I'm new! ish...I know what MAF is (Maximum Aerobic Function, right?) and mine is apparently somewhere between 135 (180- age) and 146 (using Karvonen). I am splitting the difference and using 140, but preferably less.
I keep seeing posts about MAF tests and then a list of splits. My questions
1, What is a MAF test?
2. How would I carry one out?
3. What would I learn from such an exercise?
I ran a race yesterday - well, I just ran through it really - 15k up a hill (about 1600ft of climb) and down again; my average HR was 149, my max 163 - although most of the uphill was around 153 - this was a fast walk. According to my Karvonen numbers, threshold would be about 165 for me - I never got near that. Do you think that I just don't know what that pace feels like, or that my max HR is not what the numbers would predict?
run injury free
run sub 60 min 10k
run 2 hour half
run 1750 miles
sub 55 10k
sub 25 5k
sub 2 hour half
MAF tests, or keeping tabs on your speed at your MAF, are the key element of this training. Your aerobic speed (speed at MAF) reflects the state of your aerobic system, level of endurance, and your health.
If you are going to train using the Maffetone MEthod, I suggest getting a copy of The Maffetone Method or his new Big Book. Here's a page from his website about MAF tests:
MAF TEST by Dr. Phil Maffetone.
Here's a link to my contribution on the Boilerplate about the method
Basically, it's a formal test that Dr. Phil suggests you do every 3-4 weeks to measure aerobic progress. He recommends 3-4 weeks to guard against being obsessed about progress and any resulting stress about it. He's not off the mark about that, I've seen this obsession in myself and others along the way. You can be less formal and just keep an eye on your speed running at MAF during your daily runs. Although, you should keep in mind that your aerobic speed will vary from day to day. It's rarely ever exactly the same. You are looking for an overall curve of progress. For example, I've actually structured my runs lately in a way that start out exactly like the way I do MAF tests, essentially making each run an MAF test. Below, you can see how pace can vary from day to day, but there is an overall progress. The 3-4 weeks that Dr. Phil suggests is a realistic view of how you really progress. It's sort of like a 2 steps forward--1 step back--1.5 steps forward--.5 steps back when you look at it day to day.
All these runs were heart time runs. Taking 20 minutes to warm-up to MAF. These paces are all the first mile at MAF after the warm-up. The temperature and humidity were all in the same ballpark about 83° and 45% humidity. All were on the treadmill with an incline of 1%. Because all these variables were controlled, it shows how the state of the body can vary from day to day. This is why you should never freak out if you seem to be regressing when you compare (e.g.) Monday to Wednesday. Best to compare July 25th to August 25th.
WOW! A chart!
On July 25th my pace was 15:03---- and 10:16 on September 8th.
If you have a test that shows regression, retest a few more times over the next week or two, as the bad test could have just been an indicator of one of those days where the body is exhausted, stressed, low on something like carbs, water, electrolytes, etc.--or another variable came into play (like temperature, humidity, wind, sun, etc.)
Good luck. Peruse Dr. Phil's website. He has a lot there.
Log PRs Crusted Salt comics #192 (NSFW)