Low HR Training

12

Does MAF training really need to be overly complex and compicated? (Read 160 times)

bryada


    I am very intrigued by trying MAF training as I think my body would adapt well to it, but the more I read about it and get into the training it seems like most everyone who sticks to it for more than a few months is working on their PhD in MAF training with all kinds of formulas, tests and re-tests, graphs, weighing and re-weighing food and hydration, etc. Can I progress just doing the basics and  easy, long term use of this training without feeling like I am spending every free minute analyzing the training and methods?

    impatient


      As someone who has a PhD (although not in MAF training), I would say, YES, you can do it with out all the analysis. Some of us are just data junkies and get a fix from over analyzing every number we can assign to anything... especially running.

       

      The basics? Drink water, go slow, enjoy. Smile

       

      I imagine you'd make lovely progress, just without all the numbers and analysis that make some of us turn into ravenous Pavlov's dogs scrutinizing every minute detail. I enjoy the minutia and try to make it speak to me in its special Pavlovian way. If that's not your thing, do what you do and forget the numbers and the "testing" and data. Your way is just as valid and you are likely to reap rewards all the same.

      Smile

        I am very intrigued by trying MAF training as I think my body would adapt well to it, but the more I read about it and get into the training it seems like most everyone who sticks to it for more than a few months is working on their PhD in MAF training with all kinds of formulas, tests and re-tests, graphs, weighing and re-weighing food and hydration, etc. Can I progress just doing the basics and  easy, long term use of this training without feeling like I am spending every free minute analyzing the training and methods?

         

        Yep.  If you are really good at knowing what easy is, you don't even really need a heart rate monitor or a watch even!

         

        For newer runners, I think a HRM really helps nail down what easy really is though. (I tended to run too fast).

         

        I think most of the folks just like to check the graphs and MAF test to help identify progression.  If you are willing to wait for it, the best sign of progression would be race times once you are out of your base building period.

        Age: 46 Weight: 208 Height: 6'2" (Goal weight 195)

        Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09; HM 1:43:26; 10K 44:51; 5K 21:27

          I am very intrigued by trying MAF training 

           

          there's an active user group that can help:

           

          http://www.runningahead.com/groups/LOWHRTR

           

          answers to questions such as, "who put the MAF in the MAFALAFADINGDONG?" can be found there.

          My wife says i have a short attention spanners are great, aren't they?

          jimmyb


            Welcome to the forum, Bryada.

             

            The program is simple as pie. Determine your MAF, the run for awhile (walk if you have to) at or under it. When you feel you've developed a sufficient aerobic base, then start racing, or add some tempos in. The key to making it work is:

             

            --keep track of your speed at MAF (your aerobic speed) with either an MAF test or a run of a certain duration or distance you do that is done on the same course at MAF. If you do all your running at MAF, then there is no need for a formalized test. If your aerobic speed is improving, then your training load is fine. If it is regressing, then adjustments might have to be made. If it plateaus, wait it out for ahile, and if you don't start progressing again, adjustments might have to be made.

             

            --keep track of your resting HR. This will often cue you into how your body is holding up. An elevated or depressed resting heart rate that goes on for too long can be an indicator of overtraining, a coming illness, imbalances, etc.

             

            --rest when you need it. Don't be a slave to a schedule or to the idea that a few days of missed training will kill your fitness.

             

            This isn't too complex. It will help you to stay healthy.

             

            As far as data goes. It's important to keep some kind of log. It really comes in handy in the long run, especially with figuring out performance problems. Other than that, do your own thing (that's what everyone else is doing!). Everyone is doing what they are doing to get better, and to monitor progress.  Cool

             

            Look forward to seeing some more posts from ya.

            --Jimmy

            Log    PRs

            elasee


              As an experiment I once did a 90 min long run with my mouth closed the entire time, nose breathing only. My average heart rate for the run was 2 beats below MAF. Nose breathing is the easiest way to control your pace for aerobic base building or recovery runs without getting all caught up in the technicalities. .

