1

# How to adjust Maffetone formula as you approach 65 (Read 1117 times)

Jimbo3

I am 57 years old and my question concerns how to adjust the formula as you approach age 65. By Dr. Maffetone's formula my MAF training range is 108-118 BPM (180-57-5).

The one part of the formula that doesn't make sense to me is that one would abruptly add 10 BPM to your MAF range at 65. Surely your body doesn't abruptly change on your 65th birthday!

Has there been anything written whether one would phase in the higher range as you approach age 65? I'm wondering if I should raise the 118 BPM cap by a few beats to reflect my age.

Mark Allen had an article I recall that addressed this.  Here is the link

http://www.duathlon.com/articles/1460

Here is the excerpt from the article

Here is the formula:
1. Take 180
2. Subtract your age
3. Take this number and correct it by the following:
-If you do not workout, subtract another 5 beats.
-If you workout only 1-2 days a week, only subtract 2 or 3 beats.
-If you workout 3-4 times a week keep the number where it is.
-If you workout 5-6 times a week keep the number where it is.
-If you workout 7 or more times a week and have done so for over a year, add 5 beats to the number.
-If you are over about 55 years old or younger than about 25 years old, add another 5 beats to whatever number you now have.
-If you are about 60 years old or older OR if you are about 20 years old or younger, add an additional 5 beats to the corrected number you now have.

I am 52 years old, so the bold part stuck out to me.  Based on this, it seems that once you get to about 50 years old, you can kind of keep the same MAF through your 50s and early 60s.

For example, if I started this at 50 years old, and I determined my MAF HR to be 130.  Well, if I progresses over the next few years, I get to keep that number for about 3 years I think.  And by the time you hit 55, you get to add 5, so that brings you to 130 again.  And maybe higher, if you think you can do the plus 5 beats.  And then the same thing by the time you hit 60.

I kind of look at this like I can just keep my MAF in the 130s for the next 10 or 15 years and probably be OK based on this.

I have heard advice from others that once you hit your 50s, that you should be fine keeping your HR in the 130s for easy runs.

I am 57 years old and my question concerns how to adjust the formula as you approach age 65. By Dr. Maffetone's formula my MAF training range is 108-118 BPM (180-57-5).

The one part of the formula that doesn't make sense to me is that one would abruptly add 10 BPM to your MAF range at 65. Surely your body doesn't abruptly change on your 65th birthday!

Has there been anything written whether one would phase in the higher range as you approach age 65? I'm wondering if I should raise the 118 BPM cap by a few beats to reflect my age.

Dr. Phil writes that "the 180 formula may need to be further individualized for people over the age of 65. For some of these athletes, up to 10 beats may have to be added for those in category D in the 180 formula and depending one's fitness and health. This does not mean 10 should be automatically added, but that an honest self-assessment is important" (Big Book of Endurance Training And Racing by Dr. Phil Maffetone page 71-72)

The best way to be certain is to have an RQ test. Then graph the HR data and look for the deflection point after the initial curve and right as a steep rise in sugar-burning begins to happen. If you have access to a treadmill that can be set to metric (kilometers), you could try the deflection point test I devised. Read about here. So far it has worked with 4 people in determining a deflection point, and each have coincided with 180-age (within a beat or two).

I'm sure he inserted this paragraph about the 10 beats for 65 years old and up because he saw that the formula wasn't as accurate for the athletes that were in decent health and fit, and noticed some still had MAF's around 125-135.

Slowgino, who posts here on occasion and is 70+, can attest to this. He's written about having an RQ test and his deflection point being somewhere in the neighborhood of 130 bpm.

--Jimmy

Petco Run/Walk/Wag 5k

I'll be 65 in October. I started MAF running at 63 and have been using a MAF of 107, 180-age-10 for meds. I've played with using a MAF range of 107-113 but have a problem with adding BPMs because of my meds. My hr is limited and I've a measured max of 137. Adding 10 gets me to 117 which is to high a percentage of max and is hard to maintain anyway unless racing.

