What is my MAF heart rate?

by Conrad


I can't seem to figure out my MAF heart rate zone. I'm 66, have been running consistently for about 35 years and am generally healthy. I'd like to try MAF for both conditioning and racing as Senior Recreational athlete. I do take Synthroid medication for a hypothyroid condition.

Do I subtract 10 for medication and then add 10 because I'm over 65? Do I add on 5 moore for being generally healthy, injury free? It seems confusing to me.

What do you think?


Nicole's reply:
Hi Conrad, thanks for the question.
In a nutshell, these are Phil Maffetone's guidelines:

180 - age = MAF heart rate. Then do any of the following:

Subtract 10 if you are:
Recovering from major illness (heart disease, medication, hospital stay etc)
In rehabilitation
On any regular medication
In stage 3 chronic overtraining

Subtract 5 if:
Your MAF test results are regressing.
You are injured ore recovering from injury.
You suffer from two or more colds/flu, infections per year.
You suffer from asthma, early stage overtraining or you are overfat.
Your training has been inconsistent or you are just starting or restarting training.

Add 5 if:
If you have been training regularly and at least 4 times a week for several months and without any of the above problems AND you have been making progress in your MAF tests.

Add up to 10 if:
You are over the age of 65. NB This is not always necessary and you may need to self assess yourself to see if this is appropriate.

So by my calculations your would be 180 - 66 (age) - 10 (medication) = 109 (+ possibly 10).

Whether you add the 10 beats for being over 65 is going to be a bit of trial and error. It is always best to start conservatively i.e. 109, and then if you feel good and your MAF tests improve, then add another 5 - 10 beats and see how you go for a couple of months. If those extra beats cause you to feel fatigued or have niggles or they slow down your improvement, then drop back down. I hope that helps.
More detail on the 180 Formula

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May 04, 2021
What is my MAF heart rate
by: Conrad

Thanks for your response, Nicole

The MAF 109 bpm recommendation is actually reasonable since my 173 maximum heart rate gives me a Fat Burning Zone range of about 104 to 121. I'll be experimenting with that initial 109 range to see if I can safely add more.

I established my 173 max heart rate the hard way: by running hard up a hill til I peaked at about 173. So it's accurate.

MAF is spot on!

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