First I'd like to thank those who have put up so much information in this group. I spent the past hour trying to get through as much of it as possible.
I am in my mid 50's and trying to recover from a low period that knocked my mileage from an average 55 mpw down to 35 mpw. This happened when menopause slammed into me and I started losing sleep. Before that I had run 22 marathons and really enjoyed long distance running. The past 8 months or so I have been sleeping better and trying to push myrunning back up where it was. I just found Maffetone's book and recognize my deteriorated aerobic fitness as the probable cause of my lack of success.
My question concerns general strength, my own being another casualty of menopause. I feel that I need some strength training or I'll just keep getting weaker and weaker. I am not talking about speed work, but about upper body, core and legs to some extent (I know they have weakened as well.)
How much strength training can I do without interfering with the aerobic program? I am not sure I really understand why the two are incompatible either.
I don't really like lifting weights. I would rather run any day. I wonder if I should tack on a short (15 min) bit of lifting after running instead of my current routine, which is about an hour once a week and a half hour another day. On top of that is some heavy yard work once a week.
It scares me that things are getting harder to lift. Most people on this forum seem pretty young compared to me. I do appreciate any help you can offer.
Chasing the bus
Well, I sorta understood the reasons strength training interferes (cortisol and overall stress. You can only handle so much before your overtraining and not recovering, I think). But I also have decided, after a year of maffing, I need some leg strength workouts or my hill running and speed are going to (already have started to) suffer. I'm not sure how to balance that with MAF, but I feel like I need to try.
“You're either on the bus or off the bus.” ― Tom Wolfe, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
The Maffetone Method is simple: if your aerobic speed (pace at MAF) is improving--good, you're on the right track. If it isn't, and it's regressing, then something needs to change in your training, and/or perhaps lifestyle.
Dr. Phil comes from a history of treating people with aerobic deficiency, over-training, and injuries. He has talked about some people not progressing, and that it came down to the fact they were doing too much anaerobic work, which could be running just a few beats over MAF, weightlifting, and hill work--before the aerobic system is developed and solid. Sometimes, too much mental stress can have the same effect. This doesn't mean that it applies always to everyone. It depends on the individual and the current physical and mental circumstances.
The answer to your question about how much strength training you can do before it interferes with aerobic development will be found in your MAF tests. Experiment with a strength program and see what happens to your aerobic speed. If you see complete regression over a few months time, then maybe your body can't handle it just yet. If you see progress, then all is good. I suggest that you ease into such a program, just like you would ease into running as a beginner. You wouldn't go out and run 50 miles in your first week as a runner. There are strength programs that don't involve intense anaerobic work. Yoga is a great overall body strengthener that is gentle (if you stay away from the nutty push-push-push instructors).
Several people here on the board, including myself, do some form of strength training during the aerobic base (patience) phase. Mark Allen also did it in his later years as well. The key is to not overdo it, rest when exhausted, and manage mental stress as best as possible. And never lose sight of your aerobic speed.
Wish you the best.
running log / profile
In a way, I think the strength work I've BEEN doing contributed to my problem, because my mileage (mostly easy pace) was cut even further by these monstrous strength sessions at one point. It is very scary to get older and be told how much muscle mass you are losing every year - and to actually feel it happening. That was my motivation. But I'm not even sure how much those workouts helped.
I just want to do enough strength work so that I can still lift heavy objects or go for a hike In the mountains once a month. I'm going to drop the longer weight sessions for now and do just a few exercises after my runs.
I am still waiting for my HR monitor to come in the mail. In the meantime, I did my last 3 runs at "painfully slow" to try to get this started.
these monstrous strength sessions
I'm male and a few years older than you.
I was convinced to start strength training ten years ago when I heard Miriam Nelson speak. No monstrous weight sessions, just consistent and ongoing, about twenty minutes two or three times per week. Using that program my strength improved markedly within the first six months and I have maintained that level although sometimes having months away from strength training.
How did your strength sessions work out with your MAF training?
Thanks for the comment and the book recommendation. I appreciate it.
How did your strength sessions work out with your MAF training
As I said I started strength training ten years ago but I only discovered Maffetone four years ago. The first two years of strength training were consistent (three days a week) but there were long bouts after that of up to six months when I did little. However knowing what to do it was easy to build up again and it seemed I never regressed to where I had been before strength training.
After about six months MAFfing, with little noticeable improvement other than a substantially lower resting HR, and staying away from strength training deliberately I went back to consistent upper body only.
As an older person I tend towards deciding to do strength training, rather than strictly follow MAF. I have seen marked benefits from strength training, but less from MAFfing. Kenneth Cooper, the inventor of the word 'aerobics', once wrote that a young person should divide their exercise time 80% aerobic, 20% strength, whereas an older person should do 20% aerobic, 80% strength.
It seems to me that Maffetone's objection to using weights is mostly that a cortisol response is elicited. It seems to me that if a single strength session doesn't show up in a higher resting HR the next morning then it is not a problem.
Thanks for that information. Since I am just 1.5 weeks into this, I have been hesitant do much strength work. I want to see how the shift to MAF affects my running first.
This morning I had my first "break through" day, where I could actually see improvement. My pace increased, all of a sudden, by about 45 seconds (per mile) today! Every run until now has been miserably slow, and I have had to walk up even the slightest inclines. Today, my flat-terrain pace was 45 seconds faster than it has been, my downhill running was fast enough to use a "normal" gait (instead of the shuffle/jog I've been using), and I was able to go up gradual inclines without going over MAF as long as I kept the shuffle/jog and lowered my arms.
I am toying with the idea of including 15 minutes of some strength moves 2-3 times a week after running. I really appreciate your point of view. Cheers.
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