MAF Test 60 Day Results

Heart Rate and Pace

My 60-day MAF test results are in and I’m pretty excited! For those of you that just want the quick facts, here you go:

I increased my speed by an average of 3.68%

There’s no question in my mind the Maffetone method works (and I have the data to prove it). There’s also no question the Maffetone method is boring and a blow to your ego. 😀

If you’re new to the Maffetone Method, the 180 Formula, or the MAF test, I linked to each of those topics (opens in new window).

Here’s all the geeky numbers:

 Aug 2Aug 31% Change
Mile 112:5411:567.49% faster
Mile 214:4513:348.02% faster
Mile 314:4014:350.57% faster
Mile 414:4314:551.36% slower

I’m not sure what happened last month at miles 3 and 4, I pretty much stayed around 14:4x. If I recall correctly, the sun was going down and it was starting to cool off a little. That small change may have helped me pick up the pace and keep my HR in zone. Regardless, I gained speed this past four weeks and I’m happy.

What is the Maffetone Method?

In the Maffetone method, your #1 priority is to stay below your MAF Heart Rate (MAF HR) for your entire run. Most runners (including myself in the past) will stay at a constant pace for their run. What ends up happening is one of two things:

  1. Start out too easy because you know your heart rate will go up later in your run
  2. Start out at the top of your aerobic zone and by the middle of your run you’re passed tempo and most likely in the anaerobic zone

Here’s a really simple chart to show what a typical pace-based run looks like:

Pace and Heart Rate

The blue line represents your pace, red line is your heart rate. If you start your run at a 10:00 min/mile pace and maintain that 10:00 m/m pace the entire run, your heart rate will keep going up. Sure you started out feeling great (low heart rate at left) but eventually your HR climbs into the anaerobic zone. At the end of your run you’re wiped out but you have the satisfaction that you kept your goal pace.

The Maffetone method is opposite! You stay below your max MAF HR the entire run and your pace will slow down during your run. This is what it looks like:

Heart Rate and Pace

Again, the blue line is your pace, the red line is your HR. When you start your run (after your warm-up) you’re obviously able to run at a fast pace. The goal is to stay below your MAF HR. That means at the end of your run your heart isn’t beating out of your chest and you’re not nearly dying. Of course you have to keep slowing down in order to keep your HR below your MAF max HR. The benefit to this system is you’ll stay in your aerobic zone the entire run!

Aerobic and Anaerobic

I know I keep throwing around those two terms without really defining them. Well, I’m not an expert, I don’t have a degree or certification in physiology, nor am I qualified to answer. Better though, here’s a good article by Jeff Gaudette in the Under Armour blog that explains everything you need to know.

What does this look like in real life?

It’s terrible! LOL! Seriously, the first mile is okay because you’re most likely just running at a slow pace. As your HR starts getting near your MAF max, you have to slow down. Around 15 minutes into your run, you’re doing a run/walk/run to keep your HR below max. Not long after that you’re just speed walking. But… your heart rate is still at the MAF max!

See you in a month with a whole new set of numbers!

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