Low HR Training

1

Training below your MAF heart rate (Read 1083 times)

jimmyb


    Hi Gang,

     

    There's been some discussion about working out below

    your MAF over in the daily report thread. I thought

    I'd address this topic in a new thread to give

    a space to discuss it, and have it be searchable

    as a topic.

     

    Working out below MAF can be very beneficial to the aerobic system and your endurance.

    If you return to the source, Dr. Phil, and Training For Endurance, he writes on page 92 (Maffetone, Phillip. Training For Endurance, Edition 2. USA: David Barmore Productions, ©2000):

     

    "...I have emphasized the importance of raising the heart rate to the

    maximum aerobic function (MAF). But what if you don't feel like working out

    with that high a heart rate on a given day? Will you still derive aerobic

    benefits?

     

    The answer is yes--you will still receive aerobic benefits even if your

    heart rate is not at your maximum aerobic level. You actually burn a

    higher percentage of fat during this workout and incorporate aerobic fibers

    you may otherwise not use.

     

    I have observed many athletes who initially did not wish to be competitiive,

    but derived great aerobic benefits by training at lower aerobic levels--below

    their aerobic range. Adding more intense aerobic work onto that type of base

    often produces a great endurance athlete..."

    ____End Quote_______

     

     

    In this forum, and in others, I often suggest to beginners that if they

    can't run and stay under their MAF, then they should probably be walking, until

    they can't walk fast enough to get their HR up to their MAF.  The case study

    that was discussed in an earlier thread is an example of what can happen

    if you allow the body to build in its own time, and ready itself for running.

    I will even suggest this to experienced runners who complain that they

    can't run and stay under MAF at the same time. Not being able to do

    so is a major sign that a runner's aerobic system is shot, and that a rebuild

    is necessary. In an experienced runner, this can indicate overtraining as well.

     

    Other factors that a person needs too consider is anemia and/or iron deficiency.

    This can show up as a major regression in aerobic speed, as well as

    training and race times. A good friend of mine--a female-- was experiencing

    this exact thing. She was not progressing at MAF or below, and just kept

    getting worse and worse. Turns out she was severely anemic, despite

    the fact that her everyday energy levels seemed okay. This is not just

    a female problem, as men can experience the same condition.

     

    Formationflier, a former participant in this forum, often worked out

    way below his MAF. He saw progression for a number of years, and

    was an awesome endurance athlete.

     

    Since I began training with the Maffetone Method principles, almost

    all my long runs have used a heart rate plan that starts way below

    MAF, and ending up there at the end of the run. I've gone as low

    as MAF-30 to start.

     

    Currently, I use MAF -20 to MAF-15 on recovery days, and

    MAF-15 to MAF on long runs, and a weekly MAF test

    as an at-MAF workout. I've seen progress with this

    type of set-up.

     

    In the past, I've experiemented with doing 3 MAF tests on

    3 consecutive days, and found I was a little tired afterwords.

    Another indicator that an MAF test, when done for 5 miles,

    regardless of time, is a hard workout, and that a recovery

    day is needed the next day.

     

    One thing I've seen many newbies and experienced runners do

    when starting this program is that they don't really take recovery days.

    Some never take a day of rest, or a week off, being obsessed with the notion that

    if they do rest they will lose fitness. They will run 2:00 one day, and

    1:20 the next. Or perhaps one hour at their MAF ( a one hour run

    at MAF -20 would be a completely different story--much less stressful).

    Often, these runners won't see any progress. If it is not due

    to a physical malady (like anemia), then it is most

    likely that they are not getting enough recovery.

     

    The other reason for not seeing progress is that they have

    calculated their MAF too high. Experienced runners

    will often take the +5 beats on top of the 180-age

    (I did this), when they probably should be running

    at 180-age(-5 beats), because what brough them

    to MAF training is an injury, or feeling tired,

    or they keep hitting the wall in the marathon. All

    signs of aerobic deficiency.

     

    Running below MAF just on recovery days can make a huge difference.

    Even if you aren't in the aerobic base phase, and are running

    at heart rates above MAF on hard days, and during races.

    It's about managing stress, and allowing the body to recover.

     

    If you aren't progressing at all, it could be:

    --lack of recovery

    --working out at MAF too much

    --your calculated MAF is too high

    --not enough training load, and some increase in time might be necessary

    --lack of rest days

    --too much training load

    --anemia or iron-deficiency

    --too much sugar in diet and not enough good fat (like olive and fish oils)

     

    Running below your MAF, at least on recovery days, can really help

    in most cases. It will never hurt.

     

    --Jimmy

    Log    PRs

      very very nice sum-up!

