Low HR Training

12

Does Dr. Maffetone's 180 formula agree with other research? (Read 75 times)

omoplata


    Hi,

     

    I just started reading "The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing". I have the following question.

     

    Does Dr. Maffetone's 180 formula agree with other methods of calculating the 'aerobic' heart rate? If it does, why did he start using the 180 formula?

     

    For example, for me, a 29 year old with very little training, Dr. Maffetone's 180 formula gives 146 bpm (180 - 29 - 5)

     

    According to the calculator in the following link ( http://www.racedaynutrition.com/HeartRate.aspx ), and adding information that I'm a 165 lbs male with a morning heart rate of 65 bpm, I see that the target heart rates for different zones (given at the end of the page) vary a lot according to different methods of measuring (age adjusted, Kavronen etc. Maffetone is not there).

     

    So I guess there's not a lot of research done on the subject?

     

    Also, in the following link, in figure 1, there is a "fatzone", where the fat utilization for energy is maximum. Is this the target heart rate zone Dr. Maffetone advocates? < http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/fat-burning-using-body-fat-instead-of-carbohydrates-as-fuel-40844 >

     

    I'm just asking out of curiosity, to cross-check that there is no conflict with other research.

      The website you link used 220-age for max, which is pretty much always super wrong.

       

      For example, this would give me a max of 191.  My average is a 5K is 195+.  I've hit maxes of 205+ several times, and suspect my actual max is 206-210.

       

      I started using MAF (note: I do not use it religiously, but I run "mostly easy" which is "mostly basically at MAF-ish) when I was 27.  I gave myself a plus 5 for highly trained or whatever that I probably didn't deserve then, but I'm okay with now.  I used 158 or lower.  This is pretty much the same as the results I get for "active recovery" or the bottom of "easy" using LT threshold as a guide (Joe Friel's method), HRR% (38-ish resting, 206 max) with that method, and a few others.

       

      I don't think the exact number matters that much.  That's why Maffetone allows the spectrum of modifiers.  The best thing about MAF is that it's a number that pretty much guarantees an easy effort for the vast majority of people.

      "When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem." 
      Emil Zatopek

        That link puts me at around a 135-155 hr for my aerobic zone, which is pretty much what I use already for my easy/MAF runs.

         

        There are a couple of different ways to determine your heart rate zone for aerobic training.  I'm 36, with a max hr of ~190 and a resting hr of ~40.  Maffetone would have me running at 139-149 (180-age +5).  The traditional 70-80% of max hr formula would put me at 133-152.  The heart rate reserve formula that you see in a lot of places (I think it came from the old Jim Fixx book) of 65-75% hrr would put me at 137.5 to 152.5.  And Joe Friel's Zone 2 (the aerobic zone), which I calculated based off of an LT of 168, puts me at 142-152.

         

        So I'm pretty much in the same place no matter which method I use.  And the 140-150 heart rate range is exactly where I end up when I start talking to people that I'm running with- it's literally my conversational pace.  I can tell even without looking at my watch when my heart rate goes over 150-152, even though it's not really that hard of a pace to maintain.  It just starts to feel a little bit harder than what I would consider to be an easy pace.

         

        Maffetone never used the 180-age formula for any of his athletes, by the way- he had other ways of determining their aerobic zones.  He just observed that most of them ended up at around 180-age.  So it's a good starting point, although you may find through trial and error that you need to adjust it a bit.  I wouldn't worry about it too much.  Just run a lot, but not too hard, and you'll see plenty of improvement.

          @omoplata:

           Does Dr. Maffetone's 180 formula agree with other methods of calculating the 'aerobic' heart rate? If it does, why did he start using the 180 formula?

           

          (...)

           

          I'm just asking out of curiosity, to cross-check that there is no conflict with other research.

           

          no it doesn't necessarily give you the same result as other methods/formulas. it's just a formula from his own research. basically it's statistical average for his data. I have not found standard deviation mentioned anywhere and I'm pretty sure there is one. meaning there must be individual variation. that's one of the reasons why he has the adjustment options. and eventually it's said that everyone needs to figure out for themselves what works best. there is so many idiosyncrasies in everything, so naturally it'd be the same for training. Smile MAF test, race times, or other tests will help you there. as you can see, there is general agreement here in this thread and on this forum board that you don't have to fully rely on a generic formula without additional measurements/tests as there's so much individual variation.

           

           

          @rgilbert:

          The website you link used 220-age for max, which is pretty much always super wrong.

           

          For example, this would give me a max of 191.  My average is a 5K is 195+.  I've hit maxes of 205+ several times, and suspect my actual max is 206-210.

           

          I started using MAF (note: I do not use it religiously, but I run "mostly easy" which is "mostly basically at MAF-ish) when I was 27.  I gave myself a plus 5 for highly trained or whatever that I probably didn't deserve then, but I'm okay with now.  I used 158 or lower.  This is pretty much the same as the results I get for "active recovery" or the bottom of "easy" using LT threshold as a guide (Joe Friel's method), HRR% (38-ish resting, 206 max) with that method, and a few others.

           

          I don't think the exact number matters that much.  That's why Maffetone allows the spectrum of modifiers.  The best thing about MAF is that it's a number that pretty much guarantees an easy effort for the vast majority of people.

           

          wow finally someone here who has a HRmax and 5K working HR as high as mine. a question to you rgilbert, can you average over 190bpm in a half marathon race?? if yes, then I would not feel so alone anymore haha! Smile (okay fine I know one girl who's done the same in half marathons..)

