Low HR Training

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Does Dr. Maffetone's 180 formula agree with other research? (Read 82 times)

jimmyb


port-a-bella-potty

    Basically, I disagree with Maffetone's premise that this ONE target provides optimal gains--at least that it can be distilled from a single formula like that.  As a pragmatist, I see the most value in its potential to "calibrate" your running to truly easy when needed.  There's no value at which sugar burning switches on (or off--we always burn some) and even HMP is almost completely aerobic--99%+.  I think the "MAF" phrase is disingenuous (which might get me crucified around here).

     

     

     

    That's not his premise. If you read his books, you'll see the program includes training at different intensities, both aerobic and anaerobic. You could say his one premise is the following: stay healthy

     

    The whole program was developed from that premise and from getting broken down athletes back to health, and keeping them that way through their hard training. Keeping them away from over-training, getting sick and injured (which is what brought almost everyone he worked with to him).

     

    It's been said many times here in this support forum, and in his books, just what the MAF is and how the formula came to be (it was not made up out of thin air--it came froma lot of experimentation with real athletes). You can see the MAF on a graph of an RQ test (respiratory quotient). It's the point where you engage your anaerobic system or fibers, albeit just a little. As soon as you increase your intensity past this point, there is a steep rise in sugar burning, due to the nature of the anaerobic fibers (some of which can be trained to burn more fat and be more aerobic). There are intensities where you are burning 100% fat, and ones where you are burning 100% sugar--this can be measured with the RQ test . Staying below MAF keeps you fully aerobic (fiber-wise), and using your red type 1 fibers. The information on the different muscles fibers and what fuel they burn when they're engaged has been out for a long time. Your type one (red) fibers do burn more sugar as you work harder, but always burn predominantly fat. Dr. Phil's definition of aerobic is a fuel (fiber) based one.

     

    Not everyone has the money or access to an RQ test (cost me $140.00--I live in a big city and it was easy to find someone). The formula, with the adjustments is the best way for people to get in the ballpark. He found that the MAF coincided with 180-age most of the time, depending on the health of the athlete, and that it gets woggy when you get into your 60's and above (he suggests adding beats if healthy).For example, a 65 year old, healthy and with a developed aerobic system, might still have an MAF of 130. This doesn't make the formula disingenuous, as he's upfront about its accuracy and that adjustments have to be made. If you want complete accuracy, get an RQ test.

     

    Ultimately, he found this program was the best way to increase your odds of staying healthy while doing something that can be very hard on the body. The program does include anaerobic work. Heck, most of us race--we don't do MAF and below running all the time--that's not what The Maffetone Method is about. The formula and the MAF test are tools to balance out your training. If you want to do intervals, fine. But at what point are there diminishing returns? At what point does the intensity begin to break down your aerobic system? The MAF test will clue you into this point. You'll see either a plateau or a slowing in aerobic speed. Is there a point when you've raced too much? Your MAF tests will clue you into when you might need a base period. It's really your aerobic system that's warning you. If your aerobic speed is getting worse while training hard, something is wrong. Something is breaking down, and you could be heading for an injury, OT, and sickness (many runners get to the starting line with a cold and respiratory infections). The MAF test is a great tool.

     

    It's a very flexible program. Often it's asked "can I do a speed workout once a week?" Sure, just monitor your aerobic speed. Dr. Phil suggests periodization---doing a period at least once a year where you run all your volume at or below MAF. He found that it is the healthiest way to develop the aerobic system. When the base period is over, either include anaerobic workouts or get racing. This doesn't mean you couldn't experiment with doing speedwork every week. Just keep in touch with your aerobic speed and how your body is feeling. Stay honest, and don't let your ego and your training method (and schedule) run you into the ground.