       

      one thing does leave me confused though... you say a MAF test of running 5 miles at MAF is a hard workout... now I feel confused. I can do 10miles at MAF, I feel nothing and I go out next day and the next as if nothing had happened... my MAF too low or my stress tolerance very good ?

       

      (my MAF is 180-age, no adjustments)

      Anne47


        As usual you bring clarity to this often confusing MAF method. There are some points you outlined that definitely may apply to me and what I have been doing. I shall have to ponder a bit and decide what to do from here on in. I am certainly getting frustrated at my lack of progress but remain a believer in MAF principles. I'm just not sure where to go next. If only I was younger and fit nicely into the 180-age formula....

         

        Nevertheless, thank you for taking the time to clarify for us all what MAF training is supposed to be. I will certainly be coming back to your post as I try to work out what I should be doing.

         


        jimmyb


          I consider an MAF test a hard workout, especially if it is a 5-mile test.

          Including warm-up, it comes out to over an hour, and for some, well

          over an hour.

           

          Now you may feel great after a 10-miler, which might take you 1:30 to 2:00.

          You're supposed to feel okay. MAF base training doesn't kill you.

          But it is still a hard workout. Following it up with runs well over an hour the next day is hard/hard in my book.

          Might not be in yours. But I've seen that sort of scheduling catch up with some people

          on this forum, and they end up with sore spots developing, leading to being overtrained or injured.

          Several people who weren't progressing were running everythiing over an hour, and rarely

          taking a rest day. 9 times out of ten, when someone comes up lame, they

          are overdoing it and not getting enough real recovery. You can see it in their

          running logs.

           

          The idea of a recovery/easy day is to recover. Using sub-maf

          on easy days is not a bad idea. If someone prefers everything

          at MAF, then a briefer run might work better. One has to

          figure these things out for oneself, using the MAF test

          and the body as a guide.

           

          There is a lot of room to grow and the potential is great, for example,

          to move towards the realm of a Pam Reed or Dean Karnazes, and other runners who

          seem to have developed bodies that recover quickly. The mistake I've made, and others have as well,

          is thinking you're there before you are, and emulating their behavior and training.

          You have to know where and who you are. That self-knowledge grows over time through

          lots of mistakes.

           

          --Jimmy

          Log    PRs

            I consider an MAF test a hard workout, especially if it is a 5-mile test.

            Including warm-up, it comes out to over an hour, and for some, well

            over an hour.

             

            Now you may feel great after a 10-miler, which might take you 1:30 to 2:00.

            You're supposed to feel okay. MAF base training doesn't kill you.

            But it is still a hard workout. Following it up with runs well over an hour the next day is hard/hard in my book.

            Might not be in yours. But I've seen that sort of scheduling catch up with some people

            on this forum, and they end up with sore spots developing, leading to being overtrained or injured.

            Several people who weren't progressing were running everythiing over an hour, and rarely

            taking a rest day. 9 times out of ten, when someone comes up lame, they

            are overdoing it and not getting enough real recovery. You can see it in their

            running logs.

             

            The idea of a recovery/easy day is to recover. Using sub-maf

            on easy days is not a bad idea. If someone prefers everything

            at MAF, then a briefer run might work better. One has to

            figure these things out for oneself, using the MAF test

            and the body as a guide.

             

            There is a lot of room to grow and the potential is great, for example,

            to move towards the realm of a Pam Reed or Dean Karnazes, and other runners who

            seem to have developed bodies that recover quickly. The mistake I've made, and others have as well,

            is thinking you're there before you are, and emulating their behavior and training.

            You have to know where and who you are. That self-knowledge grows over time through

            lots of mistakes.

             

            --Jimmy

             

             

            haha, I wish the 10mile at MAF would be only 1:30, no it is more like 2 hours. I do make sure that the following day is a shorter run because I read about the easy/hard principle, even if it doesn't feel hard to me.

             

            anyway, what I got confused about was this part specifically:

             

            In the past, I've experiemented with doing 3 MAF tests on

            3 consecutive days, and found I was a little tired afterwords

             

            what I'm trying to say is that I don't feel tired after 3 consecutive days with 5-mile MAF runs on each day. I actually do more than that without feeling tired in the least.

             

            so if I don't feel anything what would that indicate? MAF too low or just good stress tolerance? I'm 27 by the way and with a life style that's quite low in stress. so I'm leaning towards good tolerance Smile

             

            just simply wondering why it is that some people feel MAF running is hard/tiring to do and some feel it is very easy.

              As usual you bring clarity to this often confusing MAF method. There are some points you outlined that definitely may apply to me and what I have been doing. I shall have to ponder a bit and decide what to do from here on in. I am certainly getting frustrated at my lack of progress but remain a believer in MAF principles. I'm just not sure where to go next. If only I was younger and fit nicely into the 180-age formula....

