How do I navigate off this plateau?

by Claire

After 5 months of solid MAF training I've hit a plateau (I ran a MAF test yesterday, which was pretty conclusive).

What happens now? I don't want to lose the gains I've made (my HR is definitely less variable, my weight has stabilized, my strava effort scores have come way down). However, I'm signed up for the UTMR 4 stage race in September (COVID permitting) and need to train more specifically for that.

What would you recommend?

Thanks in advance for the ideas and feedback, I've found it all very helpful!


Nicole's reply:

Hi Claire, it sounds like you are making great progress which is excellent!

The good news is that Phil Maffetone specifically says that you don't need to do MAF training forever. If you have done a good block of MAF training (4 - 6 months) and you have improved but then hit a plateau, then that is the time to consider adding in some speedwork. It is advisable to do no more than 20% anaerobic training a week. You might find this link useful: MAF Plateau Speed Work

I guess if you are doing a long race like the UTMR then you will still be doing the majority of your training in your aerobic zone, so I'm sure you will retain most of your gains. Good luck with it, what a distance!

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Mar 31, 2021
Thank you!
by: Claire


Thanks for the quick reply!

It feels odd to be going 'off-MAF' to be honest.

I'll throw in a couple of speed sessions but keep everything else MAF pace and see where that takes me.

Cheers for now


Feb 14, 2022
by: Steven

Ii I may add..
Check out Ed Whitlock. Famous for doing long slow runs in loop of 600 meters around a cemetery near his house. I believe he must have done some kinda MAF or 80/20 running and his speed works came from the races he did. I think getting on a plateau is the time to add some races in like a 5K or else. You don't need to participate, you just can "plan" your own race. Act like it's a race. Do a few and then get back to MAF and see how the times evolve.

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