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Starting MAF training using HR, some questions... (Read 762 times)

    I feel like I've pushed to about as fast as I can push this year without going back and doing some serious base building. Based on some things I've read, I've decided to try to strengthen my base using max aerobic factor training (MAF) using a HR monitor. I know a few people here have discussed it before, esp. Ed4, so I was hoping for some encouragement and a few answers. I went for my first run yesterday, and felt terrible! My normal race pace is like 6:30, training paces range from that pace up to 8:30 for my slow days. Using the typical 180 - age MAF formula, my maximum goal HR is 152, so I set my max HR limit to 145, and had to run like an 11:30 mile the first mile, and a 12:20 the second. I ended up doing slow jogs until I hit my limit, then walked until I got under by a little ways, and then jogging again, etc. I ended up averaging 139 bpm, and maxed at 151. So, questions are: 1) Does it get easier to stick to this? I was planning on doing this for 8-12 weeks, but I don't know if I can take it for that long if it doesn't get a little easier soon! 2) What should my lower HR limit be? All discussion I find is discussing the max, and doesn't really mention the min. I guessed 120, so my range was 120-145. I only fell out the bottom of the range twice, at the end of my walks. 3) When doing this kind of training, should I still do a long day? If I deteriorate at the rate I did yesterday, I can't see going much beyond 3-4 miles right now. Normally my long day is 6-7. 4) Should I change my weekly mileage at all starting out? I only get in 15-20 miles a week now, so I figure I'm fine starting at 15 and building from there. I'd like to get to 30+ by the end of the year. But since my form is different and such, should I refrain from increasing distance for a few weeks? Do I still follow the 10% rule, or can I increase more because the runs are less stressful? 5) Anyone who does this lift weights at the same time? I've read it is considered anaerobic, and should be avoided, but I was intended to do some light to moderate upper body lifting. Will this interfere much? If it slows the progress down a little, that is probably alright, but if it negates what I'm trying to do, then I guess I'll pass... So, any encouragement would be appreciated. My head tells me this is a smart thing for me to do, but my heart just wants to run fast. Thanks!
    va


      s.crissman, I can't help with your questions but wanted to mention there is a Low HR Training Group. Good luck.
        My head tells me this is a smart thing for me to do, but my heart just wants to run fast.
        I looked at your log. If you want to build your base, your problem is not the pace of your runs, or your heart rate, but the volume of your mileage. Run more, a lot more, and the pace of your runs will settle into a good range. Low heart rate training is a great way to keep yourself from pushing too hard when you are running high mileage. When you are running low mileage, recovery is not an issue, and neither is pushing too hard. So, if all you are doing is slowing down your running, don't expect an improvement. The improvement will come if the slow down allows you to spend more time running. Building aerobic base is simple--run a lot. Tracking your heart rate is one way to figure out how to run more without pushing too hard, but the goal in base building is running a lot--not running at a particular heart rate. My advice is to use whatever means necessary to run more miles. If the HRM helps you do this, then use it. If not, then don't.


        Imminent Catastrophe

          s, I think the MAF technique is excellent. I used it after recovering from a stress fracture and it gave me a great aerobic base, with the side benefit of low likelihood of injury while running slowly. The downside is, as you have found out, it's very frustrating to be running so slowly, being passed by old ladies with walkers Wink. This is especially hard after a few miles because, as you know, your HR naturally elevates after awhile and you have to go even slower. The problem is even worse on a hilly course. It seems to me like your HR range is good, you'll get the benefit even at the low end of the range. Like Jeff said, you can increase your mileage, and should. Increase the distance of your long run by 10% or more (let your body tell you if you're overdoing it, it will let you know). The long run is especially important for MAF training. The consensus opinion about MAF (I had plenty of time to read and study with my SF) is that it takes about 250-300 miles to start seeing the benefits, and that's what it took me. Then I had a big jump in fitness, I could run 60-75 seconds faster in the same HR zone. It's a plateau thing. The last thing is that there are some runners out there saying you can race faster ONLY using low HR training, with no speedwork, even after you get a good base and start racing. In my experience, No, you still need some speed training to get faster, AFTER you get your base back. Bottom line, stick it out, swallow your pride. You'll be glad you did.