               

              Nevertheless, thank you for taking the time to clarify for us all what MAF training is supposed to be. I will certainly be coming back to your post as I try to work out what I should be doing.

               


               

               

               

              your training depends what you want... what I want is develop my aerobic base because my aerobic-anaerobic systems aren't balanced and I want to be good at long distances so I must develop the aerobic base and I need the balance for running a good marathon. I can improve aerobic system off anaerobic stuff too but this balance will not be achieved if I just do anaerobic training periods. plus I'm less injury prone this way Smile

               

              about guessing at your MAF, you could start a run at a specific HR, hold an even pace and see if your HR climbs up much or not, in the next 30-60 mins. if it doesn't drift, then this is at or below your MAF.

               

              but this is just my definition of this... oh and formationflier said something similar too.. in my case, I know MAF+10 will drift, MAF+5 sometimes doesn't, sometimes does. but I've had some runs where even MAF+10 didn't drift, so I think HR is a bit variable depending on the day... so it is good to have a little error margin for your MAF i.e. being just a little bit conservative - but not too conservative.

               

              I also have noticed some other things but it may be individual: if I keep at MAF my legs will not get "heavy" later into the run or after the run. if I go a few beats above it (say, MAF+10) then I can get that feeling... it may be subtle but it is there. I also get a very subtle feeling of "load" in my body. very, very subtle at +10 but it increases as I increase my HR... of course this is again subjective definition because it's not verified by anyone officially whether I should feel these things at MAF or not but I tend to believe that I shouldn't.

              jimmyb


                 

                 

                haha, I wish the 10mile at MAF would be only 1:30, no it is more like 2 hours. I do make sure that the following day is a shorter run because I read about the easy/hard principle, even if it doesn't feel hard to me.

                 

                anyway, what I got confused about was this part specifically:

                 

                In the past, I've experiemented with doing 3 MAF tests on

                3 consecutive days, and found I was a little tired afterwords

                 

                what I'm trying to say is that I don't feel tired after 3 consecutive days with 5-mile MAF runs on each day. I actually do more than that without feeling tired in the least.

                 

                so if I don't feel anything what would that indicate? MAF too low or just good stress tolerance? I'm 27 by the way and with a life style that's quite low in stress. so I'm leaning towards good tolerance Smile

                 

                just simply wondering why it is that some people feel MAF running is hard/tiring to do and some feel it is very easy.

                 

                I'm not exhausted after a 2 hour run, nor an MAF test, but I know from experience that the 2 hour run is a hard run. If I were to do 2 hour runs every day, I would ultimately break down.

                That experiment I did with the 3 MAF tests proved to me that runs at MAF over an hour are hard runs for me.

                I felt tired after the third one. I felt like I had done three hard days in a row. I now consider anything over an hour a hard run. It's personal. Are you still confused?

                 

                I also know from spending a lot of time in these forums that some often think that because they feel good after

                running 2 hours at MAF, that they then can go out and do the same thing the next day, or do an 80-90 minute run

                at MAF day after day without recovery runs or rest. Sure, 80 minutes is less than 2 hours, but for many, it's not a recovery run. Eventually, it catches up with them. It's the time on your feet that matters, not the distance.

                 

                If you'd like an answer to your question: it doesn't necessarily indicate anything. It's supposed to feel good after a MAF run. You don't feel anything after an MAF run--great.  Perhaps you are in fine shape, progressing nicely in your MAF tests, and able to recover quickly. It looks like in your log that you are taking ample rest days, which really helps. Some feel tired because they are doing too much too soon, and any number of reasons (that I listed in the initial post). Perhaps two hours is too long for someone, and they need to work up to that. They got there too fast.

                 

                Sub-MAF running is a valid choice for those emerging from overtraining and high stress. Or from injury. It also adds variety to a weekly schedule. Using it on recovery days can be very helpful. Just as you feeling good after every run doesn't  necessarily indicate anything, using a strategy to help heal from overtraining and injury that includes MAF-20 runs doesn't indicate anything about such a runner and his or her potential. It's just a strategy. It might indicate that the runner is thinking things out and is being wise about getting there from there.

                 

                 

                Keep going, C!

                --Jimmy

                 

                 

                Log    PRs


                Consistently Slow

                  +1

                  Run until the trail runs out.