           

          I didn't add 5 to MAF number when I started with MAF a while ago Sad it was still good for recovery from a bad winter end and making me ready for some faster stuff Smile

           

          as for easy effort, I agree it can be a wide zone, MAF or not MAF... the thing is with MAF the idea is that it's the intensity that gives you the most improvement over X time. and it stands for maximal aerobic function or something like that. so no it isn't supposed to be just some general easy run thingie; still it can indeed have value in helping you see what's a really easy run.

           

          also, some people I know would need to go even lower than 180-age and whatever adjustments, to get an easy enough HR range. (example I mentioned before somewhere: a young woman who has a HRmax of 170. for an "easy run", she needs to run at a lower heart rate than what the formula would give her.)

           

           

          @bdrollette:

          So I'm pretty much in the same place no matter which method I use.  And the 140-150 heart rate range is exactly where I end up when I start talking to people that I'm running with- it's literally my conversational pace.  I can tell even without looking at my watch when my heart rate goes over 150-152, even though it's not really that hard of a pace to maintain.  It just starts to feel a little bit harder than what I would consider to be an easy pace.

           

          Maffetone never used the 180-age formula for any of his athletes, by the way- he had other ways of determining their aerobic zones.  He just observed that most of them ended up at around 180-age.  So it's a good starting point, although you may find through trial and error that you need to adjust it a bit.  I wouldn't worry about it too much.  Just run a lot, but not too hard, and you'll see plenty of improvement.

           

          as for the bolded - "most" may mean maybe half of them. about the same as with 220-age for guessing maxHR Smile

           

          otoh, I am not always quite in the same place with all these different calculations.

           

          here are my numbers:

           

          measured maxHR: 211bpm, lowest RHR: 48bpm

           

          180-age (no adjustments): 153bpm, HR zone 143bpm-153bpm

           

          traditional 70-80% zone: 148bpm-169bpm

           

          Karvonen 70%: 162bpm, or if using 65%-75% zone: 154bpm-170bpm

           

          Joe Friel Zone 2: 165bpm-175bpm

           

          easy intensity based on actual blood lactate test: up to 175bpm

           

          my own subjective feelings about intensity, RPE scale, whatnot: easy is anything up to 170-175bpm

          (this is where I feel what you feel about "not really that hard of a pace to maintain.  It just starts to feel a little bit harder than what I would consider to be an easy pace".)

          and again according to subjective feelings/RPE/etc, recovery is anything below 155bpm

           

          and finally an extra zone: my quadriceps say I can run *any* kind of crazy high mileage as long as I always stay at or below 160-165bpm Smile

            Basically, I disagree with Maffetone's premise that this ONE target provides optimal gains--at least that it can be distilled from a single formula like that.  As a pragmatist, I see the most value in its potential to "calibrate" your running to truly easy when needed.  There's no value at which sugar burning switches on (or off--we always burn some) and even HMP is almost completely aerobic--99%+.  I think the "MAF" phrase is disingenuous (which might get me crucified around here).

             

            Still, a MAF of about 7:30 is supposed to predict about a 1:26 to 1:28:something half.  My "not uphill" MAF runs were hitting that and...

             

            I've only run one half marathon so far--about a week ago.  Mostly untapered, I think I held ~186 average (1:27:27).  I plan to run a few more this year.  Daniels says I should be able to hold that 190+ average.  I'm optimistic that with more experience at racing the distance, plus maybe a modest taper, I can push harder than I did.

             

            I'm still pretty new to this running thing.  My log shows my whole running history (May 2010 - Present).   

             

            I definitely agree about pace ranges though.  I am conversational *well* into the 170s.  At MAF-ish range, I can literally sing.  Which I'm sure people in my running group just love :-P.  That, too, points out the issue with using just a talk-test...170s, for a day to day effort, would grind me down.

             

             

            @rgilbert:

             

            wow finally someone here who has a HRmax and 5K working HR as high as mine. a question to you rgilbert, can you average over 190bpm in a half marathon race?? if yes, then I would not feel so alone anymore haha! Smile (okay fine I know one girl who's done the same in half marathons..)

             

            I didn't add 5 to MAF number when I started with MAF a while ago Sad it was still good for recovery from a bad winter end and making me ready for some faster stuff Smile

             

            as for easy effort, I agree it can be a wide zone, MAF or not MAF... the thing is with MAF the idea is that it's the intensity that gives you the most improvement over X time. and it stands for maximal aerobic function or something like that. so no it isn't supposed to be just some general easy run thingie; still it can indeed have value in helping you see what's a really easy run.

             

            also, some people I know would need to go even lower than 180-age and whatever adjustments, to get an easy enough HR range. (example I mentioned before somewhere: a young woman who has a HRmax of 170. for an "easy run", she needs to run at a lower heart rate than what the formula would give her.)

             

              

            "When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem." 
            Emil Zatopek

              @rgilbert:

              Basically, I disagree with Maffetone's premise that this ONE target provides optimal gains--at least that it can be distilled from a single formula like that.  As a pragmatist, I see the most value in its potential to "calibrate" your running to truly easy when needed.  There's no value at which sugar burning switches on (or off--we always burn some) and even HMP is almost completely aerobic--99%+.  I think the "MAF" phrase is disingenuous (which might get me crucified around here).

               

              as for your last note, haha don't worry, nobody's such a crazy zealot here Smile

               

              anyway I do believe there's some intensity that's better than other intensities. I'm not saying there must be only one narrow optimal range though. over time I experimented with different easy HR ranges and not all of these ranges gave me real improvement or at least not within the time frame I was trying or not within time/mileage constraints, while other ranges gave me improvement within that time frame and within the specific mileage constraints. so to me the MAF notion makes some sense. this might be individual, too. note, I had more than just one narrow range that gave me that result. but not *all* possible ranges did.

