I’ve been trying to follow Phil Maffetone’s training approach to keep my heart rate at my Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF) rate during my runs and rides. You can read more about it at his site here or my post here. I’m still not as diligent about that as I should be, but I’m working on it. And, after my last MAF test this past weekend, I may put some more effort into it. Just a quick explanation – a MAF test is simply running/riding a set course at or below or your MAF heart rate and recording your pace. I usually do it on a track where I do a lap or two to warm up then do a mile at my MAF heart rate. I think I should probably do a longer warm-up, but for now, that’s what I’m doing.
I started doing semi-regular MAF tests back in June of this year. My fist mile at my MAF heart rate ended up at 12:10 minutes. A month later it got a little slower at 12:26. But, since then it has been steadily dropping – 11:54 in August, 11:41 in October and 11:20 just a couple of days ago. And that is with me not being nearly as diligent as I should be with keeping all my training at or below MAF heart rate. I do, and I thing many people who try to follow this approach, find myself getting above it from time to time. Sometimes it’s accidental, sometimes it’s on purpose. I can’t help but wonder how much my pace may have improved if I’d been more focused on applying the MAF technique on all of my runs, though.
As much as I’d like to do all of my runs at my MAF heart rate, I know I probably won’t, though. Sometimes I just want to run at what feels like a good pace and heart rate, which is usually higher than my MAF heart rate. I’m still at the point where my MAF heart rate is just barely faster than walking speed, which is sometimes frustrating. But, I do think I’ll make more of an effort to some runs specifically as MAF training runs, and try to refocus on the others to generally keep the heart rate down.
My MAF test results seem to speak for themselves so it seems like I should focus on what seems to be working. Although I am making progress with my current approach, so maybe it is actually the best way for me to go. I guess at the least I should do a couple of months of diligent MAF training and see what happens. I’ll think on that. Comments welcome.