Is MAF right for me?

by Rob Moloney
(Bournemouth United Kingdom)

I have been running for the past 4 years. I am fairly fit though recent injury means I am taking it easy.

As such, it was a good time to research why my easy runs HR was higher than most good runners I see on Strava. Mine is 140-150, even though my 100% LHTR was spot on (I use Stryd). Max HR is 175. Other runners of all ages are all lower than mine!

Assuming MAF is right for me, do I start MAF training for 4 months or start 80/20 now? How do I know I have not reached peak performance of 126 HR, is it simply comparing my pace each month? My pace for under 126 HR (54 years old) is 7:25 per km.

Nicole's reply
Hi Rob, thanks for the question.

Many people arrive at MAF when they suffer from an injury. I was the same. It is a known fact that many runners run too hard and with not enough easy runs. That is what often leads to injury and burn out.

When you compare yourself to other runners on Strava, the fact that your HR is high during your easy runs, means that there is probably some run for improvement of your aerobic base and that is where MAF training could help you.

I would start with 3 - 6 months of pure MAF training. Start off with a MAF test so that you have a starting baseline and then every month you should do another MAF test which will show you if you are improving your aerobic capacity.

How to calculate your MAF heart rate
How to do the MAF test

Do a good solid 3 months of MAF training and then only introduce a small amount of speedwork if your MAF test results start to stagnate. You will probably find training a bit frustrating at first as you will be running much slower than you are used to. This is a common feeling but it does get better! .

Read up as much as you can about MAF training online, or even better is to get the MAF training book. I sense your hesitation in whether it is right for you but all I can say is to give it a try as you might be surprised.

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