# Go On A Trip To RQ-land and other Allenish Places (Read 1556 times)

Read about the RQ test that the MAF formula was developed from (Complimentary Sports Medicine by Dr. Phil Maffetone Page 79): click here A more Complete RQ table: click here Take a visit to a Mark Allen Forum at his website: http://www.markallenonline.com/eGripForum/forums/thread/2415.aspx --Jimmy
GMoney

Nice links. Thanks for those, Jimmy. Make me want to look around to see if there's a place locally where I can have my RQ measured. Interesting to see Mark Allen recommending a short race every 3-6 weeks in the base period. Didn't expect to see that, but I bet your Hadd tests would do the job equally well. Seems like he also favors some type of weight training in the base period.
You're welcome. I finally wrapped my mind around the RQ test last night. This post is my way of solidifying it. If I'm wrong about any point, let me know. That little chart where Maffetone shows the resting RQ of different individuals and their physical ailments was interesting. Basically, at rest you should be burning more fat than sugar, and some individuals can be 88% sugar/12% fat burners at rest. Imagine when they start to run. A highly trained athlete with a solid aerobic system can be buring as high as 60% fat at rest. Maffetone does say that if you can't get to an RQ test, that the MAF test works just as well. If your tests improve, your RQ is improving. The one element I want to understand more about is the deflection point. I get how the analyzer shows the ratio of sugar to fats being converted to energy. That 1.0 equals all sugar and .7 all fat. HR is also taken during the test to show what the ratio is at increasing intensities. Once you exceed 1.0, you have become completely anaerobic. .85 is about 50/50, anything below that, you are burning more fat than glycogen. According to what others have posted (Dave, Jesse), is that Maffetone used the bottom of the deflection point below the .85 as the MAF. What the HR is at the deflection point, that's your true MAF. In order to fully understand this, I think I need to get a test. There is V02max testing in my area. I am thinking about it. As your aerobic system improves, you start to burn more fat than sugar just resting. At the start, you might be burning 50% fat/50% sugar (.85) at 150 bpm, but when you improve aerobically, you might improve to 60%fat/40%sugar at 150 bpm. This also means you'll be burning more fat than you used to at higher heart rates like marathon pace. I imagine your MAF (deflection point) gets higher on the RQ tests as well. This explains his adjustments for not-improving, or for having improved. It also explains to me that paragraph or two about aerobic intervals in his books. He says that running exactly at MAF can become very stressful for highly trained athletes, because they have become so fast at MAF. Some find the aerobic intervals to be easier. You know how he says that the 180 fromula gets a bit fuzzy for 60+ athletes. It's probably a good idea for them to get tested to find what their true MAF is. I'm not surprised that Mark Allen has his own twist. I do know he was religious every year with taking a few months rest, then starting with a Maffetone base phase for 12 weeks (Allen called it "the patience phase"), and that he would include speed work after that. I'm sure he's seen that a race every 3-6 weeks has a positive effect on MAF tests. I also think that it could be a way to keep his athletes interested. There's a reason he calls it "the patience phase"--it's the toughest thing to do for most runners--"what? I have to walk up the hills?"--"Yes, but it's temporary."--"I can't do that, it's not part of my make-up." I'm not sure he would recommend the race idea to those with a severe aerobic deficiency or those coming off injuries, or who are a walking sore spot. That letter might be specific to certain athletes. As far as weight go, he is not very specific in that letter he wrote, but perhaps he's not talking about but-gusting weight-lifting, but something with light weights to keep the upper body strong. I don't know, I'll research it more. My take on MAF training, is that you can really experiment with things, just keep in touch with the MAF test. If the weight lifting or a race every 3-6 weeks is too much, then your tests will cease to progress. If not, then what you are doing isn't overstressing your body and diminishing the aerobic system. --Jimmy
Here's a few things to read that addresses the weight -training/Mark Allen info: This one is a posting from The Lore Of Running. An informative article on Mark Allen. It says that he weight-lifted during the base phase: click here Mark Allen on weight-training http://www.active.com/triathlon/Articles/Mark_Allen_s_12_Best_Strength_Exercises.htm --Jimmy
GMoney

