Sunday, January 27, 2013

Going long at MAF

Today was my longest run since February 2011. 1hour 20minutes.

It was not the longest run distance wise (that happened last Sunday when I ran 14.5km in 1h10m) because I only covered 13km today.

That's because I have decided to give that MAF training a chance. I do not know what it stands for and am too lazy to look it up but basically you run at your MAF rate and it is supposed to help you become an aerobic machine. Apparently that's important if I want to become an endurance athlete.

I did not have a chance to try it until now because in the last two years I was either not running at all or running fast intervals. Those were the only two options that did not irritate my ITB. Now my ITB seems to be doing alright and I can do longer slow runs (although that's what I thought in February 2011 too and it let to my worst ITB problem so far) so MAF it is.

I chose it to be around 155 bpm and I am trying not to let my HR go over it too much.

I ran 1h yesterday and ended up running 5:58/km pace. (that's around 1min slower than my usual easy pace).
Today I ran 1h20m at 6:07 pace. I had to walk 4 or 5 times to get HR under 160 because I ran on a road and there are some hills, it is not as flat as the trail I ran on yesterday. Thus slower pace.

Some observations:
1h20m run would normally mean a 10-miler...
When I put the HRM on my HR was around 80, as I started tying my shoes it went to 90s.
When I stopped paying attention and stopped holding back my HR would immediatelly go up up up.
Then I slowed down it went to high 140s and it was hard to pick up the pace to get it to 155. It basically confirms what I already knew, it is hard for me to pick up a pace when I am settled into an easy pace. But it is more of a mental thing because if I did not think about it I would speed up unconsciously to my usual pace.
I can imagine how hard this might be if there are other runners around and people who you can normaly pass running backwards pass you. But since I seem to be the only runner in this town I do not have such a problem.
I know I sound like a broken record but I am worried about my ITB. Also in February 2011 there were no signs that something is wrong so I did a few long runs and then suddenly bam!.
I am not thrilled that I need to remember charging Garmin and running with it on these runs. I honestly hate that gadget. Do not know why but I hate it. I love running with a stopwatch though.


  1. Do you have someone to guide you on the MAF training? You determine MAF based on max HR. My range is 155-165, my threshold HR is 175, and my Vo2 is 185. If your range is too low, than you are running too easy. Before I did a TT, my MAF was arbitrarily set at 155, and it was too low and did not help me at all. Also, I think running only MAF is going to make you slow. I was taught to do at least strides during MAF training, to keep those fast twitch muscles alive. My purely MAF training was 8 weeks only, and then I moved into typical interval, tempo, etc. Good luck!

  2. Thanks for the input. I have noone to really guide me, i just do whatever for this maf thing.
    I too arbitralily set it at 155. I am not going to do the test though. Maybe i will increase the number to 160. That sounds more reasonable for me.
    I am supposed to do strides too but i either forget them or do not want to do them on a road. I need to remember when i am on a trail now!
    I too am going to do this only for 8-9 weeks and then half marathon training starts in april. For now the plan is to run long intervals/tempo/or short intervals once a week and easy maf run 2-3 times a week.

  3. the sentence "I ran 1 h20 at 6:07 pace." jumped out at me and I wasn't sure whether you meant 6:07 per mile or 6:07 per kilometer and either really seemed to make sense! Now I realize you must have been talking kilometers...
    okay, so I have never heard of MAF training but from my quick googling of it I gather it is heart rate based training. Off the top of my head, 6:07 seems reaaally slow for you... so I went back to my book which I use for most of my inspiration when it comes to training plans: "Road Racing for Serious Runners". I figure since i base your plans on this book, I better review what it has to say about long run pace and here it is: "Remember long runs aren't jogs - to stimulate the desirable physiologic adaptations (e.g. increased capillary density) do your long runs at 1:15-2:15 per mile slower than your 8-10 km pace if trainig for 8-10 km and 1:00-2:00 per mile slower than your 15 km - 1/2 marathon pace (if training for 15 km - 1/2 marathon."
    So... let's break this down... these long runs right now are really prep for your half marathon, so let's go with the 1/2 marathon guideline of 1-2 minutes slower than your CURRENT half marathon pace (not your goal half marathon pace). Which, of course, begs the question of what kind of half marathon shape you are in right now... I would estimate somewhere between 1:31-1:34 so let's take 1:32:30 which means that your long run pace should be 8:03-9:03 per mile or 5:00-5:37 per km.
    My conclusion (based on a big assumption) is that your MAF training is too slow.

    1. I will try to do my next run at HR 160 and see what pace that gives.
      I have read on multiple blogs (because info there is like 100% accurate, right) that when people start with maf it is not uncommon to ran 2'/mile slower than they usual easy pace and eventually after several runs (sometimes it takes weeks) their easy pace at maf increases to they usual easy pace.
      But i think that both you and AM are right that 155 is probably little too low for me. So as i said i will try going at 160 and see what happens. Then i will also try going at 5:20-30 pace and see what hr that gives.

      By the way, i like your assumption about my half pace:)