               

              just fyi, it was ranges significantly higher than 180-age HR that gave me the improvements. staying at 180-age and below did not - it is awesome for recovery though. it could also be that I just need higher mileage at that lower 180-age HR to get the effects out of it but I like efficiency too. I don't know yet if high mileage at very low HR is perhaps needed for building perfect endurance for marathon so that would be another way this HR range could prove useful to me. that's an experiment for future Smile

               

               

              Still, a MAF of about 7:30 is supposed to predict about a 1:26 to 1:28:something half.  My "not uphill" MAF runs were hitting that and...

               

              I've only run one half marathon so far--about a week ago.  Mostly untapered, I think I held ~186 average (1:27:27).  I plan to run a few more this year.  Daniels says I should be able to hold that 190+ average.  I'm optimistic that with more experience at racing the distance, plus maybe a modest taper, I can push harder than I did.

               

              nice that the prediction worked out for you. I run consistently faster races than what my "180-age MAF" pace would predict for me. this is interesting for sure as we both have high HRmax and apparently high LT too. (though, mine is a little bit higher than yours :P ) it might be that my system just needs a lot more "breaking in" to be able to do fast enough pace at a lower HR to fall in line with predictions. either that or formula is truly off for me :P I thought it was the latter but then I'm finding it really interesting it's spot on for you. ho-humm. Roll eyes

               

              though, it could also be as simple as you using +5 adjustment and then your HM average HR being 5 beats lower than mine. comes out at 10beats difference in total. if we go by that, that is, I simply add +10 (so your "MAF" is 158 and mine's 163 to compare the race times to), I'm almost spot on with my race times. yeah, this could make sense. hope I'm not a complete bore at this point yet. Wink

               

               

              I definitely agree about pace ranges though.  I am conversational *well* into the 170s.  At MAF-ish range, I can literally sing.  Which I'm sure people in my running group just love :-P.  That, too, points out the issue with using just a talk-test...170s, for a day to day effort, would grind me down.

               

              I'm conversational into the 180s. Smile but of course it's different from 150's or 160's. so what the heck is exactly meant by "conversational"? when I talk as if I were just sitting, not running, that's surely conversational (150's is like that for me), but when I talk with a few extra breaths taken here and there, still, talk continuously otherwise, is that still considered conversational (180-185-ish is like that for me)?

               

              it's interesting to compare day-to-day effort... 170 works for me as day-to-day effort and it works very well (improvement). somewhat higher than that though...is too much Smile seems like some boundary there Surprised lactate test also showed that as the top of easy range or whatever... in my experiments the low 170s worked well for improvement though. maybe that's my maximal aerobic function range haha. using the table, my race times would go a bit on the slow end then, though not too far off. so the "truth" would be in-between Tongue that, or I just simply can't expect to match up my times with the table well yet. :shrug:

               

              +1 question, out of curiosity, where exactly is your top HR range that still works as day to day effort for you? you said 170's is no longer in that range but how about 160's?

               

               

              ***RAMBLE OFF!*** (hope it made a little sense)

                another thing I wanted to mention last time.

                 

                there's the 220-age formula for determining maxHR. that is, maxHR = 220-age

                well, when it works.. doesn't always work but this is the statistical average from lots of data. half of the population gets it right this way, other half doesn't. (fun fact here, 98% of people are within +- 20 beats (which is a pretty wide range).)

                 

                now consider Hadd formula, maxHR - 50 (+ 5 for high end of zone) to determine aerobic base HR zone.

                that is, low end of zone: maxHR - 50, high end of zone: maxHR - 45.

                 

                MAF formula then (not using adjustments): 180-age = 220-age - 40 (- 10 for low end of zone).

                that is, low end of zone: 220-age - 50, high end of zone: 220-age - 40.

                not proven that it would always work; it's a statistical average from data like 220-age, the optional adjustments of course can help a bit but let's keep it simple for now and forget about adjustments, focus only on the average runner.

                 

                okay, that's a little bit different range than Hadd's but close and it's the same principle essentially as long as a person has their maxHR matched by 220-age formula (about half of the population does), subtract specific number from maxHR to get MAF.

                 

                so why not reduce the MAF formula to be maxHR - 40 (additional -10 for zone low end)? Big grin

                (then optional adjustments to your heart's content)

                 

                of course that doesn't mean it's going to work for everyone. I just took statistical averages after all (while inspired by Hadd's formula). and it's still a simple formula so it's not going to do magic. (so yes, there's the optional adjustments...)

                 

                OK. just fun playin' around with numbers here Big grin Cool

                 

                 

                PS: that maxHR - 40 (-10) range is a range that worked pretty well for me personally in my experiments. Cool

                  I agree about a variety of intensities--in fact, I think we're saying the same thing (the athlete's fitness and physiology has a lot to do with determining the actual ideal range, and in the end, we are an experiment of one).  In honesty, the biggest reason I run at approximate MAF is that it's my favorite effort-level to run at on most days. When I do tempos, I shoot for 180s.  MP work in the 170s.  I've done progressions with 1-2 miles at MAF, then increasing to 164, 170, 176, 182, and 188 for each of the remaining miles. Keeping the bulk at MAF, with occasional (1-4 times a month) races + speed work seems to fit my temperament best and yield good results for me.