     

    Just to nag Cmon a bit Smile, I'll invoke Mark Allen and point out that the dude worked HARD and FAST and LONG. It wasn't all MAF and below. He did one aerobic base period per year, and would return to base work or rest a bit if his aerobic speed began to tank at any time. The MAF test was the best tool he had in his training box. The formula was neither disingenuous nor  something that kept him training at one intensity. It contributed to keeping him healthy and at a the highest level of his sport to an advanced age. It can do the same for us stressed-out amateurs. Experiment, but stay in touch with your MAF speed.

    Log    PRs

       

      That's not his premise. If you read his books, you'll see the program includes training at different intensities, both aerobic and anaerobic. You could say his one premise is the following: stay healthy 

       

      This is fair--I've read two of his books, including The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing.  I admit I was responding more to the reductionist view of his actual training methods that too many people seem to have (or act on), especially online (and not necessarily here).  Happens. Smile

       

      I do agree with you, though--and I think we were just discussing the "180 method" as a roundabout way to do what the RQ method makes precise and just talking numbers and experience with playing with training.

      "When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem." 
      Emil Zatopek

      jimmyb


      port-a-bella-potty

         

        This is fair--I've read two of his books, including The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing.  I admit I was responding more to the reductionist view of his actual training methods that too many people seem to have (or act on), especially online (and not necessarily here).  Happens. Smile

         

        I do agree with you, though--and I think we were just discussing the "180 method" as a roundabout way to do what the RQ method makes precise and just talking numbers and experience with playing with training.

         

        Oh, BTW, welcome to the forum, Gilbert!! Cool I usually start with that. Just got back from some heavy travel and am a bit time-zone whacky, and forgot my manners.

         

        You're correct about the reductionism that goes on. The common misperception is that it's running the same slow speed all the time. It's only slow when your aerobic system is underdeveloped, or there is some other problem (like OT). You should get faster over time, and it can get quite fast at MAF.

         

        I look forward to your posts.

        --JimmyCool

        Log    PRs

          No welcome actually necessary, Jimmy Smile.  I've been on here for almost two years (RA, that is) and poke around in the Low-HR forum since...since...I'm not sure.  A year and a half or so?

           

          My posting always comes and goes in waves (both in here and in the GSP).  Now just happen to be an "on" time.  MAF's the cake of my training, generally.  The rest is icing.  Despite some sickness-and-surgery interruptions, I've made pretty steady progress with it.  (Though, any consistent training would do that for me now.  I'm a less-than-two-years-running newbie.)  I do credit easy-effort MAF based running with how much mileage I can handle already though.  When's work's not so busy, I've hit 80-90 several times in a week.

           

           

           

           

          Oh, BTW, welcome to the forum, Gilbert!! Cool I usually start with that. Just got back from some heavy travel and am a bit time-zone whacky, and forgot my manners.

           

          You're correct about the reductionism that goes on. The common misperception is that it's running the same slow speed all the time. It's only slow when your aerobic system is underdeveloped, or there is some other problem (like OT). You should get faster over time, and it can get quite fast at MAF.

           

          I look forward to your posts.

          --JimmyCool

          "When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem." 
          Emil Zatopek

          jimmyb


          port-a-bella-potty

            Well, whether it be my aging brain or we've been missing each other, you're new to me today. LOL. So, welcome to my impermanent reality. I almost just quoted Buckaroo Banzai, but refrained in order to stay in line with my devotion to avoiding overused cliches and quotes from movies. Practice makes perfect. Oops. Well, I'll just get right back on the horse. Oops. Well, I guess I'm just human. Darn...

            Cool

             

             

            No welcome actually necessary, Jimmy Smile.  I've been on here for almost two years (RA, that is) and poke around in the Low-HR forum since...since...I'm not sure.  A year and a half or so?

             

            My posting always comes and goes in waves (both in here and in the GSP).  Now just happen to be an "on" time.  MAF's the cake of my training, generally.  The rest is icing.  Despite some sickness-and-surgery interruptions, I've made pretty steady progress with it.  (Though, any consistent training would do that for me now.  I'm a less-than-two-years-running newbie.)  I do credit easy-effort MAF based running with how much mileage I can handle already though.  When's work's not so busy, I've hit 80-90 several times in a week.