So - I go back to the experiment of 1 philosophy and keep using maf at 107 but allow it to get to 113 on inclines.

bob e v
2014 goals: keep on running! Is there anything more than that?

Complete the last 3 races in the Austin Distance Challenge, Rogue 30k, 3M Half, Austin Full

Break the 1000 mi barrier!

History: blessed heart attack 3/15/2008; c25k july 2008 first 5k 10/26/2008 on 62nd birthday.

It is interesting that Mark Allen has these additional adjustments to the 180 formula (+5 at 55 and +5 more at age 60) and that Maffetone has +10 beats added under certain circumstances when someone reaches 65 years old.

I am assuming Mark Allen added these adjustments based on his experience with older runners.  But, as the original poster asked, what is so magical about age 65 vs age 64?  Same goes with Mark Allens adjustment.  At age 54 you do not add anything, but at age 55 you add 5?

Probably a better way to do it would be just to add one beat for every year between age 51 and age 60?   This way you add as follows:

add 1 if you are 53

add 2 if you are 54

add 3 if you are 55

add 4 if you are 56

add 5 if you are 57

add 6 if you are 58

add 7 if you are 59

add 8 if you are 60

add 9 if you are 61

add 10 if you are 62

This makes more sense to me than just saying to add 5 at age 55 but at age 54 you do not add anything?  It makes sense that it is something that changes gradually with age.  Since you can add 5 at age 55 to 59, I chose age 57 as the add 5 point.

The above Mark Allen chart actually lines up more with Maffetone who says to add 10 at age 65 under certain circumstances.  In this chart you add 10 at age 62.

Another way to look at the 50s is that whatever MAF you start at, is probably what you can keep for the rest of that decade.  You wonder what is going on with people in their 50s which causes this?  I do recall reading once that after a certain age we really do start losing the use of our fast twitch fibers.  Something about losing nerve units as we get older that cause the fast twitchers to fire.  I also recall that once they lose that nerve they become like slow twitchers.

I think this also lines up with something else I read.  As an older runner, it really is important to keep in touch with the fast twitchers.  I read that one coach even recomemded shorter training cycles.  This way there is less time between the faster running cycles.  This actually sounds very attractive to me.  The idea of say 4 weeks base, 2 weeks strength and speed and then do some racing and then repeat.  I know this.  My last race was last December.  I defintiely feel I have lost a lot of strenght and speed because I have not run anything but base miles since then.

What should Ed Whitlock add?

It is interesting that Mark Allen has these additional adjustments to the 180 formula (+5 at 55 and +5 more at age 60) and that Maffetone has +10 beats added under certain circumstances when someone reaches 65 years old.

I am assuming Mark Allen added these adjustments based on his experience with older runners.  But, as the original poster asked, what is so magical about age 65 vs age 64?  Same goes with Mark Allens adjustment.  At age 54 you do not add anything, but at age 55 you add 5?

Probably a better way to do it would be just to add one beat for every year between age 51 and age 60?   This way you add as follows:

add 1 if you are 53

add 2 if you are 54

add 3 if you are 55

add 4 if you are 56

add 5 if you are 57

add 6 if you are 58

add 7 if you are 59

add 8 if you are 60

add 9 if you are 61

add 10 if you are 62

This makes more sense to me than just saying to add 5 at age 55 but at age 54 you do not add anything?  It makes sense that it is something that changes gradually with age.  Since you can add 5 at age 55 to 59, I chose age 57 as the add 5 point.

The above Mark Allen chart actually lines up more with Maffetone who says to add 10 at age 65 under certain circumstances.  In this chart you add 10 at age 62.

Another way to look at the 50s is that whatever MAF you start at, is probably what you can keep for the rest of that decade.  You wonder what is going on with people in their 50s which causes this?  I do recall reading once that after a certain age we really do start losing the use of our fast twitch fibers.  Something about losing nerve units as we get older that cause the fast twitchers to fire.  I also recall that once they lose that nerve they become like slow twitchers.

