In late 2013 I started listening to a podcast on Itunes called “Zen and the Art of Triathlon” and have really enjoyed listening to the authors insight in to triathlon and how it affects every day life. One of the most interesting podcasts introduced the concept of MAF running, pioneered by Dr Phil Maffetone. MAF, or Maximum Aerobic Function. The basic concept of this is you take 180 minus your age and that is the maximum heart rate (HR) that you should perform workouts at. This HR is supposed to be the ideal number to keep your body using fat as energy and keeping you able to perform at a higher rate.
The problem that everyone talks about with this method is the beginning. People are always complaining how SLOW they have to run to stay at their HR. Sometimes they even have to stop running and walk to stay at their HR. Dr Maffetone says that this may happen but that every few weeks, your pace will get faster and faster while your HR stays at that same level. There has been user testimony that, eventually, they are actually running faster than they ever imagined and still not getting to this number. Of course, this takes time and patience. About 12 weeks apparently. So after running out my race schedule this year I found that the Ocean City Half Marathon is 12 weeks from today. Woo hoo!
I am going to try and stick with this MAF training principle the whole time and post the results here. Today was the first run, 3 miles on a treadmill staying at the 143 heart rate (180 – 37 years old). 3 miles in 32:42, putting me at a slow 10:55 min/mile pace. The best speed I was at was 6 mph (10 min/mile) in the first mile but, as I continued, you experience cardiac drift and your heart rate slowly rises, even at a slow pace. The final speed that I finished at was 5.7 mph. At the end, I felt fine and as though I barely worked out. I’m going to try and do a few more short runs like this and then build up the distance while staying within the 143 heart rate.