             

             

             

            Log    PRs

              Heh, no worries.  I lurk WAY more than I post, so that's probably the source of it.

               

              Especially when I am (or, as is the case right now, should be) grading essays nightly.  If it wasn't for all the reading, the writing, the teaching, and the grading, it'd be so much easier to find time to train :-P.

               

              Well, whether it be my aging brain or we've been missing each other, you're new to me today. LOL. So, welcome to my impermanent reality. I almost just quoted Buckaroo Banzai, but refrained in order to stay in line with my devotion to avoiding overused cliches and quotes from movies. Practice makes perfect. Oops. Well, I'll just get right back on the horse. Oops. Well, I guess I'm just human. Darn...

              Cool

               

               

              "When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem." 
              Emil Zatopek

                When I do progression runs, warm-up aside, I only do a mile at each level, basically +6bpm per level.  I do four or five of the increasing miles.

                 

                I only did trail racing during the 8:30 --> 7:15 phase, so hard to say :-P.

                 

                Before the half, my MAF times were more typically 7:30 - 7:50.  It wasn't until after it that I hit 7:15s again.  I lost a surprising amount of fitness to two bouts of illness this winter (bronchitis once, severe flu once) ;-P.  The "minute gap" in easy/low-HR to half marathon pace.  Oh well.  Can't keep the plague away when I teach highschoolers.  :-P

                 

                I plan, fully, to race a couple more times soon Smile.  The problem is, of course, that my love of trail races make comparisons hard...oh well.

                 

                I "feel like" I'd be able to better that time by about a minute right now, and feel much stronger than I did even a few weeks ago.  One way to find out :-D

                 

                I dislike running at LT pace, too.  I don't know if my track work was too hard, but I feel kinda like "dying" at what was definitely my half marathon pace.  I think a lot of it is mental--I am totally willing to suffer in a race...less so in training.

                 

                Heh, I can do the nose breathing thing, too--even for a few miles at LT, to boot.  I have always blamed it on how big my nose it. :-D

                 

                 

                ok well good luck to next races Smile

                 

                I also don't like to suffer too much in training compared to when racing. still, I'm ok with the faster workouts. maybe because they are done in a short time, not racing it full all-out (=in training workouts I don't allow myself much time feeling the crappy way I do in the last part of races). time flies past fast, faster pace feels enjoyable, etc. Smile

                 

                I can do nose breathing at LT but it feels a bit forced after a while so I don't bother.  cool I'm not alone with this big nose thing though Tongue

                   

                  Just to nag Cmon a bit Smile, I'll invoke Mark Allen and point out that the dude worked HARD and FAST and LONG. It wasn't all MAF and below. He did one aerobic base period per year, and would return to base work or rest a bit if his aerobic speed began to tank at any time. The MAF test was the best tool he had in his training box. The formula was neither disingenuous nor  something that kept him training at one intensity. It contributed to keeping him healthy and at a the highest level of his sport to an advanced age. It can do the same for us stressed-out amateurs. Experiment, but stay in touch with your MAF speed.

                   

                  well hey thanks for the nagging :P

                   

                  I like how you explained (besides some other great points) how it's actually a very flexible program, MAF'ing. I still don't know where all the misconceptions come from about just running slow all the time. the topic of aerobic endurance is a lot more complex than that for sure.

                   

                  the formula I do have some issues with but if nothing else, it works even for me in terms of doing a MAF test. (I actually have more than one kind of test though)

                   

                  so anyway... let's all have fun experimenting Wink

                    I don't know, but it is there.  People in my running group (it's decently sized, like 160+) are routinely shocked to find out that I do heart rate-based training, not just low-HR.  Number one reason for shock: "But I thought that meant you'd run slow all the time.  How do you do these group runs?"

