I have been watching this topic for the past 4 months and I am quite interested. Ok I have a beginner question. I have been running off and on over the past 3 years. I have done around 20 5ks but never any farther and not extremely fast either. I had some surgery about 2 months ago so I am starting all over again. My question is should I get back to being able to run 3 miles without stopping or start with this now and working my way back to running.
I am 50 years old and would like to do a marathon around the end of this year even if I have to walk part of it. I am also hypoglycemic hence the reason I want to try this method of training. suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Future running partner.
What a good story! I'll do my best at your questions:
I notice that hills (down hills) are recommended. I had been doing a somewhat hilly coarse until I found a place to run with an indoor track (I live in the Northeast). I have really enjoyed running on a flat even surface and not worrying about going over MAF because I hit a slight upgrade. Is there a disadvantage to this? The advantage to me is that I am able to find a nice rythem.
Really, it's not a big deal, but it may explain why you're not seeing much in the way of pace improvement.
The faster paces you put in on the downhill segments are helpful in building running economy and keeping
you from getting fixated into a single pace. However, if you're happy with how things are going, there's
certainly nothing wrong with it.
2011 Redding (CA)
2011 Redding Marathon (CA), 2011 Yakima Marathon (WA), 2011 Eugene Marathon (OR), 2011 Newport Marathon (OR)
2011 Pacific Crest Marathon (OR), 2011 Smith Rock Summer Classic Half (OR), 2011 Haulin' Aspen Trail Half (OR)
2011 Running is for the Birds 10Km (OR), 2011 Sunriver Marathon (OR)
HERE'S A REBOOT OF THE INITIAL BOILERPLATE POST BY FORMATIONFLIER
(if the moderator's could please, copy this and put it in the first post, that'd be cool)
Just for fun, here's my adjusted version of the post I usually used to kick off such a thread at CR: Once again, we need to restart this thread given that it's getting impossible to get a post through due to its length. You probably don't need to always read the whole thread just to ask a question, but I request that you read through this post and, if still interested, read through the FAQ (click).
The FAQ is located here (click). Generally speaking, I like to focus this thread on posting results and answering questions about basebuilding, endurance building, low heart rate training, etc., using methods prescribed by Maffetone, Mark Allen, Stu Mittleman, and the like. This is far from a substitute for reading their publications, but it may be a helpful supplement and you can glean something from real people's real world experiences. My preference is to keep this a thread on real-world experiences, not a big debate on theories from experts.
For the most part, by cutting back all of my training paces tremendously, I improved times in almost all race distance categories, over a period of about a year. Examples: 1 M: 6:16 -> 5:36 2 M: 13:36 -> 12:10 5k: 21:20 -> 20:08 10k: 48:46 -> 42:24 10M: 77:45 -> 69:12 marathon: 4:03 -> 3:09 50M: 10:34 -> 7:46 100M: 18:53 (no time before low HR training to compare to!). Also, nowadays, I can regularly run 3:10-3:20 marathons, many in a year, even over a month or two, whereas a couple years ago, I struggled to break 4 hours, over and over, no matter how hard I worked in training. If you're intrigued by this discussion, I'd suggest you read the FAQ in my signature, along with some of the key links at the top that I list. One factor that seems to be important in the progress of this approach is the need to incorporate enough downhill running at fast pace (keeping heart rate up to the max MAF value - see FAQ for what that means) for a reasonable percentage of volume. In other words, make sure there's a little bit of a mix of faster paced runs in your training, which you can do while staying within the heart rate bounds by running on some extended downhills. Simply put, find a hilly course for at least some of your runs. It doesn't matter how slow you go up the hills (as long as you keep the HR in check), but make sure you go fast enough on the downs to keep your HR from getting too low. There's a 90% chance that if you have a question, it's addressed in the FAQ. Now, a few things that I should mention that are touched on in the FAQ, but I'll reiterate here.
1. This is a not a promotion of slow-running. At least not in the long term. For many that really need this, it will involve slowing down, possibly a lot at first, in order to get faster for longer distances. After 6 months to a year, your training pace may become faster than it was when you started, at 20-30 beats lower heart rate.
2. There is nothing here that implies that running everything slow will make you faster and faster, but rather that if you put in the good time at a low enough heart rate range, you should be able to extend the speed you currently have to longer distances.
3. We do tend to get in some discussions about physiology because sometimes it's important to understand certain aspects. However, I am not a physiologist and I much prefer to keep this thread about real people, real occurrences, and not about theory and quotations of famous (or not so famous) coaches and trainers. If you want quotations from coaches and trainers, then do some research, check out some books and read up! For the most part, the "example" athletes discussed by most coaches and trainers are not everyday runners like you and me. We do have a couple of physiologists who post here that can answer some related questions.
4. My experience with this has been that the lower heart rate you use, the better results, but the more painful it will be at first. Many people will argue against that and try to provide you an excuse to use a higher target heart rate. I can only say this - if anyone had that excuse, it was me, and the higher heart rate target was not successful for me. My max heart rate is at least 210 and my typical training heart rate is about 139.