                   

                  For shorter races, by the way, I've "beat" the MAF test predictions most times.  For longer races, I run slower than it would indicate.  It's almost like I have less than two years of base or something... Roll eyes

                   

                  I saw really, really rapid improvements during a few months of 70-90 miles per week, almost all at MAF.  I need to get back to that now that the weather is nice again.

                   

                  "Conversational," I usually mean "normal" sentences without a breath.  How's that for a totally nebulous and unhelpful answer?

                   

                  I do have relatively crazy breath control, though.  I credit it to the zazen meditation I do, actually.  My "normal" breathing on a run is about 8/6 (eight steps to a breath in, six to a breath out) and if I think about it, I can slow it pretty dramatically.  It doesn't seem to affect efficiency at all even when I do, though.

                   

                  I think that part of dialing in MAF (which I'd rather call "ideal easy pace" or something, but there's no other term that works...) is considering the contexts of race results, training progress, and sustainability.  I can run in the 160s day in and out and not "feel" broken down...but I start to dread my runs a little.  The 170s I've never tried to hit on a routine basis.

                   

                  I will have all summer to experiment, though (oh, the joys of teaching...).

                   

                  And not a bore at all--definitely enjoying the exchange.

                  @rgilbert:

                   

                  as for your last note, haha don't worry, nobody's such a crazy zealot here Smile

                   

                  anyway I do believe there's some intensity that's better than other intensities. I'm not saying there must be only one narrow optimal range though. over time I experimented with different easy HR ranges and not all of these ranges gave me real improvement or at least not within the time frame I was trying or not within time/mileage constraints, while other ranges gave me improvement within that time frame and within the specific mileage constraints. so to me the MAF notion makes some sense. this might be individual, too. note, I had more than just one narrow range that gave me that result. but not *all* possible ranges did.

                   

                  just fyi, it was ranges significantly higher than 180-age HR that gave me the improvements. staying at 180-age and below did not - it is awesome for recovery though. it could also be that I just need higher mileage at that lower 180-age HR to get the effects out of it but I like efficiency too. I don't know yet if high mileage at very low HR is perhaps needed for building perfect endurance for marathon so that would be another way this HR range could prove useful to me. that's an experiment for future Smile

                   

                   

                   

                  nice that the prediction worked out for you. I run consistently faster races than what my "180-age MAF" pace would predict for me. this is interesting for sure as we both have high HRmax and apparently high LT too. (though, mine is a little bit higher than yours :P ) it might be that my system just needs a lot more "breaking in" to be able to do fast enough pace at a lower HR to fall in line with predictions. either that or formula is truly off for me :P I thought it was the latter but then I'm finding it really interesting it's spot on for you. ho-humm. Roll eyes

                   

                  though, it could also be as simple as you using +5 adjustment and then your HM average HR being 5 beats lower than mine. comes out at 10beats difference in total. if we go by that, that is, I simply add +10 (so your "MAF" is 158 and mine's 163 to compare the race times to), I'm almost spot on with my race times. yeah, this could make sense. hope I'm not a complete bore at this point yet. Wink

                   

                   

                   

                  I'm conversational into the 180s. Smile but of course it's different from 150's or 160's. so what the heck is exactly meant by "conversational"? when I talk as if I were just sitting, not running, that's surely conversational (150's is like that for me), but when I talk with a few extra breaths taken here and there, still, talk continuously otherwise, is that still considered conversational (180-185-ish is like that for me)?

                   

                  it's interesting to compare day-to-day effort... 170 works for me as day-to-day effort and it works very well (improvement). somewhat higher than that though...is too much Smile seems like some boundary there Surprised lactate test also showed that as the top of easy range or whatever... in my experiments the low 170s worked well for improvement though. maybe that's my maximal aerobic function range haha. using the table, my race times would go a bit on the slow end then, though not too far off. so the "truth" would be in-between Tongue that, or I just simply can't expect to match up my times with the table well yet. :shrug:

                   

                  +1 question, out of curiosity, where exactly is your top HR range that still works as day to day effort for you? you said 170's is no longer in that range but how about 160's?

                   

                   

                  ***RAMBLE OFF!*** (hope it made a little sense)

                  "When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem." 
                  Emil Zatopek

                    +1.  I absolutely agree with you that this may, indeed, be what is "behind" the 180 method.  It's a statistically normalized version of a complex formula.  I think, too, that the reason it's not listed as maxHR-40 is that (*drum roll*) too many people don't know their actual maxHR.

                     

                    In fact, a huge part of the appeal is that the program, for base building, is elegant in its simplicity (second, perhaps, only to the fact that it works for the vast majority of people).

                     

                    More stuff to think about for considering my summer training.  One more goal race (a 50K that will almost certainly kill me) and then I get to start something new.

                     

                    another thing I wanted to mention last time.

                     

                    there's the 220-age formula for determining maxHR. that is, maxHR = 220-age

                    well, when it works.. doesn't always work but this is the statistical average from lots of data. half of the population gets it right this way, other half doesn't. (fun fact here, 98% of people are within +- 20 beats (which is a pretty wide range).)

                     

                    now consider Hadd formula, maxHR - 50 (+ 5 for high end of zone) to determine aerobic base HR zone.

                    that is, low end of zone: maxHR - 50, high end of zone: maxHR - 45.

                     

                    MAF formula then (not using adjustments): 180-age = 220-age - 40 (- 10 for low end of zone).

                    that is, low end of zone: 220-age - 50, high end of zone: 220-age - 40.

                    not proven that it would always work; it's a statistical average from data like 220-age, the optional adjustments of course can help a bit but let's keep it simple for now and forget about adjustments, focus only on the average runner.

