Sunday, August 14, 2011

Weekly training recap and MAF HR training

Mon: Rest
Tue: 3.3 miles@10:14 (run with my "swim coach" David)
Wed: 4.7 miles@10:02
Thur: 3.2 miles@10:12, weights + floor

Fri: easy 18min bike (115 HR) warmup, 30 min swim nonstop @ 4, much better with the flutter kick now. Fastest swim yet. Now working more on symmetric roll to the left so I can get to bilateral breathing someday (and also make it easier for my left arm)

Sat: 4.8@9:47 with 2x30s stride-outs (7:00 pace?) That was fun 8)
Sun: 8@9:34 

Cadences all @85-87. I can feel my running muscles coming back quickly...but I'm feeling guilty that I did so little cross training this week! That's a switch, eh?

Splits for the 8 mile sunday run:

Split Distance Avg Pace Avg HR Avg Cadence
 1 1.00 09:21 112 87
 2 1.00 09:31 124 87
 3 1.00 09:28 124 86
 4 1.00 09:34 125 86
 5 1.00 09:33 124 86
 6 1.00 09:33 125 86
 7 1.00 09:43 125 86
 8 1.00 09:49 126 85
 9 0.01 07:48 122 84

You'll notice I ran at an average 125 BPM heart rate. For me, this is what Dr. Phil Maffetone calls my "Maximum Aerobic Function" or "MAF HR", which is nominally 180 - 55 (age) = 125 for me. He's a firm believer in not running over this heart rate ..instead, he advocates letting your body improve pace at this heart rate. 

In this way you avoid the jazzing up of your endocrine system you get from hard running....his philosophy is to use races as your hard running and he doesn't believe in traditional peaking style training at all. He's coached one of the best Ironman winners of all time, as well as others, so he's had some success with these ideas.

I'm not sure I totally agree with all his principles but I do like the idea of measuring performance by  sustained pace I can do at a given HR.

Previously (being a geek) I invented for myself something called the "calibration run" , this testing was my way of measuring my conditioning level without having to race all-out. However, the calibration run is itself a hard run..not as bad as doing a race, but still a tough run. 

The MAF run by contrast is at totally sustainable pace. Here's what Dr. Maffetone says about this:

For a workout to be truly aerobic, you should be able to exercise the same way for many weeks and months with continued benefits. And, when you’re finished each workout, you should feel great—not tired or sore, and certainly not ready to collapse on your couch. Nor should you have cravings for sugar or other carbohydrates—your workout should program your body to burn more fat, not sugar. Burning too much sugar during a workout means it’s anaerobic, using up stored sugar (glycogen). It can even lower blood sugar. The result is that you crave sweets. 

This is a key to differentiating an aerobic exercise program from an anaerobic one. While even a hard weight-lifting session can produce some of these benefits short term, it does not in the long term. 

Eventually, even moderately anaerobic workouts soon can reduce fat burning and even lower the number of aerobic fibers your muscles contain. Scientists have demonstrated this fact. They have measured this decline. It’s not something based on anecdotal evidence. I have measured it too, in couch potatoes, aerobic dancers, walkers, and professional athletes.

I highlighted the red part because I think this cuts right to the problem a lot of marathoners have with crashing and burning: they do their long runs TOO FAST and never learn how to fully turn on fat burning. Instead, they become really good at running 20 miles at a fast pace 8/

If you are going to win at doing Ironman tris: you need a fast pace, but you need it to be totally are out there just too damn long to get away with anything else.

This, I believe, is why my year-of-8 marathons was so successful..I almost never trained at faster than MAF HR and I became able to do this 9:30-ish pace for hours and hours. I avoided injury for 322 days. (But doing the last trail marathon was probably too much considering my lack of trail running previously).  The marathons themselves became MAF HR runs that kept me in shape and didn't break me down because they weren't done too fast.

I do think to break 4 hours I'm need some fast running. But I think having a huge base of MAF HR speed running helps to get good endurance (i.e. fat burning). Not everybody enjoys HR based training of course, but once you know your paces you can stay aerobic that way. The HR based training can help measure small improvements in conditioning without teasing you to run faster and faster...and I really like that.

Anyway, this 8 miler shows me my conditioning is pretty good..a 9:30 m/m @ 125 with very little heart rate up-drift is good number.

The calf was just fine. It was sweet to run that far again...hopefully I'll be back to my favorite long runs in a few weeks!


I've been doing the two pressure stretches the PT showed me..the psoas one is working really well. When I get up, it's tight and it takes a minute or so to loosen it up. After my run on Saturday I found it was still loose..but after my Sunday run it was tight. I still can't sense it...I have to lay down and press on it to find out how it's doing. Hopefully I'll develop more of a feel for how I'm aligned without having to do that. 

The other stretch is not really working right...perhaps I'm doing it wrong...have to get her to show me again I guess 8/

I should mention that my PT said there was a lot of stuff I needed to do,'s not like two muscle stretches can fix a lifetime of being messed's just that she didn't even want to start on anything else until I got the pelvis in a better place. I'm just happy to be moving things in the right direction!

Hope y'all had a great weekend! 


  1. Things are looking good for you.

    Where is your header photo by the way?

  2. I find your posts on HR very interesting and you've motivated me to strap on the HRM this morning. And more data on the Garmin download -- but not sure yet what to make of it all. I'll check out Dr. Phil Maffetone site but any more recommended reading on HR training?

  3. interesting reading your blog I have just started MAF training after recovering from serious illness. To keep at my MAF HR I have had to slow right down and I am mostly walking my runs with a bit of shuffling but I do feel better afterwards. I was wondering how long it will take before I can run a bit more?

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