That little chart where Maffetone shows the resting RQ of different individuals and their physical ailments was interesting. Basically, at rest you should be burning more fat than sugar, and some individuals can be 88% sugar/12% fat burners at rest. Imagine when they start to run. A highly trained athlete with a solid aerobic system can be buring as high as 60% fat at rest.
I think this is where Noakes' Figure 3.12 and the related discussion come into play. Good point seems to be that we can all increase the amount of fat we burn at any level of intensity through proper training. Bad point seems to be that, darn it, some of us are just genetically better fat burners than others.
According to what others have posted (Dave, Jesse), is that Maffetone used the bottom of the deflection point below the .85 as the MAF. What the HR is at the deflection point, that's your true MAF. In order to fully understand this, I think I need to get a test. There is V02max testing in my area. I am thinking about it.
May not be the same "deflection point," but I've got a book on Lydiard where the author basically says that the deflection point of the HR curve and the deflection point of your lactate curve should occur at the same point. Of course over lactate threshold you'd be at 100% carb for all intents and purposes, so Jesse and David may be speaking of something else. I know that my MAF is waaaaay below my lab tested lactate threshold. Testing your own personal RQ is something that I think might be helpful. If you get the test I guess the worst case scenario is that you spend the money only find that your MAF is right around 180-age (give or take). The "best" case might be that you find your HR at, say 0.85 RQ is actually way higher than 180-age. I am still not sure why Maffetone's 180- formula is more likely to be accurate in any individual case than any formula for estimating Max HR. I'm getting deja vu - haven't we been here before? Still, Maffetone's a practical guy and, as you point out, I think his system of regular MAF testing gets you to essentially the same place as a practical matter. Sure easier and less costly than getting your RQ checked out every 4-6 weeks.
I'm sure [Mark Allen's] seen that a race every 3-6 weeks has a positive effect on MAF tests. I also think that it could be a way to keep his athletes interested. There's a reason he calls it "the patience phase"--it's the toughest thing to do for most runners--"what? I have to walk up the hills?"--"Yes, but it's temporary."--"I can't do that, it's not part of my make-up." I'm not sure he would recommend the race idea to those with a severe aerobic deficiency or those coming off injuries, or who are a walking sore spot. That letter might be specific to certain athletes.
Patience is probably a lot easier for guy like Mark Allen than for me. He had the prospect of making huge coin as a result of his performance and, so, a big incentive to be super-strict in that phase. Me, I run for fun and to stay fit and (hopefully) healthy. If a once in a while short fast run or race makes the slow stuff bearable and MAF tests don't regress, then it's not doing any harm. It's similar to what I'm doing now as I ramp up for my spring marathon. I run long every 10 days (give or take). For the long runs I run without a HR monitor and without wearing a stop watch - running totally by feel. I just start the watch right before I go and leave it behind so I know how long I was out when I'm done. All other days are really easy 30-60 minute efforts below MAF - which seem to be getting faster. It seems to be working well for me now - especially since I'm on a compressed schedule - but a more complete report will follow. I totally agree with your point about the "walking wounded" - if you're already hurt racing should be the furthest thing from your mind.
My take on MAF training, is that you can really experiment with things, just keep in touch with the MAF test. If the weight lifting or a race every 3-6 weeks is too much, then your tests will cease to progress. If not, then what you are doing isn't overstressing your body and diminishing the aerobic system.
Well said. I think Maffetone would agree entirely. After all, what he really stresses (pun) in his books is the need for balance, isn't it?
May not be the same "deflection point," but I've got a book on Lydiard where the author basically says that the deflection point of the HR curve and the deflection point of your lactate curve should occur at the same point. Of course over lactate threshold you'd be at 100% carb for all intents and purposes, so Jesse and David may be speaking of something else. I know that my MAF is waaaaay below my lab tested lactate threshold.
I think there is some kind of deflection down below the 50/50 point (.85). That's what I need to clear on. I know Jesse has an RQ test on his FAQ website. I've read about the LT deflection. the Conconi Test is one way to find it, though doesn't work all the time, so is unreliable. According to HADD, the LT can slip pretty low in athletes who are aerobically deficient. It's not fixed. --Jimmy
GMoney

