MAF with non-MAF runs

by Ken
(Hong Kong )

Hi, I'm 56 and do mainly trail runs with an ave elevation of 1500ft or more.
A friend recently introduced me to MAF and I've managed to bring those runs down to 133bpm with a target of reaching 130bpm. It's not easy running slowly!
I love trail running and with the hills, quite impossible to run my MAF heart rate. However, I am trying to run the same trails at a lower heart rate.
Question - is it ok to do a non-MAF run (with a lower heart rate) once or MAYBE twice a week along with my MAF runs?

Nicole's reply:
Hi Ken, thanks for the question. You sound like you are doing well as running on trails and with elevation is not always easy on the heart rate!

There is no rule that says that you should do all your runs at your MAF heart rate although when you are doing initial base training, it is wise to stick to your MAF heart rate only.

I am a fan of 80/20 running (80% aerobic / 20% anaerobic) so I do some of my runs above my MAF pace especially if I am preparing for a race or like you, have a hilly run. I would continue as you are doing but just reassess every now and then (perhaps every 4-6 weeks), by either doing a MAF test or see how your heart rate compares to previous runs on the same route. You might find this article useful: Polarized training strategy.

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