MAF calculation for 60+ year olds

by Shari
(Bend, OR USA)

I'm an athlete, lean, fit 61 year old female. But a couple years ago, after going at it super hard with Nordic skiing (skate skiing in particular), I felt stressed and tired. And I do have Hashimoto's thyroiditis, but it was only detected when I had a test for antibodies (in other words, my thyroid functions and within "normal" range -- but doesn't like to be overly stressed).

I started with MAF about 1 1/2 years ago, using 110-120. At first, I was mostly walking, then 1/2 walking and 1/2 jogging then jogging super slowly and walking uphills. I think my ave pace was just sub-14 min/mi. Now my average pace for a 5-6 mile MAF run is from 11:30 to about 12:00 min/mi (depending on how long I run) and I'm hoping to get faster still.

Question -- should I subtract one now that I'm 61-years old or continue to stick with the 110-120 bpm? Is the 110-120 bpm the correct range for me to use? I've read that over 60, especially over 65 that sometimes the MAF formula needs to be tweaked. As it is, while I get called out when my heart rate goes over 120, there are times when I'm in the slow groove going uphill and by the end of the run I may have hit a 122 or 123 bpm for a couple of seconds. As long as I'm going easy, I try not to worry about those little blips too much.

Nicole’s reply:

Hi Shari, thanks for the question.

If you go by Maffetone's formula then it is at 65 years of age when you can start being a bit more flexible with the numbers. I would say, especially with your history of Hashimoto's and previously over stressing your body, then I would stick to the guidelines and aim to stay within the 109 - 119 zone. In fact some might even suggest that you deduct another 5 - 10 beats. 180 formula

I see that you have been back running for 1 ½ years and are making great progress but I would still stick to the formula and even err on the lower side of your MAF zone so as not to place unwanted stress on your body. I'm 62 and in a funny way I am looking forward to being 65 so that I can add on beats!

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