Hey Gang of Maffers,
As many of you know, I am a staunch MAF aerobic base phase practitioner. Over the years I've tried
many things at and below the MAF ceiling, for fun and experimentation. Here is a list of things you
might try that I've tried.
Remember that the basic rules of the aerobic base period are:
--stay at or below you MAF
--do regular MAF tests every 2-4 weeks or so. Every week if you like and if it doesn't make you obsessed. Do not ignore the results of your tests. Make adjustments.
--build volume, but not too fast, especially if you are a beginner
--always take 15-30 minutes to warm-up to your zone or target HR.
--always cooldown at least 15-30 minutes
--don't get too whiney
--remember that you have personal relationships to attend to
--don't stick peas in your nose. They're very difficult to get out, and causes undo mental stress.
For Fun and Experimentation*
*aerobic intervals and downhills are Dr. Phil Maffetone's ideas
--running at MAF: do runs that are at your MAF, using a tiny zone like MAF -2 to MAF
--use a ten beat zone of MAF to MAF -10. Get to MAF -10 by the end of your warm-up, then hold that pace or feel, slowing down if you need to, in order to stay at MAF or in the zone.
-- aerobic intervals: warm-up to MAF -10, then run a certain amount of time at MAF-10 (e.g. 5 minutes), then speed up, getting your HR to MAF, then hold that speed for 5 minutes, then slow down, getting your HR to MAF -10. Repeat. You can play with this idea, using longer intervals, or shorter.
--aerobic fartlek: play with speeds in an unstructured manner, using MAF as the ceiling. E.G. Run keeping your HR at MAF-20, and then speed up for 10 seconds, slowing down before your HR goes over MAF. You can work with different speeds and intervals. No plan. Just play.
--aerobic uphills: Run a course where you get in 1-2 hills per mile or loop. Keeping your HR always at or below MAF. Treadmill is good for this.
--aerobic fartlekkian uphills: Keep your HR at MAF -10, then run hills of varying lengths and inclines, allowing your HR to get to MAF, then go back to flat and MAF-10. Play.
----aerobic downhill running: Find a hill that is .25 miles or longer (the longer the better) and with an incline that doesn't pound your body or make you lose your form. Run or walk up the hill, keeping your HR to MAF or MAF-10 or lower, then run back down the hill at your MAF. Repeat a few times. This is a nervous system stimulant that helps with developing aerobic speed and turnover.
--sub sub MAF recovery runs: On your easy days (always follow a hard day with an easy day--good policy) run at a pace that keeps you at MAF-10 or below.
--MAF walk/run intervals: Run at MAF, then walk at a fast pace that isn't overly uncomfortable. Switching back and forth. If you are an ultra runner and use walk breaks, this is good practice. THis is also a good one for a minor injury that starts to hurt after (e.g) ten minutes of running, but doesn't hurt when you walk.
--Run/Walk intervals and MAF walking for Newbies: New to the Maffetone Method? You might be a new runner or jus new to the method and you find yourself running paces that are are very slow where you could walk faster than you could run at the same HR (MAF and below). Try running at MAF (small zone of MAF -2 to MAF) for the amount you can stand mentally, then walk for a time trying to keep your HR in the MAF to MAF -10 zone. Keep repeating. If you can't run and stay at MAF, I suggest that you walk first, keeping your HR in the MAF to MAF -10 zone. When you can no longer walk fast enough to get to that zone, then start to run.
--heart time running: this is something I created based on the fact that the heart rate is reflecting the stress on the body. If you were to get on a treadmill and keep it at a certain speed, you will eventually see a big jump in your HR. For example, you might see a steady rise of 1-2 beats per mile, and even a plateau for awhile, then after 1- 2 hours depending on fitness, you will see a 4-5 beat jump and a continuing sharp rise in your HR. The HR is reflecting an increased stress on the body due to exhaustion of fibers, core heat build-up and dehydration. I tried stopping the run when I saw that spike. Thus heart-time. I streamlined it to a zone with MAF as the ceiling. I would start the run at the bottom of the zone (EG a zone of MAF-15 to MAF), then maintain the same speed. As soon as I reached the top of the zone, and could no longer maintain speed at MAF, I would end the run. You can also just run at MAF or a particular sub-MAF HR. There will be normal slowing, but as soon as you see major slowing (and you know what that is when you see it), stop the run. The core idea of heart-time running is to reduce the stress that might be putting you over the edge into over-training. Worth an experiment.
--heart time recovery runs: warm-up to a 5 beat zone below MAF. E.G if your MAF is 130 bpm, warm-up to 117, then hold 117 for about ten minutes, then hold that pace until you reach the top of a 5 beat zone (117-122), and can no longer maintain the same speed. I cap these runs at an hour. My MAF is currently 126 and use a zone of 113-118.
There's some ideas for the base period. Of course, these can be used during the anaerobic phase and race seasons as well.