New to MAF

by Stephen
(Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA)

I am 66 and have been running, and getting slower over time, for about 20 years and have typically run about 6 miles per running day, at a pace of around 12 min/mile. during these runs, my heart rate averages about 140 beats per minute, which is way above my MAF. To keep my heart rate at my MAF (115 bpm), I would probably be walking most of the way. This seems like a major regression in my athletic abilities and will take a lot of convincing to stick to my MAF during my 6 mile runs. Any suggestions?

Nicole's reply:

Hi Stephen, thanks for the question.

It is perfectly normal for most people to find that they have to walk quite a lot when they first start MAF training, so you are not alone.

When I first started out, I struggled too and found it hard and embarrassing to be running so slowly. Eventually I realised that I had to think differently. Think about the positives and think about the long term.

So stop thinking about how slow you are running but start thinking about how MAF training is improving your whole body inside and out. I know you worry about regressing in your athletic ability but again you might be running slower for now but actually in the long term, you will be improving your body and over time you will find that you can run faster but at the same MAF heart rate.

Remember also that you don't have to run at your MAF heart rate all the time and forever. Start with a 4 - 6 month base period of doing only MAF. Enjoy your slow runs/walks and just go with the flow. Once your base period is over and you feel that you are not improving any more, then start adding in a bit of speed work. No more that 20% of your running should be faster than MAF though as you don't want to undo the good work. When you start your speed work you might well be pleasantly surprised that not only will you quickly gain back your old speed but it will feel much more comfortable.

Being 66, you could also consider adding on 5 - 10 beats so you could push your MAF rate maximum to 120. Have a look here for calculating your MAF heart rate. 180 Formula calculation

I hope that helps and best of luck on your journey.

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Running Questions.