Low HR Training

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New Mark Allen Interview (on The Maffetone Method) (Read 1467 times)

    log   prs      Crusted Salt comic #142

     

      The essence of Mark Allen's interview, and Dr. Maffetones preface is longevity

      Mark Allen had an amazing run of time at a high level.

       

      I was chatting with a running friend through email and this subject and statement was broached. I thought

      it was relevant to this interview and thread. I'll share part of my reply:

       

      Sometimes people throw out this logic for why MAF works in terms of volume:

      "MAF allows you to run a higher volume, and the only reason you have improved is
      because of that higher volume------not the MAF HR"

      On the first part of that statement: well, duh--yeah, running easier allows higher volume, and as Charlie Sheen says : winning!

      But I also believe that the last part of the above statement negates the factors that Dr. Maffetone
      discovered in terms of energy systems based on RQ. The more you run with
      the anaerobic system engaged, the faster you get to physical breakdown and aerobic
      deficiency. In other words, the more you run above MAF, the faster you bring the end to
      your health and even your running career.

      Yes, you can do your base period above MAF and you will see some results--for awhile. Could be years of improvement. Could be a few months. Eventually, doing all or most of your running above MAF will catch up with you. There are always exceptions and some people will get away with it (some people smoke two packs of cigarettes a day and live to be 90). 

      Always important to note ( I always bring this up, and Mark Allen talks about this) that the other important part of the MAffetone Method is speed work. You have to balance off your systems if you are going to race. Dr. Maffetone does suggest (from his experience) that running above 90% MHR is not necessary, and that you will get the same anaerobic benefits from Fartlek at 90% that you do at bone-crushing intervals at 5k pace or HR or faster. He even suggests that older runners can just start racing, and do MAF runs in between, and that is enough. In fact, he writes about an elite, Mike Pigg, not doing any speedwork during his most successful racing season. Races were his speedwork.

       

      Amateurs like us (if there are any professional runners lurking, I don't mean to ignore your reality) have lives that are not built around professional running. We don't have the luxury, nor endorsements, to spend our days running and sleeping and being professionally coached, we have other priorities that are stressful. I understand that it's not a la-la land for professionals either--they also have families and sometimes have jobs to supplement the endorsements. Strict MAF aerobic base phases, and periods of rest, every year increase the probability of an injury-free running career (whether it be pro or amateur) that is long, or life-long. A strategy that reduces stress and keeps you healthy, yet keeps you improving, just seems to make perfect sense to me.

       

      Good interview and food for thought.

       

      --JimmyCool

      log   prs      Crusted Salt comic #142

       

        His answer for the "180-minus age formula" item got my attention. I have evidence caught by my HRM in 2010 that my maximum HR is well above the 220-minus age number. The evidence suggests my Max HR is in the 200+ bpm ballpark. I have used this info as justification for training at higher heart rates.

         

        Mark Allen's response is: "that does not mean you have a naturally high maximum heart rate. That means that you do not have a healthy developed aerobic system. And you have not developed you aerobic assets properly. ... But eventually the maximum heart rate will come down and they will run faster at a lower heart rate."

         

        On January 19, 2011, I had a VO2max test done at a local university as part of a research study. I learned that my bicycle maximum heart rate is now 174. This is much closer to "220 minus age" than my older evidence. Since that test, I have revisited the 180 formula and have calculated 131 as my MAF. I have been staying at or below this number for my cycling and running.

         

        I like the idea that races may be all the speedwork that I need.

          His answer for the "180-minus age formula" item got my attention. I have evidence caught by my HRM in 2010 that my maximum HR is well above the 220-minus age number. The evidence suggests my Max HR is in the 200+ bpm ballpark. I have used this info as justification for training at higher heart rates.

           

          Mark Allen's response is: "that does not mean you have a naturally high maximum heart rate. That means that you do not have a healthy developed aerobic system. And you have not developed you aerobic assets properly. ... But eventually the maximum heart rate will come down and they will run faster at a lower heart rate."

           

          On January 19, 2011, I had a VO2max test done at a local university as part of a research study. I learned that my bicycle maximum heart rate is now 174. This is much closer to "220 minus age" than my older evidence. Since that test, I have revisited the 180 formula and have calculated 131 as my MAF. I have been staying at or below this number for my cycling and running.

           

          I like the idea that races may be all the speedwork that I need.

