so, today was my first official MAF test! in case you missed it, i have decided to dedicate this summer to the maffetone method to build a killer base and hopefully nail a huge PR in january at the louisiana marathon.
i first heard about MAF training from miss zippy and sf road warrior and figured if these super fast ladies could slow down to get more efficient and stay injury free, then why can’t i? i am not fast to begin with, so i really don’t have anything to lose speed-wise. i am also injury prone, but i want to ramp my mileage to ~40mpw for marathon training in the fall. the big half marathon goal is in the bag, so this seems like a great time to slow down and see what progress i can make!
so, what if MAF training? it is essentially low heart rate training. the theory is that training at a lower heart rate will condition you to run more efficiently and get fitter and faster at a low heart rate, and in turn you will be able to run faster at higher heart rates as well. make sense? yeah, i didn’t think so. trust the science, people. the first step in this journey is to find your MAF training heart rate with the formula of 180 – your age, and that is the heart rate you should train at or below for ~16 weeks or until you no longer see improvements during your MAF tests. you can find more info along with guidelines to getting your MAF heart rate here.
a typical cycle lasts 4 months or until you stop seeing improvements running at your MAF heart rate. every month you are supposed to perform a MAF test to gauge said improvements. today was my baseline test, and it was pretty much spot on with where i thought it would be. you can view race performance estimates based on MAF test results here, and mine matches up perfectly with my recent half marathon result.
it is important to track temperature and humidity along with your results and to try and perform the test in similar conditions on the same course every month. i chose the local high school track since it is the only flat area near me that is free of traffic.
the track is about a mile from my house, so i used that mile and one lap around as a warmup to get to the target of 147bpm before beginning the test. you should also warm up until you reach your target heart rate, or your results will be pretty skewed by that first mile.
quick sidenote… i am 100% a hobby jogger. i run because it makes me feel really good and it is a way to steal time with my best friend. i did not run track or cross country in high school, i am not athletic, hell i don’t even watch sports! so, when i showed up at the track this morning i picked a middle lane and started going at it. i was using the manual lap function on my watch in case it didn’t pick up the track correctly, so once i made it around 4 times i hit the lap button. of course, i didn’t even think that the middle lane would be more than a quarter mile point to point. it was about the middle of the 3rd mile that it occurred to me that i was running about a tenth of a mile too long on each test “mile”. i blame my flaxen skull for that one. for the last mile i moved to the inner lane, since i still couldn’t figure out what all the lines and arrows meant on the track and how to run just a quarter mile in lane 5. i am just so glad i was all alone and no one could witness my stupidity! it didn’t seem to have much of an effect, so i am keeping these test results and will know better next time (hopefully).
test #1 results
date: may 2nd, 2015
gear: altra the one2 shoes, injinji socks, lululemon dart and dash shorts, moving comfort maia bra, lululemon run swiftly racerback tank, garmin 620, nathan quickshot
weight: 162.1 lbs
warmup: 1.39 miles @ 141 average heart rate
cooldown: 1.32 miles @ 146 average heart rate and 6 x 20s striders
the cardiac drift is about what i thought it would be, and these “miles” were actually 1.11 @ 146bpm, 1.11 @ 146bpm, 1.08 @147bpm and 1.01 @ 147bpm. glad i caught my error by the last one 😉
originally i had wanted to get up even earlier to take the test while it was still in the 40s outside, but i am glad that i waited as the june, july and august weather is not likely to be any cooler than 60*. a girl can hope, though!
i am really not sure what progress i hope to see in a month. maybe 10 seconds per mile drop? less would be ok too. i do hope to see my weight drop. i am about 30 lbs heavier than i would like to be going in to the marathon in january. i am hoping to lose most of that by the mid-september training start. they say that every pound is 2 seconds off your pace. if that is true i could possibly be a minute per mile faster by the time i am at goal weight–that would be worth giving up the mexican food for a while 🙂
has anyone else done MAF training before? any tips you can share would be much appreciated!
next time i post i am going to share my sub-2 hour half marathon training plan!