Undertraining when MAF Training

by Linda

Hi. I have been running short distance 5 -10km for about 3 years and recently increase to 21km. When i read about MAF, i m kind of reverting my running training back to basic again. My MAF HR is 134. Under HRR, 134 will be in zone 1. How do i make sure that i am not undertraining? Tq

Nicole's reply:
Hi Linda, thanks for your question. Your question is not uncommon and lots of people worry about their lack of speed work and how it might affect their training.

I am not sure if you have started MAF training yet but when you start, what you will most likely see is that you will feel that you are running really slowly and as you say in your zone 1. This just means that your body is retraining itself and it is learning to use other systems (e.g. aerobic). Most people think they need to use their anaerobic system to race but in fact the aerobic system plays a greater role as you can see from the table below.

As you progress with your MAF training (including eating well and sleeping well), you will find that you can run faster but at the same MAF heart rate. So in essence you are not "under-training" but more likely "retraining" your body to use your aerobic system more efficiently. MAF is also not just about running faster but also making your body healthier and stronger.

There will likely come a point in your training when your MAF progress stagnates. That is the time when you can add in some speedwork. This will help stimulate your other body systems (e.g. anaerobic). Be careful not to overdo it though and certainly no more than 20% of your weekly running.

Many people find that MAF training does not dent their speed when it comes to racing. Also from my experience I find it very important to train on the same type of terrain (ground, elevation) that you will be racing on, as otherwise that can be a bit of a shock to the system. I hope that helps!

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