Endurance Skating

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MAF Progression – Does This Stuff Work?

MAF Progression 2014-09-18

3 months’ worth of progress with MAF training

The chart says above says it all…

A while back I said that I was going to do exclusive MAF training with the aim of improving my aerobic speed in the build up to running Berlin, and I’ve almost been true to that. I estimate that my total running hours can been broken down roughly as follow:

  • 20% below MAF zone < 138bpm
  • 70% within MAF zone (138-148bpm)
  • 10% above MAF zone > 148bpm

Overall, at least 90% of my mileage has been deeply aerobic. The three races that I have had in the last 3 months (LIM, Copenhagen & the Bacchus half-marathon) are really the only times where I have sustained any sort of anaerobic effort.
Maffetone says that you should perform a MAF test only every 3-4 weeks, but of course that takes a long time to build a picture of how you are progressing, so I figure there was no harm in testing a little more often and performed my treadmill test once or sometimes twice a week. Here is the data I recorded:

Date (km) Time min/km km/hr min/mil mph avg BPM
28/07/2014 2 13:33 Indoor 06:47 8.86 10:52 5.52 146
30/07/2014 2 13:37 Indoor 06:48 8.81 10:56 5.49 146
06/08/2014 2 13:14 Indoor 06:37 9.07 10:37 5.65 146
08/08/2014 2 12:48 Indoor 06:24 9.38 10:16 5.84 146
12/08/2014 2 13:45 Indoor 06:52 8.73 11:02 5.44 146
14/08/2014 2 12:54 Indoor 06:27 9.30 10:21 5.80 147
19/08/2014 2 13:10 Indoor 06:35 9.11 10:34 5.68 148
26/08/2014 2 13:15 Indoor 06:37 9.06 10:38 5.64 148
29/08/2014 2 13:06 Indoor 06:33 9.16 10:31 5.71 145
02/09/2014 2 12:50 Indoor 06:25 9.35 10:18 5.83 148
09/09/2014 2 12:52 Indoor 06:26 9.33 10:20 5.81 147
10/09/2014 2 12:45 Indoor 06:22 9.41 10:14 5.86 147
12/09/2014 2 12:40 Indoor 06:20 9.47 10:10 5.90 147
16/09/2014 2 12:30 Indoor 06:15 9.60 10:02 5.98 148
18/09/2014 2 12:25 Indoor 06:12 9.66 09:58 6.02 147

Despite some wonky fluctuactions over the first 3 weeks, the bottom line is that in under 3 months I’ve improved my pace at MAF-HR by roughly 45 seconds, and can now hold a 10:00min/mile pace at the same heart rate as I was for 10:45min/mile. If I stretch my mind further back to when I first signed up and started my off-season training some 10 months ago, I recall plodding around the block at roughly 12:00-12:30min/mile at my MAF heart rate… although back then I don’t think I even knew what “MAF” was!

Here is a reminder of what happens when we specifically target the aerobic system in training:

  • Improve mitochondrial density and the ability to generate more ATP for the same amount of oxygen
  • Teach the body to use fat for fuel rather rather than glycogen
  • Keeps cortisol low = less stress & recovery required = able to train more frequently
  • Improved ability to remove free radicals = better general health
  • Improved cardiovascular system; stroke volume increases, and capilliaries multiply to carry more blood to muscle tissue

On the eve of Berlin, I’m a fitter and faster runner now that I have ever been, and I have got to this point by training deliberately easily.

Does MAF Training Work? You Betcha Ass it works!

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5 comments on “MAF Progression – Does This Stuff Work?

  1. wpvandieu
    September 19, 2014

    Just dug up a trace of one of my first training runs back in Nov 2013:
    http://connect.garmin.com/activity/421485267

    12:30min/mile pace@ 148-150ish bpm. Now I reckon I could easily maintain that pace at sub 130bpm!

    Like

  2. ImpendingBonk
    November 15, 2014

    Measured progress must feel satisfying. Good work.

    Like

  3. Pingback: Common MAF & Low Heart Rate Training Misconceptions: Rebutted! | Endurance Skating

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This entry was posted on September 18, 2014 by in Running, Training and tagged , , , , .

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