When have I done enough MAF only?
I've bitten the bullet on MAF training, after years of running at a high heart rate! I've been training MAF exclusively for about 7 weeks and I've noticed that my mile times are coming down (15.45 to start, now usually in the 14.30 type zone). My heart rate also spikes less - i.e. when I started it would ping up to 160 or so a couple of times a run. Now it tends to max in the 140s.
My question is, how much is enough MAF? Is there a pace per mile I should be aiming at? Or will I see a plateau eventually? I'm doing this in service of an ultra in September 2021 so at some point I need to add in some serious hills and endurance training too!
Thank you (love the blog BTW, a really clear and engaging resource!)
Hi Claire, thanks for the great question and thanks for the kind words about my website :).
You should aim to always do a MAF base building period each year. For most people this will be in the range of 4 - 6 months. What you will notice is that during the base building phase, your pace will start to increase at your MAF heart rate. Then eventually you will probably notice that your pace stops improving and you plateau. Assuming that you are healthy and are eating and sleeping well, then that is the point to add some speed work. As you are only 7 weeks in and your pace is still improving, then I would stick at MAF.
I recently did an 80km ultra and I tried to do all my training at or below MAF. On the steeper climbs my heart rate did go over but I was not too far off. I am now back starting to train for a marathon and so will be adding in some speedwork in a couple of months.
I hope that helps and best of luck with the ultra.