Back around Christmas, I decided I was going to try MAF training to help me improve my overall fitness before beginning training for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler and the Pittsburgh Half Marathon.
At the same time, you might remember, I started classes at Unite Fitness. I immediately fell in love with how hard my body was working, and now I’m impressed at how quickly I’m seeing results in my overall capacity to work.
What’s MAF Training?
Basically, it’s aerobic base building that forces you to run more controlled (often starting much slower) because you’re trying to stay under your maximum heart rate. The key to it is the specialized formula that uses 180 as a true max, and then based on your age, and a few other factors you find your max heart rate. Mine was 142.
The real key to it, though, is that you aren’t supposed to do any workouts, not just runs, that takes you above that heart rate. This is important to remember.
What I learned is that I have some serious work to do, because I could barely maintain a very slow jog without topping out my heart rate. After 4-5 “runs” like this, I stopped wanting to run. I wasn’t running, I was speed walking, and it wasn’t making me feel like I could make progress, it made me feel like a failure.
I had also been going to Unite regularly, and was hitting way above my max heart rate of 142. After a couple of weeks of this, I reread some other bloggers experiences (Holly, Katie, Amanda, Jill) and realized I was killing my own attempt at MAF training with my Unite workouts.
So last week I decided with 13 weeks until the Pittsburgh half, I’d rather work on getting stronger & faster with Unite, and save MAF for summer, when I’ll be much happier to be moving more slowly, and work on rebuilding my base as part of training for my fall marathon.
Is anyone familiar with another way of building cardio capacity? I’d be interested to read up on other options. I’d also love to find a way to be building it during this training cycle.
Training to Run Home PGH
If everything went right, I got up and did my first miles using Runner’s World Smart Coach Plus. I’m excited to have a training plan that gives me paces for each run, and mixes in intervals, tempo runs, and will force me truly do easy runs. I have a tendency to run easy runs as fast as I can. I don’t know why. They’re short, why shouldn’t I run them fast? Because that’s not the point of them. I know that, and I will imagine Bart Yasso yelling at me for running them too fast if I do it often.
Has anyone else tried MAF training? What was your experience?
Would you use this method to do your base building?
Have you ever used Runner’s World training plans?
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