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I'm going to try this for a while to get my mileage up. My MAF HR is 145 (most of my runs are about 170-180 ave).

At the moment I'm cycling, swimming and doing a lot of circuit training, but while I'm running a bit faster these days I can still feel niggles for days after a half hour run. I'm hoping this will let me up the distance a bit without hurting myself.
 

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Well, first run: 4.83 miles, 15:48/mi, ave 144bpm! Certainly room for improvement!

The first half was uphill and was just under 17 min/mi, and I had to walk a lot to keep my HR down. Heading back home I found it much easier to keep to a slow jog, though it felt pretty ridiculous (15min/mi ave). It was chucking down with rain by this point so it was really tempting to rush home.

I'm going to aim to do the same route 3x per week and see if the times come down.
 

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Hey Nicnac, I don't know if you read my older comments above, but definitely stick with it! You don't have to be perfectly strict, but IMO running with a high heart rate all the time (even if it feels "comfortable") will lead to stagnation and nowhere near full potential. Unfortunately a lot of people run like that though.

What's your 5km time if you don't mind me asking? Bare in mind that 10min miles would be roughly a 23min 5km according to the chart.

On this http://www.runningahead.com/groups/LOWHRTR/forum/9dc7c4a4060d4ec2baac0976ddad9bf0 there is also an unofficial chart that someone has made, extrapolating the maf pace - 5km pace for slightly slower paces too.
 

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Thanks Jono, my 5k time (I've only "raced" it once, in April) was 29:56, so the chart doesn't look too far off.

I've really struggled to run consistently as my recovery and injuries from running were terrible, and it was stopping me from doing other sports. Looking back over my previous runs they've ALL been in zone 4 and 5 (based on a max HR of 200) in spite of me trying to do most of them "easy". Today was 50/50 between zones 1 and 2, so if nothing else this method should be very different.

An added bonus is that I burnt 3x more calories because I was out for so much longer :)
 

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Chart seems accurate again!

Speaking from experience when I started this, I built to 4 runs per week, all at around 30-35mins duration each, all at around MAF HR. So roughly 2hours per week in total. Doing this consistently for 4-8 weeks gave me massive improvements all by itself. After that I started making 1 of my runs slightly longer (40-50mins instead).

I reckon if you do similar, stay consistent (2hrs per week total) and injury free, you'll improve loads as well!

I noticed your signature says sub 27 5km goal. So I would be consistent like this until you can do around 12min miles at MAF HR (like the chart says for 26:23 5km), and then have another go at a 5km
 

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Thanks for the encouragement :) Yeah I'm planning to do the same thing twice a week for a few weeks then add in a third (or extend one). Previously when I've done 10+ mile weeks my legs have felt strained, but I can't imagine that being the case at <4mph!

Not planning any races any time soon - maybe a parkrun at the end of Feb to see how it's going.
 

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Second one for me today - it was really tedious and I felt like I was walking even more this time, but pace was a little faster (15:39), though ave HR was 146.
 

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Keep it up Nicnac! In my experience, when first starting out, my heart rate was really sensitive to a lot of other stimuli and not just running effort, so I wouldn't get too caught up on it if your HR goes say 5bpm above MAF for parts of the runs. At this stage your HR will rise at any chance it gets. Whereas once you get faster, you have to start pushing the pace to budge the HR up, otherwise it drops.

I kind of did another test a couple of weeks ago. Progress since starting:

24/Jun/15: ~35mins @ 9:47/mile (slightly above MAF)
27/Aug/15: ~34mins @ 8:53/mile (slightly above MAF)
30/Oct/15: ~83mins @ 8:19/mile (at MAF)
13/Dec/15: ~78mins @ 7:36/mile (1-2bpm above MAF on some miles)

The latest was a ridiculous week though. All of my runs were faster than usual, my HR was lower than usual and I felt superhuman. I had a rough/off week after that. Since then I've returned back to "form". I'm approaching that superhuman week again, except this time I'm feeling fairly average.
 

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Yeah I've got my watch set to show average HR now as well as instantaneous so that should help a bit.