           

          Last year when I ran my first race, my MHR was suddenly 203-205 after it being 197-199 for years. The opposite

          of the prevailing notion that MHR gets lower as you get older. It is exactly what Mark Allen was talking about.

          --Jimmy

          log   prs      Crusted Salt comic #142

           

            nice read, thanks!

             

            I'd like to comment on a few little things.

             

             

             

            "Naturally a person with a high heart rate might try something and lack the patience to carry it through"

             

            what does that mean? why should a person with a high maxHR lack patience? Surprised I didn't think max heart rate had anything to do with psychological profile... I hope I just terribly misunderstood this line Smile

             

             

             

            "And people who’ve tried this type of training and find it does not work I have found there are two main reasons: One, they have not done strength training, an element that has to be incorporated and done in the right way. They do not get as much strength and speed work in training as they need. So without those elements the system does not work for some people."

             

            I wonder what is "Two". I find this note interesting though. I might have been in this category in the past.

             

             

             

            "that running above 90% MHR is not necessary, and that you will get the same anaerobic benefits from Fartlek at 90% that you do at bone-crushing intervals at  5k pace or HR or faster."

             

            this seems to contradict the other suggestion about doing races as speed work. my HR is definitely past that 90% of maxHR limit in my races. example, 10K race I run at 93%-95% of max for most of the race. I run most of the distance in half marathon races past 90% too.


             

             

            "He even suggests that older runners can just start racing, and do MAF runs in between, and that is enough."

             

            that is a terrible idea for certain people including myself. when I came out of my MAF base build last year, and just out of nowhere I tried to run at race pace (a kind of race situation), I managed to make my anterior shin hurt horribly and I had to abandon the run. the anterior shin muscle just had to get used to faster running gradually. since then I figured out that this shin muscle is my individual weakness, if I just run slow for a period then I need to recondition it with some slightly faster runs.

             

            OTOH, I did have a lot of success with MAF run + occasional high HR runs past 90% max, near race intensity (some of it even real race). so, there must be something to this but it must be emphasized that someone who doesn't yet have a lot of strength (such as my shin muscle) should ease into the faster running, even if it is done as races. should not race all-out right at the first race.

             

             

             

            on another topic, jimmyb, your analogy of smoking might be a bit extreme... Surprised I'm sure that some running even if done at some HR a bit above MAF would still be healthier than smoking *two packs* *daily*... would be healthy as long as the overall training load is not too high, i.e. the person puts enough rest in after the workouts.

             

             

             

            as for consistency of high performance.. yeah I have wondered before if there is a connection between staying in shape near PR'ing shape almost all year and knowing how to run easy runs truly easy Wink I know some people who do that and they're always strong. I remember a guy who ran sub-3 last year, that's his PR marathon, he claimed he stayed in this sub-3 shape all year after the marathon...and he runs 9min/mile for the easy runs! (his marathon pace: 6:45)

             

             

             

            about max HR coming down. yes it may come down some with increased fitness but LT HR probably shouldn't/won't. mine didn't at least. so if LT HR is high, that must be different from simply max HR being high.

             

            my maxHR did seem to decrease a bit because I just can't seem to push it out there. also my heart rates for specific vo2max intensities got lower. so it means more endurance. but my LT HR is still the same - I'm not basing that on a scientific LT/vo2max test, but I can still hold the same high HR just as before. actually, the HR's and paces just below LT now feel easier to hold than when I had less fitness. feels more comfortable too. so, my LT profile and my RQ profile probably changed a lot but LT HR itself is still the same high stuff.

             

             

             

            following on that topic, I will admit I still have some reservations about the whole MAF formula thing. a good example is the following.. I have a running friend(male) who's 38 years old and who has about the same fitness and health as me (actually I have better PR's atm), we both started running around the same time; he's got a LT HR around 167 with a calc'd MAF of 142. mine's (MAF) calc'd to be 153 and my LT is around 194. my RHR is in the 50's, his is in the 40's. when he was very untrained it was in the 50's for him and it was in the 60's for me then.

            ...now, I have a hard time believing that his 142 is the same thing aerobically as my 153. running at 142 is not a hard run for him but clearly not as easy as 153 for me. his pace at 142 is significantly faster than my pace at 153. his recovery runs are in the high 120's/low 130's. my recoveries are right at 153. his paces for low 130's HR are close to my pace at 153. oh, and my race paces are faster than his. Big grin

              C,

               

              Dr. Phil has chapters on anaerobic training. I suggest that you read or reread them. I was just paraphrasing some

              of the suggestions in the chapter.

