Low HR Training


So What is My MAF HR? (Read 437 times)

    Okay, I know* I shouldn't be doing this right now, but has that ever stopped me.


    I've been reading some of what's here and reading the big book, but I still have questions about what my HR should be.


    180 minus age is easy.  (111)

    But I'm not quite sure about A-D or the added beats for over age 65.


    A says I should subtract if I'm on medication.  D says I should add if I've been training for 4+ years and improving without injury.  Both seem to apply. Since I am over age 65 it sound like I should add some for that, but it doesn't really clarify how much.


    For background - 69 year old female.  Got this bright idea to train for and walk a marathon in 2006.  The only injury I've had was in the second race I did while training for the first marathon.  A very hilly half marathon when I still really didn't know what I was doing.  Gronked my knee coming down the hills.  Pretty much because the shoes didn't fit right and I changed my gait because of a painful hip because of a blister on my foot.


    Since I started this jouney, I've done 13 or 14 marathons and 19 half marathons and a handful of shorter races. I've knocked an hour off both marathon and half marathon times since the first ones.   I last had a VO2 Max test a couple years ago and was told that I my should train at a 119 HR for maximum fat burning. I still walk more than I run.


    I'm also taking Lisinopril for blood pressure and generic Fosamax for osteoporosis.  Of interest is that my bone density has improved from a minus 3.5 to a minus 2.6 since I started this.  My doc says to keep doing what I'm doing.


    Would appreciate any insight from you about what HR I should be using for MAF.




    * The reason I shouldn't be doing this right now is that I'm tapering/tweaking for a marathon in two weeks and have a 50K scheduled for 3 weeks after that.

    Marathon Maniac #991 Half Fanatic #58 Double Agent #22  It's a perfect day and I feel great!


      Yes it's confusing.  180 - 69 + 5 - 5 + ?.  Mark Allen adds 5 for over 55, adds another 5 for over 60.   But if you're not running when will you ever get your HR up to 'your' MAF number?  Only occasionally when walking up hills or into strong headwinds.  As your doc says - keep doing what you're doing.  You're obviously thriving and there's nothing wrong with walking only (which is fat burning only) and not running. 

      If you don't know about strength training for older people - and especially osteoporosis - this is a good place to start if you want to improve bone density.  Read 'Strong Women, Strong Bones":    http://www.strongwomen.com/books/.

        Good point.  I can easily get my HR above 120 while walking even without hills.  I'm almost faster walking than I am running right now.  But, I'm trying to transition to more running because that will help me be faster in the end.  I feel like I'm stuck at the same pace whether I run or walk and want my pace to improve.



        Marathon Maniac #991 Half Fanatic #58 Double Agent #22  It's a perfect day and I feel great!

          Welcome, Rose. Reading your post inspires me. Thank you.

          The key is always whether or not your pace at MAF is improving, plateauing, or regressing. You could always choose to start with 120 bpm and see what happens. If your aerobic speed (speed at MAF) starts to improve, then the MAF is okay, and the training load is good as well. Either do an MAF test 1-2 times a month, or just monitor your speed at MAF on the same training course, if you happen to train most of the time at MAF anyway. Just have a way to know how your aerobic speed is doing.


          The heart of this training is the state of your aerobic speed plus staying healthy. Whether doing speedwork, other forms of hard training, huge volume, or just base-building, the MAF test will guide you as to when to make changes.

          Good luck!



            Like jimmyB I find what you're doing inspiring.  Not satisfied with half and full marathons you're now stepping up to ultras! 

            As to walking HRs.  Walking at 3.3mph mine is about 95.  Walking at my limit of 4.5mph I have seen 109.  As my MAF is about 128 I have to be running or walking up-hill to reach it. 

            But presently it seems that your MAF is about 120, and you can be at it walking.  Experimenting on a treadmill I discovered that walking and running at the same pace the running HR was 10 bpm more than the walking HR.  So if you are running your HR is probably above MAF.

            Given the great improvement in your event times over recent years I expect that your HR on all paces has dropped considerably over that time and you might have been MAFfing all that time.

            If I was in your position I would time a training course by walking it.  Then try to get faster over that course, ignoring HR, by any means, walking faster or running increasingingly more of it.  That's how I started training for my first marathon many years ago, before I had any idea of training.  For you, as it was for me, it could be a way to build your running. 

            I've no idea what your training has been in recent years, is it possible to do more of it?  That is to increase your mileage, even if it's all walking.