                     

                    okay, that's a little bit different range than Hadd's but close and it's the same principle essentially as long as a person has their maxHR matched by 220-age formula (about half of the population does), subtract specific number from maxHR to get MAF.

                     

                    so why not reduce the MAF formula to be maxHR - 40 (additional -10 for zone low end)? Big grin

                    (then optional adjustments to your heart's content)

                     

                    of course that doesn't mean it's going to work for everyone. I just took statistical averages after all (while inspired by Hadd's formula). and it's still a simple formula so it's not going to do magic. (so yes, there's the optional adjustments...)

                     

                    OK. just fun playin' around with numbers here Big grin Cool

                     

                     

                    PS: that maxHR - 40 (-10) range is a range that worked pretty well for me personally in my experiments. Cool

                    "When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem." 
                    Emil Zatopek


                    Chasing the bus

                      Where's JimmyB when ya need him?

                       

                      I found the treadmill MAF test really interesting, maybe just because it NAILED my MAF HR right at predicted, and seemed to for most who did it. What this tells me is there IS something physiologically happening here, and the 180-age is pretty accurate, while the other estimators seem to be less so. For instance, my calculated HR max should be 170, but I know it's above 181.

                       

                      As to the rest, hard to say. I've been running MAF since about Oct., re-started running fall 2011, and MAF gains seem to be somewhere between slow and inconclusive, however, I have been able to build mileage, and keep running, and feel comfortable at this level, and feel ready to take off the shackles sometime next month and do about a month of mixed anerobic as I prep for my first half. I am due for another MAF test, and want to run the treadmill test again before I start anerobic, and then again after about a month, all in the name of obsessing about numbers.

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

                        I agree about a variety of intensities--in fact, I think we're saying the same thing (the athlete's fitness and physiology has a lot to do with determining the actual ideal range, and in the end, we are an experiment of one).  In honesty, the biggest reason I run at approximate MAF is that it's my favorite effort-level to run at on most days. When I do tempos, I shoot for 180s.  MP work in the 170s.  I've done progressions with 1-2 miles at MAF, then increasing to 164, 170, 176, 182, and 188 for each of the remaining miles. Keeping the bulk at MAF, with occasional (1-4 times a month) races + speed work seems to fit my temperament best and yield good results for me.

                         

                        yeah I think we're on the same page here Smile

                         

                        hmm, interesting you have a "favourite effort level" - I don't, for me it (=what would feel as favourite on a given day) depends on training load, what I did in the previous day(s), what kind of training I do, what kind of HR ranges I'm currently used to.

                         

                        that progression run stuff is something I haven't played much with yet but it's in my plans!

                         

                         

                        For shorter races, by the way, I've "beat" the MAF test predictions most times.  For longer races, I run slower than it would indicate.  It's almost like I have less than two years of base or something... Roll eyes

                         

                        I beat the prediction in HM races too. haven't tried longer than that yet, heh. I plan to Smile

                         

                        I saw really, really rapid improvements during a few months of 70-90 miles per week, almost all at MAF.

                         

                        can you give me more info on this? I mean, what kind of improvement? Smile

                         

                        the MAF you use is 180+age+5 right?

                         

                        I was doing this for my highest ever mileage weeks: runs all at 156-163bpm (this is slightly higher than your zone I think, but I suspect it's very close if we take into account your HR averages for races being a bit lower than mine), sometimes doubles,  nowhere near your 70-90miles but I could probably get close to it (maybe 60?). and, I saw reliable improvement at that HR zone that transferred to lower zones as well (and to the somewhat higher but still easy zones too). as for the high intensities, less improvement there, that apparently needs its own practice..  I can see this isn't the training I'd want to do for a 5K-10K race Smile but I find this training can work for HM race well.

                         

                         

                        "Conversational," I usually mean "normal" sentences without a breath.  How's that for a totally nebulous and unhelpful answer?

                         

                        do you mean you're as comfortable with your breathing while talking as if you were sitting at home doing nothing? at 170bpm too?

                         

                         

                        I do have relatively crazy breath control, though.  I credit it to the zazen meditation I do, actually.  My "normal" breathing on a run is about 8/6 (eight steps to a breath in, six to a breath out) and if I think about it, I can slow it pretty dramatically.  It doesn't seem to affect efficiency at all even when I do, though.

                         

                        interesting. I recall having 6/6 breathing at low HR when I counted it a while ago. I do nose breathing up to my LT (up to HR of 190's). I don't do meditation. I don't really like playing with my breathing though, this all just happens automatically on its own... I'd just go mad if I was trying to control it in a conscious fashion.

                         

                         

                        I think that part of dialing in MAF (which I'd rather call "ideal easy pace" or something, but there's no other term that works...) is considering the contexts of race results, training progress, and sustainability.  I can run in the 160s day in and out and not "feel" broken down...but I start to dread my runs a little.  The 170s I've never tried to hit on a routine basis.

                         

                        yes, +1 to the bolded. Smile

                         

                        interesting about what you say dreading your runs if you make it too frequent at that intensity. that for me would happen for 175-ish and up, according to my own experiments. so thats why I say low 170's is the limit for me. Smile

                         

                         

                        I will have all summer to experiment, though (oh, the joys of teaching...).

                         

                        have fun! Big grin

                        btw glad you're not bored. Cool

                         

                        ps: good luck to your 50K race!

                          Where's JimmyB when ya need him? 

                           

                          good question. :O I checked his training logs yesterday and I noticed no new entries there.....

                           

                           

                          I found the treadmill MAF test really interesting, maybe just because it NAILED my MAF HR right at predicted, and seemed to for most who did it. What this tells me is there IS something physiologically happening here, and the 180-age is pretty accurate, while the other estimators seem to be less so. For instance, my calculated HR max should be 170, but I know it's above 181. 

