Maffetone Running or Training System (Read 92 times)

    Does anyone have any experience with the Maffetone Training System.   


    I'm recovering from a long and dramatic injury to my heel and my Dr ( who is a marathon/ultra-marathon - and iron man tri-athlete) recommended I start using the Maffetone Training System.    I've read the book and started trying to train using the Maffetone 180-age as my maximum aerobic heart rate.   And also started on they Maffetone 'proper eating' plan which is really helping.


    But at my age of 65 this means a heart rate of 115 (which is  remarkably slow).   I can maintain 120 but am running an incredibly slow pace (13 minute miles), but my dr and the book say you'll really gain aerobic strength, stamina and speed if you continue with this system over time.


    Examples of runners in the book all say they started out way too slow and eventually were running at very acceptable speeds......I want to believe this, but have my doubts right now..


    Does anyone know anything about this system or tried it for an extended period of time.

    Champions are made when no one is watching

      I followed Maffetone for a while in my early 50's.  I was averaging 15 minutes per mile for the first month, 14 MPM the second month, and picked up about one MPM every month until I got to 10 MPM.  Since then, I've done most of my base miles at about 10 MPM, with average heart rates in the 115 to 130 range.


      Maffetone has you keep your heart rate at or under an exact number.  I don't think it's anywhere near that critical, but there is definitely good reason to do a lot of running at low heart rates.


      I would definitely listen to an MD who runs marathons, ultras, and triathlons.



        I've read the book and started trying to train using the Maffetone 180-age as my maximum aerobic heart rate.


        Well there is your problem.


        That equation is horrible at predicting a real HR target (just as the 220-age MAX is)

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          We have an ancient forum that offers a lot of information on MAF training:



          The heart of the training is building the aerobic system while remaining healthy. Managing the stresses. Getting faster at the same heart rate in the body's time, rather than forcing the issue. The stories are true about people starting out really slow at MAF heart rate, then getting faster, including Ironman champ Mark Allen's.


          As for the MAF formula, it's not an exact science and is based on data from the hundreds of athlete's Maffetone worked with, rather than major scientific studies. When you're over 55, it gets very inaccurate, as it does when you're less than 18. The best way to determine the MAF is with a gas-test (RQ) which is included in some V02 max tests one can get. You can see the MAF on a graph of fat/sugar burning % as an extended plateau and a deflection point after which sugar-burning rises steeply—due to the recruitment of type 2 fibers, most likely the type 2a ones that are also rich in capillaries and mitochondria, and can become more aerobic and burn more fat, adding up to greater endurance.


          The formula will put most people in the ballpark where one will be using mostly type 1 aerobic fibers and developing the aerobic system. and fat-burning. It feels really easy, like one should be doing more, but the aerobic system will develop if the volume of time running is enough and not too much. At age 65, your MAF is probably in the range of 125-130 bpm. Do a little test. Get on a treadmill and slowly increase speed while measuring HR and noice when you first start to feel a sensation of needing more air. For some that's an indicator of where the MAF is. I feel that at around 140 bpm, which is where my MAF was determined to be in a gas-test. I also feel it around 178 bpm or 88-90% MHR around where my anaerobic threshold is, though that need is great. Not slight like at the MAF.


          Again, the simplicity of this is that you want to get faster at the same aerobic HR, and to stay healthy. If you're not improving at the same HR, then adjustments need to be made. Sometimes, it's abnormally high life stress that can cause a plateau or regression in speed at the same HR. I've seen that. It's the stress hormones.


          Good luck. Check out the forum. Everyone that's not a troll is welcome. 

          SMART Approach


            Well there is your problem.


            That equation is horrible at predicting a real HR target (just as the 220-age MAX is)


            That equation is the max training HR, not overall max HR formula.

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