That's awesome progress you've made - I'm going to have to be very patient! I've spent >2 hours "running" this week with none of my usual niggles, though, so it looks like it's my best shot :)
 

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I think all new runners should take this approach, as Jono is doing. its a great safe way to get fit without too much risk of over doing it. And only after a good amount of time, i dunno 6 months or so should you then do races and faster interval training. IMO too many runners jump into races and sessions too early I think without this 'base' behind them, and get all sorts of injuries and issues. Experienced runners do this - i.e. a base phase often during the winter months, just lots of steady/easy miles, they then ramp up their efforts as races approach.
 

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Just started this maf program this week, anyone tried it or doing it. Old thread I know. Cac :)
I dont follow MAF per se, but do on occasion wear a HR monitor and try to keep my HR below 140 on most of my runs as I like to run easy 90% of the time, and train hard when needed. So this approach sort of corresponds to my personal MAF zone of 137 from below, esp now i'm injured....think i'd struggle to keep it under 137 at moment though!

i.e. The formula:

  • Subtract your age from 180. (180-38 = 142)

    Modify this number based on your own fitness and health profile:
  • If you have or are recovering from a major illness or are on regular medication, subtract an additional 10. (0)
  • If you are injured, have regressed in training, have asthma, have never exercised or exercise inconsistently, subtract an additional 5. (-5, as currently got a dodgy knee)
  • If you have trained consistently for up to two years with no problems, make no modifications. (0)
  • If you have exercised consistently for more than two years with no problems, add 5. (0, as not been running 2 years yet)

"This is your maximum heart rate (MHR). For all you workouts, you should be exercising in a zone that’s between your MHR and 10 beats less. And we’re not talking about your average heart rate over the course of a workout. Your heart rate should be in this zone at all times, according to Dr. Gangemi."

Above taken from http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/running-training-maf-method/
 

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Since that really good week 3 weeks ago, things haven't been going particularly well. Even on my good/faster runs (which haven't been many) I've still felt awful.

Anyhow I decided to do another MAF test today because there was zero wind. I did just over 4 miles @ 8:10/mile. The mile splits were: 7:58,8:10,8:14,8:23 with my HR at around 159-160bpm for most of it. Couldn't keep my HR down. My MAF HR is 158bpm, so I was 1-2bpm above it.

Considering 3 weeks ago I did a 10mile run at 7:36/mile with my HR at basically the same value as today (1-2bpm above MAF), today was awful. I didn't fade / positive split back then either.

On 30th October I did 10miles at 8:19/mile at MAF HR without fading. On 6th November I did 7.5miles @ 8:22/mile 1-2bpm below MAF HR without fading.

Something not quite right at the moment. Gonna take it easy this week, have a think about it and have a fresh start.
 

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Jono - maybe it's something to do with the weather? I'm definitely going to have to put more effort into warming up before I head out. Have you been doing a lot of faster runs that might have tired you out?

I (stupidly?) did a 2 mile run quite fast (for me) on New Year's Day and suffered disproportionately from it! I did another 3 miles on Monday at MAF+9 only because I was getting too cold from all the walking breaks! Heading back out again today with more layers :)
 

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Hey Nicnac, yes on Monday I did a 20min threshold HR run which was somehow one of my best runs ever (6:32/mile // 5km in 20:16) despite feeling rough and not my true self. I also did my best ever tempo HR run just last Saturday. So it makes sense that Tuesday/yesterday were bad/fatigued runs. But the thing is, I've had comparatively bad runs ever since mid-December, so something's been off for a while.

I think I might've been overreaching. Like you said, and also from what I've read, you can start to compromise your aerobic function by doing too much intensity or doing it for too many weeks on end. When you do high intensity, you get a temporary peak from it, but really all you're doing is overreaching, and once you go over that edge / it catches up to you then you just plateau and/or get worse. Probably what's eventually gonna happen to me. My guess is that if I was to carry on now, not only has my aerobic started declining, but my anaerobic would probably start dropping soon as well (tempo/threshold HR paces)!

The MAF recommendation is to build a solid base with just aerobic running for 3-6 months. Which is what I did. And after that you can make up to 20% of your running above MAF. I was doing more like 30-40% (in the form of tempo/threshold runs) which was probably a bit too much. I've made great progress both aerobically and anaerobically from October-December, but am probably getting to that point where I need to back off. Higher intensities definitely affect it, especially at the "just starting" stage!