                  2014***1500 miles 09/28/14

                  50miler 13:26:18

                  Race Less Train More

                   

                  Ana Trason  "Living Her Life"

                  "The Marble in The Groove"

                   

                  unsolicited chatter

                  http://bkclay.blogspot.com/

                     

                     

                    I'm not exhausted after a 2 hour run, nor an MAF test, but I know from experience that the 2 hour run is a hard run. If I were to do 2 hour runs every day, I would ultimately break down.

                    That experiment I did with the 3 MAF tests proved to me that runs at MAF over an hour are hard runs for me.

                    I felt tired after the third one. I felt like I had done three hard days in a row. I now consider anything over an hour a hard run. It's personal. Are you still confused?

                     

                    I also know from spending a lot of time in these forums that some often think that because they feel good after

                    running 2 hours at MAF, that they then can go out and do the same thing the next day, or do an 80-90 minute run

                    at MAF day after day without recovery runs or rest. Sure, 80 minutes is less than 2 hours, but for many, it's not a recovery run. Eventually, it catches up with them. It's the time on your feet that matters, not the distance.

                     

                    If you'd like an answer to your question: it doesn't necessarily indicate anything. It's supposed to feel good after a MAF run. You don't feel anything after an MAF run--great.  Perhaps you are in fine shape, progressing nicely in your MAF tests, and able to recover quickly. It looks like in your log that you are taking ample rest days, which really helps. Some feel tired because they are doing too much too soon, and any number of reasons (that I listed in the initial post). Perhaps two hours is too long for someone, and they need to work up to that. They got there too fast.

                     

                    Sub-MAF running is a valid choice for those emerging from overtraining and high stress. Or from injury. It also adds variety to a weekly schedule. Using it on recovery days can be very helpful. Just as you feeling good after every run doesn't  necessarily indicate anything, using a strategy to help heal from overtraining and injury that includes MAF-20 runs doesn't indicate anything about such a runner and his or her potential. It's just a strategy. It might indicate that the runner is thinking things out and is being wise about getting there from there.

                     

                     

                    Keep going, C!

                    --Jimmy

                     

                     

                     

                     

                     

                     

                    thanks. not confused anymore because you replied to my question. Smile

                     

                    no, I wouldn't try doing 2 hour runs everyday because my joints would break down after a few days... I'm quite a beginner, joints need 1-2 years to get fully used to running, let's not forget that Smile (and even then, daily 2 hours is only for people who have extremely strong legs, right?)

                    and yeah, I didn't start with 2 hour runs right away. I built up to that time (and longer) over a few months after I started running. funnily enough, when starting MAF, I had to go back and start building up to 2 hours again... endurance wasn't a problem but MAF running was a very different experience for my legs that they had to get used to.

                     

                    I also don't do 80 minutes every day because that's about the boundary beyond which my body seems to get extra load. I don't feel this load but a slight but distinct HR drift does happen and my joints are gradually less happy about the run as it continues beyond 80-90 minutes. so, I don't do 80+ minutes every day, being cautious. I'm actually fine with doing 80-90mins for several days in a row but I don't want to get injured or anything so I'm trying to avoid stretching my limits so I add shorter days in between.

                     

                    on the other hand, I'm just fine with 1 hour or 1 hour 10 minutes every day, no HR drift, no problems at all, and the MAF test fits in that time just fine. I don't have any limits for days with such durations. so this is why I said that 3 days of MAF tests in a row is not tiring at all (I often do more than that in 3 days!). all in all, for me MAF test (5 miles) is considered a short/easy run.

                     

                    anyway, what I was originally thinking about was that some people who get tired could have their MAF at a higher point of load than me. "load" doesn't mean perceived exertion, it means stress on body. as we all know the formula is not perfect.

                    no, I'm not trying to say that I should add beats to my MAF because I prefer to have an error margin anyway (just not a too big error margin but I'm sure my MAF HR is fine in terms of that). so this is purely out of curiosity :P

                     

                    by the way, I'm not sure why you stressed the point that MAF-20 runs don't indicate anything bad about the runner... I think nobody thinks it would imply anything about potential. the most it can indicate is that the runner is able to run at a very low HR, which can only be good. I think that's even kind of cool, being able to run at some crazy low HR! perhaps it can also indicate that the runner likes slow paces but that's not a good or bad thing :P

                    Can I be Frank


                    Walk This Way...this way

                      Hmmm,
                      Awesome treatise, Jimmy! Sheds major light on my aerobic struggles.
                      Ironically, I'd just started to take baby steps back into the sub-maf  realm. It's helped some.
                      Your posting serves as a guiding light; an excellent road map.
                      I see so much of myself within, and need to start behavin'!

                      (but, keepin' a log, regular maf tests!?...Seriously??)

                      Okay, but one step at a time.

                      Raining presently, so this is a recovery day.    
                      ts