Losing all hope

by Alison
(Connecticut, USA)

Hi Nicole,
I’m approaching my ninth month of Maf training and I have gone through several stages of disappointment, re-energising, depression with the whole thing. I started out at 15 min miles and I’m still there. Now my latest attempt involves cutting out carbs so I’m even more miserable and also thin! So the question is, have you ever come across a person for whom Maf doesn’t work? If I can just get some inkling that something will improve I can muster the spirit to keep going, but I really am finding it a challenge now that I am stuck on the treadmill indoors for hours on end since my hilly neighbourhood isn’t conducive to low hr. on the other hand, if I’m just one of the unlucky ones that don’t suit the program I’ll go back to Matt Fitz and have fun again. I am 54, running for 3 years, and hoping to do a marathon before my time is up. I do not have a stressed life, apart from the Maf running issue...

Nicole's reply:
Hi Alison, thanks for your question.
I feel your frustration as I have totally been at the point that you are right now!.

Phil Maffetone believes that MAF training does work for everyone but I would also add that some people do seem to see gains quicker than others.

9 months is usually long enough to see some gains but your gains could be be affected by certain factors. In case you haven't thought of these already, make sure that:


  • You are doing enough mileage - aim for 7 hours +/week. Equally make sure that you are not overtraining or not getting enough rest days.
  • You are not cheating on your heart beats or that you are not going over your MAF heart rate too often.
  • You do a proper warm up (15 minutes).
  • Your diet is healthy enough. Going low carb can help but for some people aiming for healthy carbs is the right solution.
  • You are getting enough sleep. Aim for 8 hours a night.
  • Is your heart rate monitor accurate? I find chest straps are more reliable than the wrist monitors.
  • You might find this article useful too. Why don't I get faster?

Since you have already done 9 months of MAF training and if there is no glaring issue that is affecting your progress, I would suggest adding in a little bit of speedwork for a few months and see if that makes a difference.

I am a big fan of Matt Fitzgerald's 80/20 and find it ties in nicely with MAF training when you want to add speedwork. I hope that has helped a bit and do let me know how you get on :).

Comments for Losing all hope

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Feb 25, 2021
HANG ON IN THERE NEW
by: Claire

Your post really resonated with me. I've been MAF only for getting on for 5 months and seeing really slow progress.

After a similar post to this site, I took the advice to do a MAF test every month or so. This has shown me definite progress and given me a bit more faith to stick with it!

Oh - I've also reduced my days running, added in a bit more pilates and made sure that I warm up.

Good luck!

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