Friday, May 15, 2020

Changing from McMillan to Maffetone Training

After 6 weeks of training under a McMillan plan (via Garmin Connect Coach), I have decided to change to Maffetone low heart rate training. McMillan was very useful and definitely helped increase my speed. So, why did I stop the program? Here are my main reasons:

1. Too much speed for me. As a 54 year old runner, I can only handle so much speed every week. The McMillan program pushed me a little too much. It worked for 4 weeks, but then I started getting achy muscles and joints. The last 10-14 days was borderline injury time.

2. The program, as implemented with coaching via Garmin Connect, does not allow enough adjustments to the runs. If I had a long run set for Saturday, but wanted to change to Sunday (on Friday night), it would let me move the run to Sunday, but would cancel the other weekend run because it had no place to go. Should just have an option to swap one day for another. Oh well. It does allow moving runs around, but needs to be done earlier in the week to allow all runs to still happen.

3. If I skipped a planned run, but still did my own run that day (just not the programmed one), it would not "count" in the Garmin McMillan plan. It would record and show in Garmin, but not feature into the plan and my fitness profile. If I skipped the planned 90 minute long run, but instead did my own 1:45 long run, it would be like I didn't do a long run at all that week. Really?

So, with the excess of speed work and the inflexibility of the Garmin/McMillan program, I am moving to Maffetone style training for the next 2-3 months. My upper heart rate limit, using the MAF 180 formula, for almost all runs will be 180-age+5=180-54+5=131. Set my watch's heart rate alarm at 131 and slow down if it beeps! Easy. For some people there's no adjustment, others have a negative adjustment (even lower heart rate limit). Maffetone suggests doing all runs at or below this heart rate. Especially for base-building. I plan to add one run per week that is higher than MAF. Only one. And only if I'm healthy and injury-free. This switch should maximize my aerobic development, fat-burning, and endurance. By keeping a little fast running, I'll hold on to my speed gains. We'll see. Speed kills, distance heals. Let the healing begin!

A little more information on MAF (maximum aerobic function) training:
"MAF 180: Personalizing Exercise Heart Rate"

A lot more information in his book:
"The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing"

1 comment:

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