                           

                          I find there's sometimes more than one point in that test that you can call the MAF. or maybe it's just me not fully understanding the logic.

                           

                          I will admit I haven't got the treadmill test done yet because I'm a bit afraid of creating too many artifacts especially if I was doing the test alone. I need to take someone else with me to the gym and they will have to monitor my HR, treadmill paces etc. (so I can't affect my HR psychologically by seeing HR/pace stuff.) one day I'll get this organized...

                           

                           

                          As to the rest, hard to say. I've been running MAF since about Oct., re-started running fall 2011, and MAF gains seem to be somewhere between slow and inconclusive, however, I have been able to build mileage, and keep running, and feel comfortable at this level, and feel ready to take off the shackles sometime next month and do about a month of mixed anerobic as I prep for my first half. I am due for another MAF test, and want to run the treadmill test again before I start anerobic, and then again after about a month, all in the name of obsessing about numbers. 

                           

                          as for the bolded; that was my experience with training at 180-age number. in two training periods. I did yet another base building period later where the HR target was a few beats higher and that did give results. neat stuff. (see above what I said to rgilbert about it.) I'm not saying you should increase your target HR, maybe you actually need to decrease it instead, or just mileage is too low/too high, who knows. but if the current way of training hasn't been working for you in terms of getting a good amount of improvement, you need to change up something. I am sure it's not wasted time though as you say you built mileage and got used to regular running etc & good prep for anaerobic phase!

                            Progressions are fun.  They provide a good stimulus, a range of paces, guarantee a good warm-up, and teach you to run faster as you get more and more tired.  I did one on Wednesday, mostly because I ran into a running buddy who can stomp the crap out of me and I was feeling good, so I said we should go for it.

                             

                            I wish I hadn't tried longer races so quickly.  My first marathon was ~5 ish months into running.  Turns out, I really enjoy halves, too, and I wish I hadn't waited until now to try one (though I'm still less than 2 years into this).  Ultras have a special place in my heart, as I love to be on trails all day.

                             

                            As to example, I did a "traditional" style training chunk in late July/August for 5K stuff.  Ended up with strep on race day, so it was a wash.  Then a nasty widsom teeth surgery.

                             

                            Took some time off, rested.  I was running like 8:40-ish on average before that break.  When I started again, my MAF (180 - 27 + 5) pace was ~8:30 - 8:50 depending on the day.  In October, I got up to 60-70 miles a week, 70-83 in October, then 85-90 in December.  My MAF best at the end of that block was in the 7:15s.  Almost all easy running, some tempos of 3-4 miles or a progression.  One of either every week or so.  Two races.  Tons of hills.

                             

                            I'm about "there again."  I think the stimulus from the half really boosted my performance--had a 7:11 at MAF last night.  Surprised the heck out of me, as I'd already run 4 (very, very easy) miles with friends before this.  I do think long warm-ups help though.

                             

                            Also, I hate interval/VO2Max training.  Makes me feel like dying.  After the last rep, I feel fine.  No soreness or anything the next day, though. I don't know what my hang up on it is.

                             

                            My talking is about the same as "couch talking" up to mid 160s.  In the 170s, there's more concentration involved.

                             

                            Thanks for the well wishes for the 50K.  It's called "Forget the PR," and there are two waist-ish river crossing, among other things.  It's going to be awesome.

                             

                            Controlling my breathing relaxes me tremendously (but, again, I meditate and sometimes run with meditation beads, even).

                             

                             

                             

                             

                            yeah I think we're on the same page here Smile

                             

                            hmm, interesting you have a "favourite effort level" - I don't, for me it (=what would feel as favourite on a given day) depends on training load, what I did in the previous day(s), what kind of training I do, what kind of HR ranges I'm currently used to.

                             

                            that progression run stuff is something I haven't played much with yet but it's in my plans!

                             

                             

                             

                            I beat the prediction in HM races too. haven't tried longer than that yet, heh. I plan to Smile

                             

                             

                            can you give me more info on this? I mean, what kind of improvement? Smile

                             

                            the MAF you use is 180+age+5 right?

                             

                            I was doing this for my highest ever mileage weeks: runs all at 156-163bpm (this is slightly higher than your zone I think, but I suspect it's very close if we take into account your HR averages for races being a bit lower than mine), sometimes doubles,  nowhere near your 70-90miles but I could probably get close to it (maybe 60?). and, I saw reliable improvement at that HR zone that transferred to lower zones as well (and to the somewhat higher but still easy zones too). as for the high intensities, less improvement there, that apparently needs its own practice..  I can see this isn't the training I'd want to do for a 5K-10K race Smile but I find this training can work for HM race well.

                             

                             

                             

                            do you mean you're as comfortable with your breathing while talking as if you were sitting at home doing nothing? at 170bpm too?

                             

                             

                             

                            interesting. I recall having 6/6 breathing at low HR when I counted it a while ago. I do nose breathing up to my LT (up to HR of 190's). I don't do meditation. I don't really like playing with my breathing though, this all just happens automatically on its own... I'd just go mad if I was trying to control it in a conscious fashion.

                             

                             

                             

                            yes, +1 to the bolded. Smile

                             

                            interesting about what you say dreading your runs if you make it too frequent at that intensity. that for me would happen for 175-ish and up, according to my own experiments. so thats why I say low 170's is the limit for me. Smile

                             

                             

                             

                            have fun! Big grin

                            btw glad you're not bored. Cool

                             

                            ps: good luck to your 50K race!