From now on I'm going to stick strictly to <20% of my mileage above aerobic. In the case of a 3-4 hour week, that's 36-48mins of faster running "allowed". So maybe I'll do 1 session, either a 20min threshold run or a 40min tempo run, but not try to both like I have been doing. Something like:

3x40mins MAF/aerobic
1x80mins MAF/aerobic
1x20mins threshold OR 1x40mins tempo

4hrs total
 

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Yeah, it sounds like you just hadn't recovered from Saturday/Monday - I don't think you need to worry about moving backwards, particularly if you had your best tempo and threshold runs so soon beforehand.

I haven't done as much reading as you, but maybe you could turn this on its head and use your MAF runs to measure recovery? Eg when you're back down to 8 min/m average you're ready for a "harder" session? Either way, your new schedule looks better to me.
 

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Yeah, if my aerobic HR pace gets back to where it was before then I'll know I'm back on track. I'm really hoping it does. I might wait until then before doing a "harder" session for the other 20% like you said. So maybe 100% aerobic until then to be safe.

The fact I've hit a new peak on my faster runs but gotten worse on my aerobic runs is a warning sign I think. Makes sense as I've been at it for a good 2-3 months.

"It is important to do this test more regularly once anaerobic training commences as one or two excessively hard sessions can be enough to start a downward slide in your condition and you need to catch these early to allow enough time to correct course ahead of your peak race.

The key is to watch for a slowing of your pace at your maximum aerobic heart rate. When this happens, its time to go back to your base-building phase… It's very subtle, but if your heart rate starts going up for a given effort in workouts, you know that you're on the edge—just resting won't help; you have to modify your training."
 

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So, it was cold tonight but my run was mostly downhill. I was quite pleased that I was managing to jog along at a really slow pace keeping my heart rate in the right zone...

However, then I realised that I can walk a good bit faster at the same HR... Is this normal?? I know I can walk 15 min miles, and my "running" pace was over 16 min/m tonight, I'm a bit worried that someone could overtake me just walking! I don't think I'm that bothered if I know I'm getting better, but today was my slowest yet - do I just need to be patient or is this as bonkers as it feels?
 

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I know maffetone works on a formula but i still think its worth while knowing what you true max HR is, nic nac im not sure you need to go at 16mm pace! Instead perhaps just readjust your HR zones?
 

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Jono, youl be Ok as i said on strava maybe you just need a little break, improvement is an up and down thing. Regardless of what your HR monitor is showing (lots of things can affect the values not just fitness) how you actually feel is important too, if your feeling spent thats a good sign to go easy or stop for a bit. If you feel good just carry on i say.
 

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I think there can be problems with the MAF approach. Cause when you're starting out, your HR increases rapidly no matter what, so not always a perfect indicator. And if it's interfering with your form so much that you're more inefficient (higher HR) trying to jog than walk, that doesn't sound optimal either. It's the getting started and establishing a base part that is hardest. Maybe you could try jogging as naturally as possible, but still going as slow as possible of course? Either that or do powerwalking, but do 4x per week of it. Either way, I'd say the sooner you can up to the ~4x/2hrs per week range the better. There needs to be a sufficient amount of volume/stress for your body to adapt from.

Here's an article by an experienced runner critiquing the various ways of setting the HR zones up, using their own data as an example: ranging from the MAF formula, % of estimated/tested max heart rate, max+resting heart rate (Karvonen / HR reserve formula), Joe Friel's lactate threshold test (30min time trial), and finally a real lab test to determine when aerobic vs anaerobic: http://tworiverstreads.com/part-2-determining-your-heart-rate-zones/

I actually prefer Joe Friel's threshold zones more than the rest, which the article writer seems to agree on. They make most sense and are based on your lactate threshold HR as a reference point, not your maximum HR. Assuming my threshold HR is 180bpm, which it seems like it is close to, then my aerobic zone is 154-163bpm, which agrees with my experiences.

I plan to do his test properly once and for all some time next month when I'm back to 100%. I did it for cycling last summer, but not done for running. Basically it's a 30min time trial where you take your avg HR for the final 20mins. That value is your threshold HR. Then you use that number to find your zones. Aerobic zone is roughly 85-89% of your threshold HR.
 
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