              Echoing one of the coaches of my marathon training group - it's easier to stay in shape than to get in shape.  He also says that anyone that gets up to go out for 20 miles on Saturday morning at 6 AM in the dark and the rain is a runner.  Even if they walk.


              For me, that translates into it's better to do something every day than to decide if today is a training day or not.  I have a route from home that's about 1.5 miles, depending on which turns I take and I do that almost every day. I do something long most weekends.  I've been saying for awhile now that I could be ready to do a half marathon with about 3 days notice and a full marathon with a couple weeks notice. I am one of the Maniacs/Fanatics.  Last October, I did two marathons in a week (Portland Maine and Portland Oregon a week apart) and this year, I did three half marathons in three days.  My times on all three of those half marathons were within 2 minutes.


              I was using a HR monitor a couple years ago and then just started going by feel.  After reading some about MAF, I've pulled the monitor back out and have been using it for the last coupld weeks on some of my runs.  I haven't been trying to hit any specific HR, but just observing what I'm doing.  With the races coming up, I don't really want to make any changes in what I'm doing now.  My resting HR has dropped from the mid 60s to the low 50s over the last several years.


              My walking pace is right around 4 MPH.  My best marathon time was a 15:07 average over the 26.2 miles, and that included a serious bonk at the end.  The last two have been a little slower.  One because it was only a week later, and the other because it was a lot hillier.  I'm going to be interested to see how the race goes in two weeks, since I know and train on parts of the course and this will be my 6th time doing that race.  I don't have a clue how the 50K will work out, although I know it's a pretty flat course.


              Thanks for your words of encouragement. 

              Marathon Maniac #991 Half Fanatic #58 Double Agent #22  It's a perfect day and I feel great!


                I've been nodding to much that you wrote.

                If walking expect your times to be consistent, especially for half-marathons.  The problem of marathons is that the distance is beyond the glycogen storage of the body which for most people is about 18 miles.  My understanding is that there are two forms of 'bonking' or 'hitting the wall'.  Liver glycogen and muscle glycogen.  The most common is liver glycogen bonking.  One can train somewhat for it by using water only during long weekend runs.  During marathon or ultra events intake as many fluid carbs as possible. 

                The 50k will be much like your marathons, just a little longer.  You have the endurance.  If you don't bonk your walking pace should be consistent with your marathon pace.

                Full recovery from a marathon usually takes about four weeks.  That's why you were slower after only one week. 

                My resting HR has been about 60 most of my life, which has included a lot of walking.  It dropped to low 50s a few years ago when I started doing more running.  Two years ago it dropped to mid 40s over about six months when my weekly mileage went up to about 35-40 miles per week, all of that at an average of about my MAF.  That's why I suggest you increase your mileage; perhaps do 3 miles three days a week, better do 3, 1.5, 6, 1.5, 3, 1.5, Sat.

                  My bonk last year had more to do with being on vacation than anything else.  We flew in to Boston on a Tuesday, drove to Eastern PA to visit long lost cousins, then back toward Portland, Maine on Friday, to Portland on Saturday, Race on Sunday, drove back to Boston and flew home on Monday.  Vacation ended up being irregular hours, not as much sleep as needed and too much fast food because we were hungry and that's what was readily available.  Lesson learned - if traveling for a marathon and combining with vacation - do the marathon first and then the vacation.  We couldn't do that last year since I needed to be home the next weekend for the Portland, Oregon race.


                  It was interesting to me that I felt really good through most of the race and was way ahead of my expected pace.  I distinctly remember seeing the 22 mile marker, thinking that meant I was almost finished - only 4 miles to go - and then the thought that at my ususal pace that meant I still had an hour to go.  Since then, I try to avoid doing that mental math because that's pretty much where the wheels fell off.  I was totally amazed that I ended up with an almost 2 minute PR.  Had I keep my earlier pace it would have been about a 20 minute PR.  Oh well.


                  This morning was a bit over 5 miles with my training group.  I had the HR monitor on, but wasn't paying attention as I was walking with one of the other members and we were chatting about many different things.  We are about the same pace for the shorter distances, but I can hold it longer than she can.  At the end, my average HR was 107 and highest HR was 124.  I'll try the same thing next week at the race and see how it goes.


                  In the mean time, I'm thinking about what I need to do between the marathon next week and the 50K three weeks later.

                  Marathon Maniac #991 Half Fanatic #58 Double Agent #22  It's a perfect day and I feel great!