          "Able to function despite imminent catastrophe"

           "To obtain the air that angels breathe you must come to Tahoe"--Mark Twain

          "The most common question from potential entrants is 'I do not know if I can do this' to which I usually answer, 'that's the whole point'.--Paul Charteris, Tarawera Ultramarathon RD.

           

          √ Tahoe Rim Trail 100M 20/21 July 2013

          Boston Marathon 21 April 2014

          Tahoe Rim Trail 100M 19/20 July 2014

          Ed4


          Barefoot and happy

            I agree with PerfesserR: I didn't really start to notice serious improvement in pace until after about 250 miles. But then the improvement really accelerated, and it became much more fun. There came a point where the HR monitor spent much more time telling me to speed up than slow down. On the other hand, it only took a week or so before I was much more comfortable staying within a fixed HR range, and adapting my form to a slower pace. So you might find it gets more tolerable soon. I don't think the lower limit matters very much. As long as you're actually running, the miles are what matters. My first runs with the HR monitor (back in late June) were in the 10-11 min/mile range. Now on a good day I've run as fast as 8:45 pace at the same HR, and I don't really start to slow down until after 9 miles. Unfortunately, I'm not so fast lately, since I had to take most of September off from running for various reasons. I'm curious to see how quickly I can get back on the improvement track now that I'm ramping my mileage back up. Also, you'll find that there's a lot of variation from day to day. One day you'll run 9:15, the next 10:00. You didn't actually get less fit, it's just the numerous confounding factors: temp, humidity, what you ate, how much sleep you got, how relaxed you are, etc, etc... I like the fact that running based on HR takes all that into account, and lets you run faster on days when your body is ready to run faster.
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              Thanks for the feedback, all, it is encouraging. Jeff, Yeah, one of the reasons I am trying this out is that every time I start building up and get around 20-25 miles, I start picking up nagging injuries, like shin splints and such. Then I back off to 15-20, and feel better, and try again, and it happens again. I'm hoping using the HRM helps reign me in and keeps me healthier. I'm pretty good about the 10% rule mileage-wise, but I'm pretty bad about pacing/pushing myself. As I said, I want to get up to maybe 30-35 miles a week by the new year, so that I have a pretty good base in to start the new year. I know even 30-35 miles isn't much of a base by some people's standards, but that's about all the time I'm willing to put into it right now, and it would still increase my base by 2x compared to the last couple of years. PerfesserR, That sounds pretty good. 250 miles will put me at probably 14-16 weeks. I was looking to do 12, but will be willing to stick it out as long as I start seeing some sign of improvement by then. I'm glad you said you don't believe the racing faster purely on the MAF training, because I can't really buy that either. I enjoy training harder sometimes, I just want to be healthier and not feel like my training runs are so hard, esp. my long runs. Ed4, That really encourages me, thanks for the feedback. Let me know when you get back and actually race, because I'm curious to see how you do. I think in another thread you said you feel like you'll break 20 next time around. I'm at 20:12, so that's my next milestone as well, eventually. I just can't do it on less than 20 miles a week, heh! Anyway, I ran another run with the HRM, and it wasn't as bad. I think mostly because I mentally knew what to expect. I also didn't have to concentrate as hard to keep myself within the range, so I was able to watch my surroundings and enjoy things a bit more than usual. No faster, and not much more fun, but easier and more tolerable. So maybe there is hope. Big grin I'll let you know how I feel in 12 weeks or so. Or maybe before if I need another push. Thanks guys!


              Imminent Catastrophe

                One more thing...some of those same people who claim that you can race fast on just MAF training also say that if you exceed your MAF heart rate during MAF training, even for a minute, it negates the whole training session. I don't buy that either.

                "Able to function despite imminent catastrophe"

                 "To obtain the air that angels breathe you must come to Tahoe"--Mark Twain

                "The most common question from potential entrants is 'I do not know if I can do this' to which I usually answer, 'that's the whole point'.--Paul Charteris, Tarawera Ultramarathon RD.

                 

                √ Tahoe Rim Trail 100M 20/21 July 2013

                Boston Marathon 21 April 2014

                Tahoe Rim Trail 100M 19/20 July 2014