maffetone method.

16 watchers
May 2018
6:04pm, 25 May 2018
4 posts
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I've been following this loosely for the past (almost) five years, but in the last year or so I've been a lot more dedicated. When I say "loosely", previously I was a bit slow in slowing down (or walking if necessary) when I ticked over my calculated HR. The past year or so has coincided with an increase in mileage and more dedication to sticking with it (e.g. always wearing HR chest strap, slowing down immediately if I tick over, etc). I've definitely seen some results.

When I started, my MAF HR was: 180 - 26 (age) - 5 (very mild asthma) = 149.

I'm now 29 and according to his book, every five years or so you should deduct around 2-3 BPM as you're in theory ageing at a slower physiological rate. As such I've adjusted to 147 BPM, so I try and stay in the 137 - 147 range.

Since I began taking it more seriously, there have been noticeable improvements in my aerobic pace. I used to run a 5 mile route home from my old work with a backpack on. At the end of 2017 I was in the 8:45 - 9:00 min/mile range. By late February I was running it comfortably at 8:20 - 8:30. I don't run the route any more but my first mile at upper range (145-147 BPM) on a training run is typically 7:45 - 7:50 at the moment (this is without a backpack).

I ran my first sub-1:30 Half in February and followed that up with another sub-1:30 (about 30 seconds slower) at the start of April, and I really do think training to HR had a lot to do with it. I don't do a lot of speed work but club intervals, parkrun and local events means its fairly easy to get one in a week if I'm fit and healthy. Maffetone does seem very conservative and errs on the side of do less (or none) unless you're fully healthy: that makes sense, but having the experience of working at a higher HR (as you're likely to do in a race) is valuable.

Haven't read all previous posts yet but interested to see how others experience has been. I think it definitely has been beneficial for me and I've seen results, but I do need to check myself when I start to get impatient. When you see those who are further along aerobically and cranking out low 7s and below per mile at their calculated HR, its easy to think "how am I going to get to that point?" but got to take it day by day. Still plenty more work for me to do, mainly:

- doing an MAF test on a regular basis
- reading up more on longer distance training runs (how much should your pace drop off, etc)
- how to best apply these things on race day (e.g. my average HR for my half marathon PB is 163 which is obviously above 147, from what I've read so far it's not clear in terms of whether the goal is to be running within your calculated HR for the majority?)

Wow, didn't intend to ramble on for that long :)
May 2018
4:39pm, 27 May 2018
1,550 posts
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I think somebody has already alluded to it, but is it possible to be too slow in the first place for this to work?

On a couple of test miles, to keep my HR below the target, I was doing 13 min/miles. Albeit without a proper warm up so it took a while for my HR to settle at all. But also bear in mind this was on flat tarmac.

This weekend I did an ultra, not running to Maffetone HR, but I kept an eye on my HR and found I was either walking or red-lining with very little in between.

For me, an 7min/mile is possible, but it is eye-balls out puke inducing effort, the kind reserved for sprint finishes and short time trials! Certainly not long runs, I'm normally happy with 12 min/miles off road and around 9 for on tarmac.
May 2018
5:59pm, 27 May 2018
2,459 posts
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For me, MAF is a real long term project. You will see fairly quick results, your 13 min miles will come down to 10 or 11 min miles within maybe 3 months, but then you are likely to plateau. The difficult part is knowing what to do then. You can keep going indefinitely, but progress will probably be slow, or go back to a more traditional training approach. For me personally, MAF works best as a training period or four to six months.
May 2018
3:22pm, 28 May 2018
1,551 posts
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I think I need to do the Maffetone Test thingy and do it properly. Just reading and dabbling at the moment, due to impending ultra (which I have now done, not completed mind but that's another story) and niggling injury.
I know have a good period of rest and rehab coming up, so a good time to look at this and my rather dreadful eating habits.
Mar 2020
10:56am, 27 Mar 2020
47 posts
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I have been following the Maffetone method since Christmas but I find I puff and pant as much as I do when running faster. I ran a half two weeks ago with a HR of 147 8.01min/mile but breathing was controlled. Every time I run at a HR of 126(I am 61 years old) I feel breathless. At times and feel uncomfortable. I also haven't seen much in the way of of improvement.
Aug 2020
2:40pm, 3 Aug 2020
35,016 posts
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Hills of Death (HOD)
Anyone using this still ?
Aug 2020
9:31pm, 7 Aug 2020
3,824 posts
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Maybe if there is ever another marathon to train for.....

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Maintained by fetcheveryone
Has anyone ever tried this form of training before?
Finished my 2nd marathon 3 weeks ago and am thi...

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