Training Plan V.2 (MAF)

As I probably mentioned previously, I never stick with the same training plan.  I generally alter it as I’m running based on how I feel and if my goals change.  So naturally, two weeks in and I’m changing it again after reading all about heart rate training.

After a lot of research and reading, it makes sense to me to use this time of base building to train with my heart rate.  A return from injury, a need for a strong aerobic base, and no real racing in the near future… if not now, when?  Granted, I have 4 runs in my future that will not be based on heart rate which isn’t exactly what I’m supposed to do but whatever, I’m already signed up and it’s only 3 days of the next four months or so.

I read about Miss Zippy’s experience, among others and felt positive that now is the right time to do it.  I know for a fact if I stick to regular training now, right into marathon training, when next fall comes around and I have a few months to start HR training… it’s going to be a lot harder to convince myself to settle down, check that ego, and suck it up.

That said, this upcoming week starts week one with MAF.  I’ll be able to do 14 full weeks of MAF training (runs are only in the aerobic stage, which is also known as painfully slow) and then start up a 16 week marathon training program, which will introduce speedwork and runs beyond that aerobic stage.  For those unfamiliar, the goal of MAF training is to train at a specific lower heart rate and only under that heart rate in order to eventually be able to run at a faster pace with that slower heart rate, allowing your body to burn more fat as fuel.  In short, you train your body over time to do more work with the same amount of effort.  Eventually, you will plateau and then at that point you begin adding in speed work, etc.  For me, I’m not waiting on a plateau because of my May marathon goal… but 14 weeks of dedicated MAF training should build me a good base.

For this method (and there are many different methods of heart rate training) we use the 180 formula (created by Dr. Philip Maffetone) to determine maximum aerobic heart rate.

We start by subtracting age from 180: [180 – 25 = 155]
Then, factor in the below:

 a. If you have or are recovering from a major illness (heart disease, any operation or hospital stay, etc.) or are on any regular medication, subtract an additional 10.
b. If you are injured, have regressed in training or competition, get more than two colds or bouts of flu per year, have allergies or asthma, or if you have been inconsistent or are just getting back into training, subtract an additional 5.
c. If you have been training consistently (at least four times weekly) for up to two years without any of the problems just mentioned, keep the number (180–age) the same.
d. If you have been training for more than two years without any of the problems listed above, and have made progress in competition without injury, add 5.

I chose “b”.  I’m coming back from injury, have asthma, and am just getting back into training.  I would have gone by choice “a” due to the inhaler I use daily, but it’s for asthma and since that’s listed in choice b, I’ll stick with that.  Plus that choice fits me to a T!  [155 –  5= 150]

According to the above and the recommendations, my aerobic training zone is 140-150bpm. 

My training (with exception to Friday’s run) the past week has been about 155bpm or less, so I can almost consider it to be a week of MAF training.  So, I already know how much it’s going to continue to suck but hopefully the payout in the end will be worth it.  And if it isn’t for me, well you live and learn.  This certainly won’t be my last training cycle!

Unfortunately in order to get my miles in, I’ll just have to dedicate a little more time to my running.  Fortunately, since I’ll be running strictly in my aerobic zone, I will not be as fatigued and I may be able to fit in short runs Monday after work occasionally.

Here goes the MAF training plan!

I’m going to try my MAF tests on the treadmill because the weather in Buffalo can be quite crazy and I need to have the same conditions every time.  It’ll change a bit due to physical therapy potentially in the morning, but the Tuesdays I chose were probably the best ones I could use.

Wish me luck, I might be a miserable S.O.B. for the next 3 and a half months!


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Just a 20-something homegrown Buffalo sports loving, distance running, gin drinking kind of girl.

9 thoughts on “Training Plan V.2 (MAF)”

    1. I’m super intrigued by it… it’s just really, really time consuming to get the miles in that are necessary. Who has time for a weekend 10-miler at MAF pace??!?

      But who knows, if I like it… I can adapt a training plan for the marathon to include no speedwork. After reading of people’s crazy PR’s without speedwork on a whim with this style, I might be crazy enough to try it lol.


    1. Well, honestly I didn’t stick with it. I was on and off injured/continually recovering and had to take about 4 months totally off running. I just started again but haven’t followed MAF this time around.


      1. Least you are honest thanks on a separate note how easy is it to maintain a blog on wordpress? Thinking of starting one up for accountability and just something to do


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