I think this also lines up with something else I read.  As an older runner, it really is important to keep in touch with the fast twitchers.  I read that one coach even recomemded shorter training cycles.  This way there is less time between the faster running cycles.  This actually sounds very attractive to me.  The idea of say 4 weeks base, 2 weeks strength and speed and then do some racing and then repeat.  I know this.  My last race was last December.  I defintiely feel I have lost a lot of strenght and speed because I have not run anything but base miles since then.

Thanks for the chart and analysis, Run.

Perhaps, whatever  causes the lowering in MHR over the years (supposedly, it gets lower as you age) is the same as what causes the lowering in MAF over the years. Most likely the fibers as you wrote. From page 41-42 of Big Book of Endurance Training And Racing by Dr. Phil Maffetone: "with aging comes an increased loss of anaerobic fibers--one reason we lose speed as we get older. The result is a higher percentage of aerobic fibers, making our potential for endurance greater with age. This is one main reason why sprinters peak early in life while endurance athletes peak later, often in the 3rd or 4th decade, or beyond, and can still continue to perform at high levels for many years beyond that time."

When running in an aerobic base period, generally 12-16 weeks is long enough, and one should build volume enough so there is an improvement of speed at the MAF. Then get to the business of anaerobic stimulation and racing. Once racing, there isn't much reason to do too much anaerobic training in between races. You get quite a lot from a race. I really think a regular MAF test every 3-4 weeks can be your guide through the later years, just as it can be now. If you add ten beats at age 65 and your MAF tests start to tank over time, then an adjustment might be in order.

This discussion, and mention of Ed Whitlock,  reminded me of a man who Pfitzinger and Douglas wrote about in Advanced Marathoning (Edition 1 page 47-48) by the name John Keston, aged 70+ at the time. He ran 2:58 in the marathon just days before his 70th birthday. He had a goal of breaking the 3:01:14 world record at the time (pre-Ed Whitlock) for 70+. He ran a string of 10 marathons in 20 months in attempts to break it, all between 3:00-3:07! He did break the record with a 3:00:58. He said he was able to do this because he used intelligent recovery rules. He cut back on longer training efforts and kept a regimin of two speed session per week. Walking or resting on days in between. Later on in later 70's he would run 14-17 miles every 3rd day with 5-6 mile walks the other days. He also incorporated strength training, paying attention to his quads and hammies. Here's an article on on Keston:

http://runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=4831

Ed Whitlock, on the other hand, did pretty much just aerobic base training. Running on a loop in the cemetery across fronm his hous for three hours a day. Covering 100 miles per week. Studies have shown that long runs eventually recruit some fast twitch fibers at some point when the type 1 fibers are exhausted. In essence, long runs are a form of speedwork (playing a bit loosely, but at the very least, you can say it trains some of the fibers that are trained when doing intervals).

Article on Ed Whitlock's training

Both men reached the top of their age group, with different methods. Keston was smart enough to know that if he was going to do speedwork, he needed a lot of recovery. Whitlock, because he was staying aerobic, didn't need as much recovery, and became an aerobigid in the process. My guess would be that is aerobic speed was through the roof (if tested at MAF).

--Jimmy

Thanks Jimmy for elaborating on Ed Whitlocks and John Kestons training and on what Dr. Phil Maffetone has written.

Below is a link to an article that talks more about training for the over 40 athlete by a coach named John Kellogg.  I found it interesting and feel like there is a lot of valuable information in it.  I was kind of surprised by how much anaerobic training he thinks the older athlete should do.

http://www.hillrunner.com/forums/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=3934.0;attach=10

The idea he presented about shorter training cycles is what most appealed to me.

Thanks Jimmy for elaborating on Ed Whitlocks and John Kestons training and on what Dr. Phil Maffetone has written.

Below is a link to an article that talks more about training for the over 40 athlete by a coach named John Kellogg.  I found it interesting and feel like there is a lot of valuable information in it.  I was kind of surprised by how much anaerobic training he thinks the older athlete should do.

http://www.hillrunner.com/forums/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=3934.0;attach=10

The idea he presented about shorter training cycles is what most appealed to me.

that would be useful for someone trying to win a race..thats where anaerobic capabilities and sprinting matter a lot