Hi, I’m 43, and I have struggled with health, fitness, and weight for my entire adult life. My MAF HR max is 132. I can easily walk under this number but if I try to run, I can get beyond 132 in around 15 seconds. I need to be able to run a mile and a half in a decent amount of time in about 7 months. Do I just keep walking until I can run? I worry I won’t ever be able to run under 132. Also, how often should I be walking? I usually do a 20 minute walk on most days, sometimes I do two but that’s rare. Thank you for any insight you can provide.
Hi B, thanks for the question.
First off it is great that you are working on improving your fitness and starting with MAF training is a great way to go. MAF training can be frustrating to start with and in fact most of us had difficulty to begin with so you are not alone. Keeping under your MAF heart rate is a challenge but the more you practice at it the easier it will feel and the more you will improve. You might be surprised at how much progress you are making.
Here are some pointers to help you achieve your goal:
Start with doing a MAF test if you haven't already. This will give you a baseline so that you can see whether you are improving or not. Repeat the test every month.
Always do a 15 minute warm up before you start your run. Start walking slowly and then gradually increase your walking speed so that your heart rate climbs gradually. If after the warm up you are able to slowly trot then great. If not, carry on walking. The more you practice the better you will get. Also don't forget the 15 minute cool down too. Both the 15 minute warm up and cool down are part of your training.
Aim to increase your 20 minute walk. Do this gradually over a period of time. So for example week 1 could be 20 minutes and then week 2 could be 23 minutes. Never increase by more than 10% of your total run/walk time per week. Every 3 weeks, have a rest week where your run/walks are a bit shorter. This gives your body time to recuperate and repair. Sometimes less is more, so rather than MAF training every day, you could do 5 days a week of MAF training (increasing the time every week) and have 2 rest days.
Your body needs a decent amount of sleep so aim for 8 hours sleep per night. Also check your diet and see if there is room for improvement. Consider doing the 2 week test as it is a great way to see how your body reacts to different foods, especially carbohydrates.
Check that your HR monitor is accurate. Wrist based HR monitors are know to be a bit erratic. I personally use a chest HR strap which I find is more accurate.
Above all, try not to stress about it. If you head out the door stressed, your heart rate is bound to shoot up. Train somewhere you enjoy and let your mind wander. Every run is a step towards your goal and before you know it you will be reaching your goal.
I hope that helps a bit and best of luck!