I've read about the LT deflection. the Conconi Test is one way to find it, though doesn't work all the time, so is unreliable.
Yeah, I had my LT test done old-school - blood drawn every few minutes and analyzed. The HR correlation seems like one of those theoretcial perfections that doesn't often play out. Regardless, my test was nearly a year ago and is now stale. Jesse's 2005 VO2Max test has RER and RQ data. http://cid-efacd17acbfa3cf6.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/.res/efacd17acbfa3cf6!117/EFACD17ACBFA3CF6!118 I might not be reading the report properly, but at the time he was 35 and it looks like he was hitting 0.85 RQ at 151 bpm. 180-35=145+5 for being healthy and progressing=150. Maffetone's equation fit him well then.
Haven't gone through all Jimmy has written, but seems quite worth a read. Will make sure I read it through.
Read about the RQ test that the MAF formula was developed from (Complimentary Sports Medicine by Dr. Phil Maffetone Page 79): click here A more Complete RQ table: click here Take a visit to a Mark Allen Forum at his website: http://www.markallenonline.com/eGripForum/forums/thread/2415.aspx --Jimmy
Yeah, I had my LT test done old-school - blood drawn every few minutes and analyzed. The HR correlation seems like one of those theoretcial perfections that doesn't often play out. Regardless, my test was nearly a year ago and is now stale. Jesse's 2005 VO2Max test has RER and RQ data. http://cid-efacd17acbfa3cf6.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/.res/efacd17acbfa3cf6!117/EFACD17ACBFA3CF6!118 I might not be reading the report properly, but at the time he was 35 and it looks like he was hitting 0.85 RQ at 151 bpm. 180-35=145+5 for being healthy and progressing=150. Maffetone's equation fit him well then.
A quote from a Coolrunning post by DavidD (RER here): "We normally burn both fat and sugar for energy (and very small amounts of protein) at all times - sleeping, working, running. Finding an exercise heart rate that best trains our body to burn more fat is what the MAF program is all about. When successful, we run faster at the same heart rate, race faster, burn off more body fat, are healthier and less injured, etc. (If the ‘fat burning’ notion seems to go against the traditional ‘carbo’ mentality, it does, but only because the carbo idea, that sugar is the main fuel of athletes, is wrong.) We can evaluate fat and sugar burning levels by measuring carbon dioxide and oxygen uptake while running on a treadmill. The ratio of CO2/O2 is called respiratory quotient, RQ. It ranges from 0.7 (100% fat/0% sugar burning) to 1.0 (0% fat/100% sugar burning). At the 50% fat and 50% sugar level, the RQ is .85. This test can help evaluate an athlete by comparing the RQ at different heart rates - from warm up pace to intense effort. When done properly, the test usually shows a steady rise in RQ with the heart rate, and at some point suddenly increases at a faster rate (the “deflection point”) indicating a more rapid change to more sugar and less fat burning. Maffetone has chosen the heart rate just before the deflection point to be the max aerobic rate. With some simple math, he found a formula (the 180 formula) that is quite accurate in determining about the same point he was finding on treadmill tests." Here's some more interesting old stuff from the formerly great Coolrunning. One of Jesse's aweosme Low-HR training threads. There is some RQ info posted by Dave and Jesse and others: http://www.coolrunning.com/forums/Forum6/HTML/022020-20.shtml http://www.coolrunning.com/forums/Forum6/HTML/022020-24.shtml Reading those old threads brings a sense of nostalgia and loss for me. Active.com screwed the pooch by bringing it down. --Jimmy

