When have I done enough MAF only?

by Claire

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!)


Nicole's reply:
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.

Comments for When have I done enough MAF only?

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Dec 18, 2020
Got it!
by: Claire

Thank you

I'll keep going then - in my head I'm committed to at least 3 months so this is really my mid point check in

Mar 03, 2021
How is it going now Claire?
by: Stef

Thank you Nicole for a splendid resource!
How is it going for you now a few months on Claire? I have just started MAF (ten runs done) and at 68 years old my MAF HR means really slow shuffle runs :) Hoping to stick with it though. Two weeks in and my scales are saying 1% less body fat, so that's encouraging ๐Ÿคž
Keep safe and run strong,

Mar 03, 2021
4 months down...
by: Claire


I'm sticking with the program - 4 months down with another 2 to go.

I got quite disillusioned but took the advice to do a MAF test every month or so. This really does show progress as if I look one run at a time it's not enough of a range to see any change over.

I've also reduced my mileage per week to focus on quality over quantity, and added in some pilates and strength work to complement the MAF.

Also - it's getting lighter and warmer which is helping my overall motivation!



Mar 03, 2021
Thank you and keep strong ๐Ÿคž
by: Anonymous

Many thanks for your prompt reply Claire ๐Ÿ‘Well done for sticking with it ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘God luck with it and thank you for the motivation I am drawing from your experience.

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