                As an experiment I once did a 90 min long run with my mouth closed the entire time, nose breathing only. My average heart rate for the run was 2 beats below MAF. Nose breathing is the easiest way to control your pace for aerobic base building or recovery runs without getting all caught up in the technicalities. .

                 

                Unless you have a stuffy nose, then nose breathing doesn't work so well.  Wink

                Age: 46 Weight: 208 Height: 6'2" (Goal weight 195)

                Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09; HM 1:43:26; 10K 44:51; 5K 21:27


                I've got a fever...

                  MAF training is a crutch for people who tend to run too fast on their easy runs.  That's not necessarily a bad thing -- running too fast too often is a common mistake, especially for beginning runners.  But the physiology is dubious at best, and the formula (180-age) is simply a non-scientific way of coming up with a target heart rate number that will result in a sufficiently easy pace for most people.   And no big surprise, you start accumulating more and more miles at an easy pace, and your aerobic fitness will improve such that your easy pace gets faster.

                   

                  I begrudge no one for doing MAF training, but it really doesn't need to be too complicated.    Once you get used to training and learn how to listen to your body, there's no need for training wheels. Well, usually.  Some chronic overtrainers would be well served using a HRM on easy days just to keep things under control.

                  On your deathbed, you won't wish that you'd spent more time at the office.  But you will wish that you'd spent more time running.  Because if you had, you wouldn't be on your deathbed.

                  jimmyb


                    I've noticed this thread is showing up on the main board as well as in the Low-HR forum.

                    How does one make that happen? Interesting. Is it a glitch?

                    Log    PRs

                      I've noticed this thread is showing up on the main board as well as in the Low-HR forum.

                      How does one make that happen? Interesting. Is it a glitch?

                       

                      It's not showing up on the main board.  It's in the Low HR Training forum.

                       

                      It IS showing up in the "recent topics" section, I think Eric updated the recent topics to show up for the main forums plus any other forums that you are a member of.

                       

                      EDIT - I guess I was wrong.  There are other topics that are in the Low HR Training forum that have been replied to within the timeline of the recent topics that aren't showing up.  Maybe because it is a new post?

                      Age: 46 Weight: 208 Height: 6'2" (Goal weight 195)

                      Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09; HM 1:43:26; 10K 44:51; 5K 21:27


                      Right on Hereford...

                        MAF training is a crutch for people who tend to run too fast on their easy runs.

                         

                        Yeah, but...isn't MAF base training NOTHING BUT easy runs? Someone please explain that to me.


                        Chasing the bus

                          MAF training is a crutch for people who tend to run too fast on their easy runs.

                           

                          This is just not true. And as far as MAF HR being a made up number, all you have to do is go look at the results of people running Jimmyb's treadmill test to know there's SOMETHING there at least for most people (at MAF HR).

                           

                          Yeah, but...isn't MAF base training NOTHING BUT easy runs? Someone please explain that to me.

                          And yes, as far as I read Maffetone's method, the base-building phase is all low HR running. Above MAF HR running is saved until the very last, and, according to him, often not needed at all, especially by those of us who are not "elite" athletes.

                          “You're either on the bus or off the bus.”
                          Tom Wolfe, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test


                          I've got a fever...

                             

                            This is just not true. And as far as MAF HR being a made up number, all you have to do is go look at the results of people running Jimmyb's treadmill test to know there's SOMETHING there at least for most people (at MAF HR).

                            There's no science behind the MAF target heart rate of 180-Age.  But it's guaranteed to be in the "easy" zone for just about all runners.  So if you run a lot of miles at MAF, you are running a lot of easy aerobic miles.  And you will get faster the more mileage you build up.  No dispute there.

                             

                            MAF forces you to do all of your base training at a very easy pace.  All I'm saying is that once you learn what easy pace feels like, you don't need to obsessively monitor your heart rate know whether you're running easy enough.

                            On your deathbed, you won't wish that you'd spent more time at the office.  But you will wish that you'd spent more time running.  Because if you had, you wouldn't be on your deathbed.

                            jimmyb


                               

                              Yeah, but...isn't MAF base training NOTHING BUT easy runs? Someone please explain that to me.

