Low HR Training

1

Help a Noob? (Read 342 times)

kopid905


    Hey guys, I'm looking to start building a good base using MAF.  Just got a Garmin (410) and HRM yesterday.  I don't have any races coming up, probably won't be doing one till next spring or so.  But I just ran a 50k last weekend and would like to run a few more of them next year as well as a couple 50 milers.  I think this type of training would help me a lot, just based on how I felt toward the end of the 50k.  I'd love to get back near my PRs for some of the shorter stuff too if possible (16 min 5k, 34 10k, 1:16 half).

     

    I think I'll be going with a heart rate of 155, I am 25 and have been training for 10 years, but I've had injuries in the past year, so I don't want to add 5. 

     

    I read a bunch of posts on here, but I still had a couple questions.

     

    1. Do you guys do strides during the base phase to keep turnover?  I'm thinking 4 strides (<1 min total) a couple times a week probably wouldn't hurt the base building efforts.  But what do you guys do?

     

    2. I'll probably get out and do a MAF test this weekend on the track, not sure what to expect.  But after the warmup, how do you run the test so that you already are average MAF heart rate for the first mile of the test?  Or do you allow yourself to be a little low for that first mile?

     

    3.  Are there any problems with doing a MAF base period like this for too long?  For instance, if my MAF tests start to plateau, would it be a good idea to go through a sharpening phase even if I don't have a race?  Run some faster stuff and maybe do a time trial or two?

     

    Thanks for any help.

      I'm still a noob as well, but I'll respond with my personal experience.

       

      From my understanding you shouldn't do anything extra during your 3 month base building phase other than slow runs.  Focus should be 100% on keeping your HR in line. 

       

      With that said, it is pretty hard for some people to do.  I ran some club races during my 3 month base building phase and my MAF progression kept improving so I don't think they hurt me too much.  I just ran 1 race a month and didn't do any other speedwork at all.  The only time my HR got over MAF was once a month during those runs.  I'm just starting out though and I'm making big jumps in my overall conditioning so that might not work for someone that is already in really good shape.  I also might have made quicker progress if I hadn't run the races, hard to say one way or the other, but they didn't seem to hurt my base building too much if they did.  I would think throwing in some strides here and there wouldn't affect you very much, but you wouldn't want to make it part of your daily routine for sure.  You might could throw them in once a week and get away with it but maybe not.  With that said, I would probably not do them a couple times a week.  Save them for when you are done with your base building and focus on base building.

       

      Technically I think you are supposed to warm up for a mile to get your HR to MAF right at the end of the first mile.  Slowly build to that.  In reality, I just start out slow and could my warmup as part of my MAF run.  My HR gets to MAF after about a 1/4 mile and the first mile my avg HR is low, but it evens itself out on a longer run.  On shorter runs (3 miles or so) it does mess up your avg a little bit though.  I always tend to fudge a little bit and use up that first little bit of lower HR with a little bit of higher HR at the end to get my avg for the entire run close to MAF, but that's not the right way to do it.  I also tend to let my avg HR creep a little over MAF on some runs and that's not exactly kosher either.  My theory is that a couple beats one way or the other isn't going to screw things up too badly.

       

      Some more conditioned athletes do hit plateaus during base building.  I think Mark Allen talks about it some.  My thoughts are that as long as you are improving you can keep at it.  Also, it's very hard for some people (myself included) to stick with base building without mixing in something else after a while.  Anecdotally, after I run a hard Tempo or Interval session, it seems to really drop my HR when I go back to doing a MAF run.  The key component is that your MAF times should always be dropping.  If you get to a point where they start to climb you are probably overtraining and need to take a break.

       

      With all that said, I'm probably the least qualified person on the forum to give any advice as I've just been doing this since May and haven't been strictly following the true method even then.  But I'm excited about it and it really has helped me so I'm willing to share my personal experience anyway.

       

      If nothing else, maybe I've said something wrong and someone more knowledgeable will come in and correct me! ;-)

       

      Good luck.  Nathan

      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

      jimmyb


        Hey guys, I'm looking to start building a good base using MAF.  Just got a Garmin (410) and HRM yesterday.  I don't have any races coming up, probably won't be doing one till next spring or so.  But I just ran a 50k last weekend and would like to run a few more of them next year as well as a couple 50 milers.  I think this type of training would help me a lot, just based on how I felt toward the end of the 50k.  I'd love to get back near my PRs for some of the shorter stuff too if possible (16 min 5k, 34 10k, 1:16 half).