                            "When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem." 
                            Emil Zatopek

                              Progressions are fun.  They provide a good stimulus, a range of paces, guarantee a good warm-up, and teach you to run faster as you get more and more tired.  I did one on Wednesday, mostly because I ran into a running buddy who can stomp the crap out of me and I was feeling good, so I said we should go for it.

                               

                              I'm sure it's fun. Smile what kind of progression runs do you do? how long / how much increase for each part?

                               

                              what I've been doing for LRs now is starting slow for the first half then pick up the pace for second half, top of easy pace/HR range (though the HR increases afterwards...). this isn't a progression run, just kind of two workouts molded into one (a slow recovery one and a normal easy one)

                               

                              As to example, I did a "traditional" style training chunk in late July/August for 5K stuff.  Ended up with strep on race day, so it was a wash. Then a nasty widsom teeth surgery.

                               

                              Took some time off, rested.  I was running like 8:40-ish on average before that break.  When I started again, my MAF (180 - 27 + 5) pace was ~8:30 - 8:50 depending on the day.  In October, I got up to 60-70 miles a week, 70-83 in October, then 85-90 in December.  My MAF best at the end of that block was in the 7:15s.  Almost all easy running, some tempos of 3-4 miles or a progression.  One of either every week or so.  Two races.  Tons of hills.

                               

                              wow, that's some kind of improvement! I see it wasn't all MAF though, not that this would have to be a problem and clearly it wasn't a problem for you hehe Smile I tried this myself, did my last base build this winter by including some tempos. seemed to work well. at a specific HR range (this was my "tempo", not real tempo, just moderate) pace  went from 8-8:10min/mile to 7:30min/mile in 2 months. my mileage was nowhere as high as yours though (only 35 and less than that for "rest weeks"). that was because I wanted to avoid issues with winter training that I had in the past. so, sure, your improvement is a bit more spectacular than this Smile

                               

                              another winter earlier I did LHR base build without any tempo or anything faster than the base HR range (156-163bpm, close to MAF+10 range, though I didn't use the formula at all), I went from 11min/mile pace to 10min/mile pace from november 2010 to february 2011 (slower pace than the previously mentioned paces as it was done at lower HR and I was less fit). I think that's good improvement Big grin oh and I ran around 40mpw (45 a couple weeks maybe) and enjoyed every second of it, never felt tired, always felt like I could go forever. I do plan on repeating this experience in next base build phase Smile

                               

                              I don't like racing in base build though, I find my legs don't have the turnover Surprised my lungs feel fine, feels like I could go on, just no speed. did those tempos help for you? I find I need faster than tempo pace to get the real turnover. maybe using strides regularly in base build phase would do the trick...??

                               

                              the hills are good though! Wink I do a lot of hills myself in base build period. I find it doesn't go well with the speed sessions though Sad in speedwork phase I either have to cut back on mileage sharply (so hills don't fit in the schedule anymore, no time for them), or have to lower the intensity of easy runs which allows me to keep the mileage high enough but my legs hate "wogging up" hills so slow so again bye bye hills Sad. (I plan to strengthen my legs/body to be able to do proper hill running in speed work phase too... but that will take time)

                               

                               

                              another question for you: within this period of you going from 8:30 to 7:15 MAF pace, how/how much did your race times improve?

                               

                               

                              I'm about "there again."  I think the stimulus from the half really boosted my performance--had a 7:11 at MAF last night.  Surprised the heck out of me, as I'd already run 4 (very, very easy) miles with friends before this.  I do think long warm-ups help though.

                               

                              well, good luck to more improvement! Big grin

                               

                              and yet another point of wondering for me; I noted your HM pace was 6:40 now at 186bpm average while your MAF is/was at 7:15 at 158bpm, this is a curious thing to me. I'd have to have about the same difference between my HM pace (I can average 191 = 186 + 5) and my pace at 163bpm (your 158 + 5, this is just an estimate of course). but, I have the pace only at 168-170-ish instead of 163. sounds like there's more work for me to do in the aerobic ranges. Smile (no wonder actually, you've run much higher mileages than me so far!)

                               

                               

                               Also, I hate interval/VO2Max training.  Makes me feel like dying.  After the last rep, I feel fine.  No soreness or anything the next day, though. I don't know what my hang up on it is.

                               

                              maybe you're running your vo2max intervals too hard/too fast? I do feel a bit like dying a bit for the second halves of the last couple of intervals but that's tolerable as it doesn't last long. and first part of the workout I don't feel like dying much or I would be doing something wrong for sure! true though, no real soreness, my legs feel fresh, ...unless I try to include too much not-very-easy paced running in between speedwork sessions. Surprised

                               

                               

                              My talking is about the same as "couch talking" up to mid 160s.  In the 170s, there's more concentration involved.

                               

                              I was talking more about how noticeable the breathing is while talking. how it's for me: low enough HR means I don't notice any of it, I talk like "sitting on the couch", in 170-180's I can still talk without extra concentration needed but I notice the fact that I take breathes in between sentences. probably  this means more breathing than my default ~16/min rate at rest. I think at low HR the rate is the same and in the 170-180's it's a somewhat faster rate. I guess your meditation trick maybe helps you there Smile (weird thing how it relaxes you focusing on your breathing... if I focus on mine, it just makes me nervous, feel unnatural etc.)

                               

                              out of curiosity: can you do nose breathing too? I can and actually do so, without problems right up to my LT (I know crazy...).

                               

                               

                              Thanks for the well wishes for the 50K.  It's called "Forget the PR," and there are two waist-ish river crossing, among other things.  It's going to be awesome.

