Is getting slower normal?

by Scott
(Wales, UK)

I have been running around my MAF HR only for 5 sessions, but I am already noticing that the times are slower?

The first time I tried this, I was averaging 13.28 min miles, then my next run was 12.51. I thought I was instantly making progress. My next 3 runs were 14.18, 13.32 and 14.22.

I'm just wondering if this is normal?


Nicole's reply:
Hi Scott, thanks for your question.

Your question is very common so you are not alone. The thing to remember is that MAF training is a long term process and takes time so 5 sessions is only just the beginning.

What you will find is that some days or even weeks are better than others. Lots can contribute to a slower run. It could be the weather, how you slept the night before, what you ate, coffee, stress and so on. Beginners to MAF training are often more stressed as they are constantly looking at their watch and constantly trying to improve their pace or are feeling uncomfortable and awkward with the slower running.

What I suggest is that you go with the flow. Relax and realise that it is going to take time. Give yourself at least 4 - 6 months. Make sure to get plenty of sleep and identify triggers that might make your HR go up. Also very important is to make sure that you do a proper 15 minute warm up before each run.

The best way to know if you are improving is to do a MAF test on a regular basis.

Comments for Is getting slower normal?

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Dec 01, 2021
Warm up
by: Ian king

Hi can you advise why 15 mins warm up, why can it not be 10 what difference would this make to MAF

Dec 06, 2021
by: Nicole

Hi Ian,
The warm up is essential as it allows your body to slowly prepare for what is ahead. Before you warm up, your blood is primarily circulating around your major organs and not much is in your muscles. By warming up slowly (12 - 15 minutes), you are gradually moving more blood into your muscles. If you do it too fast, your body goes into a sort of panic thinking that there is an emergency. Your heart rate will rise rapidly to help shoot the blood to your muscles and once that happens it is difficult to bring your heart rate back down without you stopping or running very slowly. Essentially your MAF run will be slower as your heart rate will have difficulty settling down.

The cool down does the opposite. When done properly, it allows the blood to drain slowly from the muscles taking away any byproducts produced by your run. If you don't do a long enough cool down the byproducts will sit in the muscles and recovery will be slower.

To do a proper warm up (and cool down) takes around 12 minutes. Phil Maffetone recommends 15 minutes. If you are pushed for time and only have 10 minutes, then try and see how your heart rate reacts and how you feel.

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