         

        I think I'll be going with a heart rate of 155, I am 25 and have been training for 10 years, but I've had injuries in the past year, so I don't want to add 5. 

         

        I read a bunch of posts on here, but I still had a couple questions.

         

        1. Do you guys do strides during the base phase to keep turnover?  I'm thinking 4 strides (<1 min total) a couple times a week probably wouldn't hurt the base building efforts.  But what do you guys do?

         

        2. I'll probably get out and do a MAF test this weekend on the track, not sure what to expect.  But after the warmup, how do you run the test so that you already are average MAF heart rate for the first mile of the test?  Or do you allow yourself to be a little low for that first mile?

         

        3.  Are there any problems with doing a MAF base period like this for too long?  For instance, if my MAF tests start to plateau, would it be a good idea to go through a sharpening phase even if I don't have a race?  Run some faster stuff and maybe do a time trial or two?

         

        Thanks for any help.

         

         

        Hi Kyle,

         

        Welcome.

         

        1. Some people have done some strides during base building without hurting their base building effort. Or maybe a race or two. During my recent 17 week base-build, I walked one race hard, and my HR got up over MAF, and it didn't cause any plateauing or regression. If you read Maffetone's books and interviews, and also stuff by Mark Allen, you'll start to understand that it all depends on what kind of state you are in coming into this training. If you are extremely aerobically deficient, injured, overweight or a beginner, or you have been seeing regression in your training efforts at the same HR or in races, then it might be best to do no speed work or races for at least a 12 week period of base training. If you come to the base period and your aerobic system has been progressing without injury, you might be able to get away with it without causing any regression.

         

        Your MAF tests and aerobic speed (speed at MAF) is the most important part of the program. Every 2-4 weeks, just do an MAF test---even if you're not in base training. If your aerobic speed is progressing---good. If it is regressing or on an extended plateau, then an adjustment might be necessary to get the speed moving north again. This could mean extra rest, returning to base building, cutting volume, or even adding speed work if you have been base-building for awhile.

         

        Resting heart rate (RHR) should be taken daily as well. Either take it in the morning when you wake up, or lie down for 5 minutes and take it before you run. If it is 5 beats or more above or below normal, take it easy until it returns to normal range. If your HR is suddenly way below normal it is an indicator of exhaustion after a long effort, and also of one of the stages of over-training (if continual). Some will see this lower than normal HR after a hard or long effort. RHR is a huge indicator of how your body is handling the stress. Combine this with MAF tests and monitoring how you feel and you are good to go. Continual raised or lowered RHR is an indicator of over-training.

         

        Feel free to personalize your program. If you want to try some strides, experiment. Your MAF tests will guide you. I've been using this method since 2005, and have been a member of the key forum and threads here and back at the ol' Coolrunning (may it rest in peace), and I've seen all sorts of experiments going on and some have worked, and some haven't. I've seen runners continue to race regularly, but eliminated all speed work and just ran at MAF in between, and they saw great progress. Others stuck to MAF HR or below and increased their mileage to levels they'd never seen before and also saw great progress. Some have just kept their easy days to MAF. The one thing in common of most people who incorporate MAF training intensities into their training is less injury and better endurance. Remember to follow your MAF tests.

         

        2. The purpose of the warm-up is to get your HR up to MAF. Take 15-20 minutes to slowly get your HR up to 155, then boop your watch and do your test. If you are doing outdoor tests, make sure to go to Weather.com and record the temperature, humidity, wind speed and whether it was sunny or cloudy. The test can be done either by time or distance. 1-5 miles. I think of the first mile as my aerobic speed and the rest of the test as my aerobic endurance (for fun). If you see regression in a test, just retest the following week. Many times regression is just a bad day, or your body is tired or dehydrated. Temporary.

         

        3. The Maffetone Method is not just about base-building, but about balancing the aerobic and anaerobic systems. If you are a racer, it will be necessary at some point to run anaerobically to sharpen the fast-twitch fibers. Dr. Phil saw that the same effect happened whether a runner did hard intervals at speeds of 5k pace or faster or just trained at 90%MHR which is less stressful, so he recommends 90% as a ceiling for speed work. Again, experiment and personalize. Hard intervals at 5k pace or faster are about training the mind for some people I know---learning to tolerate discomfort. Races are speed work. Some skip speed work and get back to their racing lives after base-building. It doesn't get more anaerobic than a hard race, and in conjunction with a healthy volume of aerobic work in between, is all the speed work you need if you race regularly. MAF training will help you to recover in between. 