                     

                    Nevermind that the group runs are usually slower than my solo ones now, I still am asked, "Do you find yourself having to slow down a lot?  Doesn't it bug you to have to slow down on every run?"

                     

                    Then the whole, "Well, sure, I had to slow down at first.  A lot.  You know, there was a long time when it was over 10+/mile, sometimes after a really bad race, I might be as slow as 12-13+, but in general, I've just gradually and naturally gotten faster over the past year and a half..." [INSERT HALF HOUR EXPLANATION ABOUT JUST SLOWING DOWN AT FIRST BUT ENDING UP FASTER.]

                     

                    And then, post-run, it ends with something like, "I don't know.  I mean, it's great it works for you, but I don't want to have to slow my runs down."

                     

                    So...in other words, it's not this forum's fault (and it's certainly not Maffetone's fault) that people have a skewed view of HR-training in general and Low-HR in particular.  I honestly don't know where it comes from.  The HR trainers in the group I run with are some of the faster people, generally.  And none of them "run slow all the time."  And yet the perception is there.  *shrug*

                     

                    Oh, and JimmyB, I'm planning to get an RQ test this summer.  There's a place like ~45 minutes away that does them. :-D

                     

                    I'm actually kind of excited about that, and I'm curious if it will end up changing my training in any way...or if the "sweet spot" I've found is accurate.

                     

                     

                    I like how you explained (besides some other great points) how it's actually a very flexible program, MAF'ing. I still don't know where all the misconceptions come from about just running slow all the time. the topic of aerobic endurance is a lot more complex than that for sure.

                     

                    the formula I do have some issues with but if nothing else, it works even for me in terms of doing a MAF test. (I actually have more than one kind of test though)

                    "When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem." 
                    Emil Zatopek

                    Shondek


                      Hi Gilbert I too am looking forward to your RQ test results to see if they are in line with your maf formula score..I was was going to get it done also until i spoke to the bloke who carries the tests out.He allows a 10 minute warm-up..at that point I cancelled my appointment Smile..Another way to determine maf is to do a walk test ..then increase your training pace until your maf walks start getting slower..

                        I don't know, but it is there.  People in my running group (it's decently sized, like 160+) are routinely shocked to find out that I do heart rate-based training, not just low-HR.  Number one reason for shock: "But I thought that meant you'd run slow all the time.  How do you do these group runs?"

                         

                        Nevermind that the group runs are usually slower than my solo ones now, I still am asked, "Do you find yourself having to slow down a lot?  Doesn't it bug you to have to slow down on every run?"

                         

                        Then the whole, "Well, sure, I had to slow down at first.  A lot.  You know, there was a long time when it was over 10+/mile, sometimes after a really bad race, I might be as slow as 12-13+, but in general, I've just gradually and naturally gotten faster over the past year and a half..." [INSERT HALF HOUR EXPLANATION ABOUT JUST SLOWING DOWN AT FIRST BUT ENDING UP FASTER.]

                         

                        And then, post-run, it ends with something like, "I don't know.  I mean, it's great it works for you, but I don't want to have to slow my runs down."

                         

                        So...in other words, it's not this forum's fault (and it's certainly not Maffetone's fault) that people have a skewed view of HR-training in general and Low-HR in particular.  I honestly don't know where it comes from.  The HR trainers in the group I run with are some of the faster people, generally.  And none of them "run slow all the time."  And yet the perception is there.  *shrug*

                         

                        Oh, and JimmyB, I'm planning to get an RQ test this summer.  There's a place like ~45 minutes away that does them. :-D

                         

                        I'm actually kind of excited about that, and I'm curious if it will end up changing my training in any way...or if the "sweet spot" I've found is accurate.

                         

                         

                        I'll be curious to see your RQ results!

                         

                        interesting about people thinking that using a HRM is just about running slow. lol.

                         

                        but maybe they meant they don't want to slow down initially? some people might have trouble even with just that.

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