                               

                              definitely sounds interesting & fun! Smile Cool

                                When I do progression runs, warm-up aside, I only do a mile at each level, basically +6bpm per level.  I do four or five of the increasing miles.

                                 

                                I only did trail racing during the 8:30 --> 7:15 phase, so hard to say :-P.

                                 

                                Before the half, my MAF times were more typically 7:30 - 7:50.  It wasn't until after it that I hit 7:15s again.  I lost a surprising amount of fitness to two bouts of illness this winter (bronchitis once, severe flu once) ;-P.  The "minute gap" in easy/low-HR to half marathon pace.  Oh well.  Can't keep the plague away when I teach highschoolers.  :-P

                                 

                                I plan, fully, to race a couple more times soon Smile.  The problem is, of course, that my love of trail races make comparisons hard...oh well.

                                 

                                I "feel like" I'd be able to better that time by about a minute right now, and feel much stronger than I did even a few weeks ago.  One way to find out :-D

                                 

                                I dislike running at LT pace, too.  I don't know if my track work was too hard, but I feel kinda like "dying" at what was definitely my half marathon pace.  I think a lot of it is mental--I am totally willing to suffer in a race...less so in training.

                                 

                                Heh, I can do the nose breathing thing, too--even for a few miles at LT, to boot.  I have always blamed it on how big my nose it. :-D

                                 

                                 

                                I'm sure it's fun. Smile what kind of progression runs do you do? how long / how much increase for each part?

                                 

                                what I've been doing for LRs now is starting slow for the first half then pick up the pace for second half, top of easy pace/HR range (though the HR increases afterwards...). this isn't a progression run, just kind of two workouts molded into one (a slow recovery one and a normal easy one)

                                 

                                 

                                wow, that's some kind of improvement! I see it wasn't all MAF though, not that this would have to be a problem and clearly it wasn't a problem for you hehe Smile I tried this myself, did my last base build this winter by including some tempos. seemed to work well. at a specific HR range (this was my "tempo", not real tempo, just moderate) pace  went from 8-8:10min/mile to 7:30min/mile in 2 months. my mileage was nowhere as high as yours though (only 35 and less than that for "rest weeks"). that was because I wanted to avoid issues with winter training that I had in the past. so, sure, your improvement is a bit more spectacular than this Smile

                                 

                                another winter earlier I did LHR base build without any tempo or anything faster than the base HR range (156-163bpm, close to MAF+10 range, though I didn't use the formula at all), I went from 11min/mile pace to 10min/mile pace from november 2010 to february 2011 (slower pace than the previously mentioned paces as it was done at lower HR and I was less fit). I think that's good improvement Big grin oh and I ran around 40mpw (45 a couple weeks maybe) and enjoyed every second of it, never felt tired, always felt like I could go forever. I do plan on repeating this experience in next base build phase Smile

                                 

                                I don't like racing in base build though, I find my legs don't have the turnover Surprised my lungs feel fine, feels like I could go on, just no speed. did those tempos help for you? I find I need faster than tempo pace to get the real turnover. maybe using strides regularly in base build phase would do the trick...??

                                 

                                the hills are good though! Wink I do a lot of hills myself in base build period. I find it doesn't go well with the speed sessions though Sad in speedwork phase I either have to cut back on mileage sharply (so hills don't fit in the schedule anymore, no time for them), or have to lower the intensity of easy runs which allows me to keep the mileage high enough but my legs hate "wogging up" hills so slow so again bye bye hills Sad. (I plan to strengthen my legs/body to be able to do proper hill running in speed work phase too... but that will take time)

                                 

                                 

                                another question for you: within this period of you going from 8:30 to 7:15 MAF pace, how/how much did your race times improve?

                                 

                                 

                                 

                                well, good luck to more improvement! Big grin

                                 

                                and yet another point of wondering for me; I noted your HM pace was 6:40 now at 186bpm average while your MAF is/was at 7:15 at 158bpm, this is a curious thing to me. I'd have to have about the same difference between my HM pace (I can average 191 = 186 + 5) and my pace at 163bpm (your 158 + 5, this is just an estimate of course). but, I have the pace only at 168-170-ish instead of 163. sounds like there's more work for me to do in the aerobic ranges. Smile (no wonder actually, you've run much higher mileages than me so far!)

                                 

                                 

                                 

                                maybe you're running your vo2max intervals too hard/too fast? I do feel a bit like dying a bit for the second halves of the last couple of intervals but that's tolerable as it doesn't last long. and first part of the workout I don't feel like dying much or I would be doing something wrong for sure! true though, no real soreness, my legs feel fresh, ...unless I try to include too much not-very-easy paced running in between speedwork sessions. Surprised

                                 

                                 

                                 

                                I was talking more about how noticeable the breathing is while talking. how it's for me: low enough HR means I don't notice any of it, I talk like "sitting on the couch", in 170-180's I can still talk without extra concentration needed but I notice the fact that I take breathes in between sentences. probably  this means more breathing than my default ~16/min rate at rest. I think at low HR the rate is the same and in the 170-180's it's a somewhat faster rate. I guess your meditation trick maybe helps you there Smile (weird thing how it relaxes you focusing on your breathing... if I focus on mine, it just makes me nervous, feel unnatural etc.)

                                 

                                out of curiosity: can you do nose breathing too? I can and actually do so, without problems right up to my LT (I know crazy...).

                                 

                                 

                                 

                                definitely sounds interesting & fun! Smile Cool

                                "When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem." 
                                Emil Zatopek

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