         

        It's important not to make your training an exercise in mental suffering. Have fun. Base-building at MAF can challenge all preconceived notions of what training is supposed to be. You'll come back from a 10-miler and feel like you can do ten more, so how could it be working? It does--if you build your volume and monitor your tests. For variety during base building:

         

        --do some downhill running at MAF. If you know a stretch of downhill that is pretty long, do some long downhill intervals for mental and neuronal stimulation.

         

        --go run a race at MAF. See how you place. Get out there with your people.

         

        --long walks help base

         

        --aerobic intervals

         

        --if all is going well, try a few strides or a short race.

         

        The heart of the method is staying healthy. Sometimes, life gets in the way and stress becomes abnormally high. My experience is that if I don't cut volume during these times, my MAF tests go south. In some cases, it won't matter what you do, the stress will affect your aerobic system. Dr, Phil speaks to this in his books and interviews. Stress is a big factor in injuries and ill-health for runners. It is part of your training load. So, if it gets abnormally high for you, consider cutting back some. Follow your tests.

         

        I hoped this helped. Good luck and keep us posted!

         

        --Jimmy Cool

        Log    PRs

        Shondek


          Hey Kyle depending what your lifestyle is like Maffetone says

           

           'Most people don't really need to do anaerobic workouts.Their lives have enough stresses that stimulate the neurological,metabolic,and the muscular systems to satisfy the minimal anaerobic requirements of the body'

           

          I read that as we should be looking for ways to calm ourselves down rather than winding ourselves up

          kopid905


            Thanks for the help guys.  I finally got out and ran my first MAF test tonight, just got back.  I'm satisfied with the pace, because it is a pace I normally train around, so it won't feel weird for me to run at MAF.  I was expecting slower, because my training has been pretty inconsistent lately.

             

            1 Interval 1 mi 7:19.25 7:19.25 7:20 154 159  
            2 Interval 1 mi 7:31.56 14:50.81 7:32 154 163  
            3 Interval 1 mi 7:33.02 22:23.83 7:34 155 161  
            4 Interval 1 mi 7:33.56 29:57.39 7:34 156 161  
            5 Interval 1 mi 7:37.44 37:34.83 7:38 156 163

             

            Tried to keep the heart rate spikes to a minimum, and to stay as close to 155 as possible.  I've seen the MAF pace charts to compare it to 5k and marathon pace, and if I can get my MAF down to 6:30 that lines up pretty well with my 5k and half marathon PRs from a few years back.  I definitely didn't have the endurance to run a <2:40 marathon back then though, maybe 2:55 if I was lucky.

             

            So as far as using those charts, do you guys use the first mile, or the average of the 5?  Mine are pretty similar, but just curious.

            jimmyb


              If you mean these charts, then you would use the first mile. I just took the 5k times and popped them into McMillan Calculator. I find the Team Oregon Pace Wiz to be a bit more accurate for marathon times. Perhaps I should revise the chart.

               

              For 6:30 pace (16:19 5k) The Wiz gives a 2:43 marathon as opposed to a 2:39 on McMillan.

               

              That's a nice aerobic speed there, Kyle.

               

              --JimmyCool

              Log    PRs

              kopid905


                Yes, that was the chart I referred to.  Although I found one somewhere that had 5k, half marathon and marathon pace in it.  It was in this group, but not sure which thread.

                 

                On a side note, I'm gonna have to figure out how to set an alert on my watch for my heart rate.  I was going insane glancing at my watch every 10 seconds during the MAF test.  They need to make a pair of glasses that syncs with the HRM to give you a heads-up display.

                 

                And do you guys normally shoot for a 10 beat zone?  So I'd go 145-155?  Or is it best to stay as near 155 as possible?

                jimmyb


                  That zone is recommended by Dr. Phil in his books.

                   

                  He's visited here from time to time and has said that you want to spend some time at MAF during your run if you can. Not necessarily every run, but some during the week should do--perhaps on hard days. Some maffers don't go near MAF and do just fine staying below.

                  Log    PRs