Happy

Jimmy, I've been reading here and there following some of the links you've posted. Following one of the threads from Coolrunning I can understand your sense of nostalgia and loss; it seems to have been a great time with lots of creative and passionate debates. In addition I know you were running very well at the time and setting PRs - also a wonderful feeling. You are obviously no longer in the same situation - for better or for worse, things always change and never stay the same. You have the wonderful memories and friendships you've made back then and the knowledge and wisdom gained from all the hard work and fun races you've done. What you don't know yet is what the future holds for you. The present is all you have. In the present you give and guide in full measure and your presence in this forum is grately appreciated. You help so many of us with our running. I feel sure your current low slump is temporary I've gotta get back to reading some more of the old threads. Great stuff!!!! Thanks.
5K, 4/28/07 24:16 PR 10K, 5/5/07 49:23 PR 1/2 M, 12/08/07 1:49:34 PR Marathon, 12/09/06 3:57:37 BQ 50K, 10/04/2009 7:27:00 PB 40M, 4/17/2010 11:20:00 PB
Jimmy, I've been reading here and there following some of the links you've posted. Following one of the threads from Coolrunning I can understand your sense of nostalgia and loss; it seems to have been a great time with lots of creative and passionate debates. In addition I know you were running very well at the time and setting PRs - also a wonderful feeling. You are obviously no longer in the same situation - for better or for worse, things always change and never stay the same. You have the wonderful memories and friendships you've made back then and the knowledge and wisdom gained from all the hard work and fun races you've done. What you don't know yet is what the future holds for you. The present is all you have. In the present you give and guide in full measure and your presence in this forum is grately appreciated. You help so many of us with our running. I feel sure your current low slump is temporary I've gotta get back to reading some more of the old threads. Great stuff!!!! Thanks.
Thanks for your poetic expression, Flower. I really just miss the community that Coolrunning was. My current aerobic slump is temporary, and my best running days are ahead of me. I did have one PR last year! 5k. --Jimmy