5. Nowhere will I tell you that you should always run everything slow, but many people read a few lines here and there and make that interpretation. Here are a few facts about this:
a. You probably need to slow down a lot at first if you're going to use this approach.
b. You shouldn't expect to see much in the way of positive results over the short term. The results appear over weeks and months. If you want a quick fix, this is not the approach for you.
c. After several weeks, things should start to improve. If they are still getting worse after 4 weeks or so, it's time to step back and see what's going on.
d. When you are achieving success with this approach, you may continue to improve greatly, and possibly for a long time, as I have. My feeling is that while you are still improving, why mess with it? Transition to more intense training once you have gotten all of the aerobic toothpaste out of the tube.
6. If your goal is to run the fastest marathon (or other aerobic race) that you can possibly run, then eventually, you'll have to add more aggressive training. This approach represents both a phase to prepare for the next level of training as well as guidance for how to keep your easy runs truly easy when you are training more aggressively.
7. I mentioned in another recent post in the last version of this thread that there is a major paradox with aerobic development. Those who have very poor aerobic conditioning will have a terribly slow pace at a "deeply aerobic" low heart rate. These people will have to spend a lot of time at low heart rates to develop their aerobic systems and it will be painfully slow for a while. Even a very small volume of higher heart rate activities will tend to interfere with the process. I was in this category and I experienced this as have many others. Those who have strong aerobic conditioning can already run a good pace at a low heart rate. These people can add a significant volume of higher intensity stuff and can still see further aerobic development. I am in this category now. It's the ultimate insult to injury.
8. If you are in your low 20s or below or mid-50s or above, it may take some real trial and error to find a good "maximum aerobic function" heart rate. Also, if you have a very low max heart rate, the same can be said. If you are in either of these situations, I recommend that you read the Hadd article in the FAQ and follow his guidance for selecting a basebuilding heart rate. Now with that said, please read the following:
1. If you are interested in this approach, be aware that many people have become extremely frustrated and angry when all of their definitions of success have not been met, sometimes after 4 months. For me, it was 6 months of dedicated running using a conservatively low heart rate to achieve enormous (almost magical) benefits.
2. If you are starting just before or while it's hot and humid, you are likely to see little or no progress over a good period of time. That's not to imply that you won't see benefits - while those here are posting how it was extremely difficult and frustrating to control heart rate in a run, you'll see those following "traditional" approaches elsewhere on coolrunning posting how they couldn't even finish their runs.
3. If you want to be able to understand why this worked or didn't work, not only will you have to strictly adhere to the guidelines, but you will have to keep records. Keep in mind that many, many people have been highly successful with almost no recordkeeping and some cheating here and there, but when things don't work, no one can answer your questions with out specific and credible data. The posting of a few MAF tests does not constitute usable data to understand what's going right and what's going wrong.
4. Some people will absolutely require some element of downhill training to really see the pace improvement at low heart rates. Just running a dead slow pace on flat ground may cause a decay in running economy.
5. Think about what your goals are: a. to run without injury? b. to improve race times in so and so distances? c. to have race times better projected from short to long distances? d. to be able to run a good pace at low heart rates?
6. See how things are going every few weeks if your improvements are not obvious. See if any adjustments need to be made. ... If all you care about is running without injury, then you really don't need to keep records. Run below MAF for a while and see if you're not injured. That's an easy one. If improving race times is what you want, then before you start MAF training, spend a couple of months racing your distances of interest. Then after your stint of MAF training, run similar races and see what happens. Don't use your pace at low heart rates without any race times to say that you've failed if this was your objective. I don't really believe in MAF tests. Or, more specifically, I believe every run is a MAF test. Record your splits and avg HR per split for every run. Make note if you went over MAF heart rate for more than a few seconds. That's not to say you should compare every day to the previous day, but when there's a problem, you need to start looking at your detailed history. None of us can really answer any questions without it, or with just a couple of anecdotal facts (e.g., my runs this week have been crummy). When you ask the group why everything is going wrong, be prepared to answer the following questions:
1. how many miles per week have you been running for how long?
2. how old are you?
3. what value are you using for MAF heart rate?
4. what were your race times before MAF training and after MAF training?
5. what were your pace splits and avg HR per split for your runs over the past couple of months? do you have HR/pace data on a site such as motionbased that you can share? are you absolutely strict, never going above MAF on any run? what was the temperature and dewpoint during each run?
6. do you incorporate downhills into your runs? what is your heart rate on the downhill segments? what does your heart rate do on uphills?
7. do you take in any carbs within a couple of hours before your runs?
8. do you deal with a lot of stress?
9. are you on any medications?
10. do you do any other activities, such as swimming, spin class, aerobics, weightlifting, etc? are you below MAF on all?
11. what was your resting heart rate before your started MAF training? what is it now? As a reminder, my first pace was 17 min/mile on a treadmill. About 8 months later, it was in the low 7s on the treadmill, mid-8s outside. But, most importantly all of my race times improved. I have a lot of downhills in all of my runs and I speed up a lot on them. I eat nothing before or during any run. All of my activities are below MAF in training (not in races). Anyone can "catch me" being wrong on anything I say about myself. My log is public - anyone is welcome to dig through and prove me wrong. I'm sure I'm wrong quite a bit, especially as the facts age.
running log / profile / Crusted Salt comic strip / blog / running of the bulls
© 2013 RunningAHEAD, LLC. All rights reserved.