               

              The suggestion on racing, and running just at or under MAF training in between races, is a suggestion for race season. That for older runners (even younger runners) like me there may be no need for any anaerobic work in between races---a race being enough anaerobic work to keep your anaerobic system in balance with the aerobic. Mike Pigg is an example that he offers up.

               

              I respectfully suggest that you email Dr. Phil or Mark Allen with your other questions and your doubts about the formula that they found great success with. I can offer up no more argument or discussion or convincing about the 180 formula with you, or anyone, at this point. It's all been said. It is what it is. Do or don't do.  I can only offer my own 6 years of experience with it.  If you ever decide to actually do a real experiment with MAF training through all phases, I'd be more than glad to support you, and will join in with others to answer questions about what you are experiencing. I'm more interested in shared experiences than intellectual argument about this training..  Been there, done that--most of the time not fun--as it almost always is with someone who had never tried the program, or hasn't realized it is more than just the aerobic base phase of training.

               

              That's all I have, kiddo.

              Stay healthy.

              Keep going! Cool

               

              --Jimmy

              log   prs      Crusted Salt comic #142

               

                One thing that's worth bearing in mind is that ironman triathletes are training for an event that's of much longer duration than most running events (a few ultras aside). For a marathon (for example) a reasonably trained athlete can complete the event mostly fuelled by stored glycogen - and this is the way it goes for the elites. For an ironman you can't. So, as someone training for marathons, I take anecdotes from people like Mark Allen with a bit of a pinch of salt. Clearly it works well for him and others... but it's not the kind of training that the top marathoners do.

                  C,

                   

                  Dr. Phil has chapters on anaerobic training. I suggest that you read or reread them. I was just paraphrasing some

                  of the suggestions in the chapter.

                   

                  The suggestion on racing, and running just at or under MAF training in between races, is a suggestion for race season. That for older runners (even younger runners) like me there may be no need for any anaerobic work in between races---a race being enough anaerobic work to keep your anaerobic system in balance with the aerobic. Mike Pigg is an example that he offers up.

                   

                  I respectfully suggest that you email Dr. Phil or Mark Allen with your other questions and your doubts about the formula that they found great success with. I can offer up no more argument or discussion or convincing about the 180 formula with you, or anyone, at this point. It's all been said. It is what it is. Do or don't do.  I can only offer my own 6 years of experience with it.  If you ever decide to actually do a real experiment with MAF training through all phases, I'd be more than glad to support you, and will join in with others to answer questions about what you are experiencing. I'm more interested in shared experiences than intellectual argument about this training..  Been there, done that--most of the time not fun--as it almost always is with someone who had never tried the program, or hasn't realized it is more than just the aerobic base phase of training.

                   

                  That's all I have, kiddo.

                  Stay healthy.

                  Keep going! Cool

                   

                  --Jimmy

                   

                   

                  not sure why it is a problem to mention my friend's case as an example of how I don't get how the formula is the same for all people with the same health and fitness.


                  I didn't ask you to explain why it should be the same. I simply mentioned my doubts as to whether it is the same aerobic HR in the specific case.

                   

                  I did ask maffetone about that a few months ago and he didn't say much. he replied with some generic stuff.

                   

                  you also say you are interested in experiences, well I did mention my experiences before on this forum...and in this post you seem to dismiss that as "not real MAF experiment". whoa. (this kind of hurt my feelings.)

                   

                  please note that I like the maffetone training. I like the ideas in it and I think LHR training is important. I even bought his books (incl the one about eating) and like those too. my one single doubt is to do with the formula. this is important to understand here.

                    you also say you are interested in experiences, well I did mention my experiences before on this forum...and in this post you seem to dismiss that as "not real MAF experiment". whoa. (this kind of hurt my feelings.)

                     

                     

                    I apologize for hurting your feelings, C.

                    My bad.

                    "Porcupine." Cool

                     

                    --Jimmy

                    log   prs      Crusted Salt comic #142

                     

                      I apologize for hurting your feelings, C.

                      My bad.

                      "Porcupine." Cool

                       

                      --Jimmy

                       

                      no worries. Smile