Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Baseline MAF Test

With my right knee injured a couple of weeks ago (due to running too fast), I figured it was a good time to ratchet back my training and build a good aerobic base. Why not try Maffetone style training for a bit? I won't go into the details of his approach, but it's based on keeping a low heart rate during exercise (max=180-age, with possible minor adjustments). Your MAF heart rate is usually pretty low and the subsequent running pace rather slow. That's the idea--keep yourself in a relaxed, fat-burning zone. With time, you will run faster at that same low heart rate. To track progress, or regression, he suggests a MAF (maximum aerobic function) test about once/month. That means running in a controlled environment at your MAF heart rate for 3-5 miles. You should see faster mile times as the weeks progress. And the slowing from mile to mile within a workout should also decrease. That means you are getting more aerobically fit. If you stagnate or get worse, something is wrong (illness, stress, too much hard training, racing, etc).

Today I ventured to the gym, jumped on a treadmill and did a 1-mile warm-up, then 2 miles at MAF heart rate (for me, 180-age+5). The "real" MAF test is usually longer, but this shorter routine still allows me to track first mile pace and slow down from mile 1 to mile 2. And it keeps me interested. MAF miles can be boring.

Here are my statistics for this baseline test:

  • Mile 1 = 8:15
  • Mile 2 = 8:33
  • Change in pace: 18 seconds

Last time I did a MAF test was in July 2016. Here's my related blog post. I didn't keep it going that summer. I plan to have regular updates this spring and summer. Hopefully that first mile will get faster with time and the difference between miles will also be reduced (fatigue will produce a slower mile, but the fitter you are, the less change you'll see).

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