Happy

A quote from a Coolrunning post by DavidD (RER here): "We normally burn both fat and sugar for energy (and very small amounts of protein) at all times - sleeping, working, running. Finding an exercise heart rate that best trains our body to burn more fat is what the MAF program is all about. When successful, we run faster at the same heart rate, race faster, burn off more body fat, are healthier and less injured, etc. (If the ‘fat burning’ notion seems to go against the traditional ‘carbo’ mentality, it does, but only because the carbo idea, that sugar is the main fuel of athletes, is wrong.) We can evaluate fat and sugar burning levels by measuring carbon dioxide and oxygen uptake while running on a treadmill. The ratio of CO2/O2 is called respiratory quotient, RQ. It ranges from 0.7 (100% fat/0% sugar burning) to 1.0 (0% fat/100% sugar burning). At the 50% fat and 50% sugar level, the RQ is .85. This test can help evaluate an athlete by comparing the RQ at different heart rates - from warm up pace to intense effort. When done properly, the test usually shows a steady rise in RQ with the heart rate, and at some point suddenly increases at a faster rate (the “deflection point”) indicating a more rapid change to more sugar and less fat burning. Maffetone has chosen the heart rate just before the deflection point to be the max aerobic rate. With some simple math, he found a formula (the 180 formula) that is quite accurate in determining about the same point he was finding on treadmill tests." Here's some more interesting old stuff from the formerly great Coolrunning. One of Jesse's aweosme Low-HR training threads. There is some RQ info posted by Dave and Jesse and others: http://www.coolrunning.com/forums/Forum6/HTML/022020-20.shtml http://www.coolrunning.com/forums/Forum6/HTML/022020-24.shtml Reading those old threads brings a sense of nostalgia and loss for me. Active.com screwed the pooch by bringing it down. --Jimmy
Wonderful explanation of RQ in relation to MAF and HR by David above - Thanks for that nugget of wisdom. It is pretty amazing that the MAF is so easy to find for each and every person who is not too young or too old. There is really no reason to have an expensive test done in a lab, is there? I had been wondering what the deflection point meant - I didn't go to school in the US so my science vocabulary is in a different language; sometimes it is difficult to understand certain phrases. However, I think I have a good idea now of what the deflection point means in relation to the RQ versus HR. If the MAF is right below the deflection point (the point at which a person's RQ become 1.0 which means she/he is 100% sugar burning) this explains and emphasizes why it is of utmost importance to stay below MAF while training. Going just a few BPM above that would mean that one would find herself in a 100% sugar-burning state thus not reaping any aerobic benefit from the training. This discussion raises some questions in my mind. 1. If one trains primarily within a few BPM of the MAF, for expample stays in the upper 5 bpm range during an entire training run, doesn't it mean the fat to sugar ratio would lean heavily to the sugar side? 2. If one wants to keep fat burning above 50% and sugar burning below 50% would it be more likely to happen if one stays below the MAF-10 to MAF range? 3. Or is the "curve" ralively flat once one stays below the deflection point so that it doesn't matter very much whether one is far below MAF or right below MAF while training in terms of having fat-burn being above 50%? In conclusion, back to the questions of the lost community that coolrunning was. Due to English not being my native tongue I am not familiar with the phrase "screw the pooch" - What happened to the community? Why did you guys leave?
5K, 4/28/07 24:16 PR 10K, 5/5/07 49:23 PR 1/2 M, 12/08/07 1:49:34 PR Marathon, 12/09/06 3:57:37 BQ 50K, 10/04/2009 7:27:00 PB 40M, 4/17/2010 11:20:00 PB
I got an idea today when contemplating about my 10K race pace. For people who are too old or too young, the MAF test and race pace relation table might help to identify their MAF heart rate. It goes like this, say Joe is 65 year old, He recently ran a 5K with a 23:18 time. Which means his 5K pace is 7:30 and his MAF test pace should be about 10:00 minutes per mile. But using the (180 - age) formula, Joe has to run at 115 BPM, he can run nowhere close to 10:00 minutes mile maintaining that heart rate. To find out his true MAF heart rate, Joe will run a series of MAF test, and find out at which heart rate he can get close to the predicted 10:00 minutes mile MAF test pace. It might be 125, 128, etc.
GMoney

Maffetone actually discusses this in "The Maffetone Method" - is your race 5-K race pace is faster than your predicted pace at MAF (quite common), then, he says, your aerobic system is underdeveloped and needs work. That said, Maffetone does allow that runners 65 and older may need to add 5 to 10 or so bpm to get a proper MAF. Likewise, he says, runners 16 and under should top out at 165. Trying to back into your MAF based on race times (which is what I think you're suggesting) wouldn't account for any aerobic deficency in the subject. I think Jimmy's got it right - short of regular RQ testing at the lab, then as long as MAF tests show improvement you're doing it right. How much do one of those gas exchange analyzers cost, anyway?
Whether a person has aerobic deficiency can be found out by looking at her/his race performance over a range of races. Like 5K, 10K, half marathon. If your race results has good relations (as HADD would put it), for example, your 5K race result and 10K race result line up well in Jack Daniels' VDOT table, then you have good aerobic ability and you can "back into your MAF heart rate based on race times". If your race results have no good relations, then you know your aerobic ability is not well developed and should settle for a lower MAF heart rate. This would solve the difficulty your raised here.
Maffetone actually discusses this in "The Maffetone Method" - is your race 5-K race pace is faster than your predicted pace at MAF (quite common), then, he says, your aerobic system is underdeveloped and needs work. That said, Maffetone does allow that runners 65 and older may need to add 5 to 10 or so bpm to get a proper MAF. Likewise, he says, runners 16 and under should top out at 165. Trying to back into your MAF based on race times (which is what I think you're suggesting) wouldn't account for any aerobic deficency in the subject. I think Jimmy's got it right - short of regular RQ testing at the lab, then as long as MAF tests show improvement you're doing it right. How much do one of those gas exchange analyzers cost, anyway?