34:38) 4/27/2013

My objective for 90% of my runs is still base building, so probably just shouldn't sweat it and stick where I am at 143 until I stop seeing progress.  I'm doing enough racing right now to count as speedwork/strength training.

yeah, you've just added faster runs (=races) so why change too many things at once.

though, I think racing once in every two weeks isn't quite a full substitute for speedwork. you could add in something for the weeks without races. (of course making sure that you're well rested for the races & a few days of recovery after the races)

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