                               

                              It's not all easy runs.  Think of MAF as the point or effort where your type 2 fibers begin to engage. Below that, you're pretty much using all slow-twitch fat-burning fibers. If you were to take an RQ (gas) test, that is run like a stress or V02max test,  and graph your HR along with the amount of fat and sugar you are burning, you will see a plateau and a deflection point in both the fat/sugar ratio and HR. Then you see a steep rise in the amount of sugar being used for energy and HR. Maffetone did enough of these tests that he saw it coincided with 180-age, though if you were in really good aerobic shape it could +5 beats. People who were overtrained and were aerobically deficient, would have lower deflection points. Resting RQ (the amount of fat being burned at rest) was usually very poor in over-trained, injured athletes. Some were burning nearly 100% sugar at rest.

                               

                              Understand that Dr. Maffetone built a practice of working with broken down athletes. Even Mark Allen went to him for the same reason. The program was developed through trial and error, in his attempts to help his clients get healthy, and hopefully, performing their best. He saw that they healed up when they trained under MAF. He also saw their endurance improve. Their resting RQ's improved. They became better at using fat for energy. If an athlete had not fully recovered from injury, overtraining, or deficient aerobic speed (speed at MAF HR), running above MAF often caused regression. He explains this in his books and interviews. Thus he recommended the period of purely sub-MAF.

                               

                              There's a suggested base period where you run at or under the MAF heart rate for 12 weeks or so (longer if you need to). Then you bring in the harder stuff or racing if you wish. Some people don't, they just get to racing, and do sub-MAF runs in between. The key to the program is monitoring your aerobic speed (speed at your MAF) with the MAF test--a short run at that heart rate. It should keep progressing through not only the base period but also when you start doing anaerobic work. Maffetone also saw how life-stress affected athletes. When they would be in a highly stressful period that wasn't normal, their aerobic speed would regress. If they didn't cut back on training load in this period, often they'd end up overtrained or injured.

                               

                              Read this to see how Mark Allen used it to create a very long career. The 8k test mentioned in the excerpt by Tim Noakes is the MAF Test. Allen had an aerobic base period, followed by a very intense training, then he raced. When he saw his aerobic speed was beginning to regress, he'd do another base period. He'd also take a lengthy period off every year after Kona.  Mike Pigg and Stu Mittleman are other well-known endurance athletes who trained at MAF HR. Either one of them would not characterize it as a crutch, but an essential part of their training.

                               

                              Essentially, the program is about increasing the probability of staying healthy through a hard year of training. If you're truly interested in knowing about it, check out the low-HR forum boilerplate. The top two posts explain a lot, and there are plenty of links to information. The Maffetone Method is absolutely not for everyone, but at least you'll know what's it about.  I'm not into debating it, and often that's what happens when a thread pops up on the main forum, like this one has. So, this is what I got. Hopefully, it helps you learn about what it actually is.

                              Log    PRs


                              Bad Ass

                                I agree with this.  I used MAF for my PR attempt last September and I saw an improvement in pace and effort better than with my regular approach.  Having said that, I have not decided whether I would've improved more using a Pfitz or Hanson program instead and I have not attempted one full training program to find out.

                                 

                                I have asthma and during the Summer I was getting asthma attacks during all my runs.  Using MAF really helped me get through 99% of my runs without an attack and helped me finally improve my pace (something that had evaded me from January to May, 2012).  So far, using my HRM and doing MAF has worked for me, but yes, it's basically mostly runs at very easy pace.

                                 

                                There's no science behind the MAF target heart rate of 180-Age.  But it's guaranteed to be in the "easy" zone for just about all runners.  So if you run a lot of miles at MAF, you are running a lot of easy aerobic miles.  And you will get faster the more mileage you build up.  No dispute there.

                                 

                                MAF forces you to do all of your base training at a very easy pace.  All I'm saying is that once you learn what easy pace feels like, you don't need to obsessively monitor your heart rate know whether you're running easy enough.

                                Damaris, Marathon Maniac, Ultra Runner

                                Blog

                                "The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."

                                12