MAF Test

26 08 2011

It was hard for me to adjust to the Maffetone Training by following 180 Formula during the 1st week of my training. I had mentioned in my previous posts that I “cheated” on strictly following the 180 Formula where my Maximum Aerobic Function’s (MAF) Heart Rate shoud be 121 beats per minute. I started with 142-145 beats per minute for the first 2-3 days until I was able to adjust to 138 beats per minute. After a few days, I was comfortably running, slow jogging and walking at 132 beats per minute.

After another 2-3 days, I was able to bring down my maximum aerobic heart rate to 121 beats per minute. After 3 weeks of running and walking within my MAF of 121 beats per minute based from my 180 Formula, I did my first MAF Test. As suggested by Dr. Phil Maffetone, a runner must first warm-up by gradually increasing the heart rate from a resting rate to a range of maximum aerobic rate, from the lowest range of 111 beats per minute to my maximum rate of 121 beats per minute. Warm-up is being done by slow walking up to brisk walking for almost 15-16 minutes which is equivalent to 4 laps at the oval track. It is notable in my running workouts that I don’t perform any stretching exercises before and after my runs. However, a 10-minute squat after my running workout had been a “must” and later became a habit.

Once my max aerobic rate range of 111-121 bpm is reached, I start jogging/running and complete 4 laps on the oval track  which is equivalent to one mile. The time is recorded and written on a paper. After a short recovery by walking of at least 30 seconds, I do my second set of one mile run until I complete five repetitions of one mile run. The time of each mile repetition is being recorded. After the 5th mile, I have to cool-down by walking another 4 laps until my heart beat rate would gradually go down to the rate that was registered before I started my workout. After 3-4 weeks, another MAF Test has to be done.

So far, I just completed my 3rd MAF Test last week. The results are shown in a tabulation below:

16:50 16:27 16:10
17:32 17:18 16:56
18:10 17:41 17:27
18:55 18:39 17:35
19:28 19:08 17:52

The tabulation would show that I am gaining my “aerobic speed” which means that I am getting faster with a constant HR of 121 beats per minute. When I started to strictly follow the 180 Formula, the distance (as registered by GF 305) I could cover for a hour was 5.6 kilometers. After one week of max HR of 121 bpm, I could cover 5.66 kilometers per hour. After 3 months of 180 Formula/MAF training, my distance covered for one hour is 5.88 kilometers per hour!

Sometimes I vary my method of determining my improvement. I would run/jog for a distance of 8 kilometers (5 miles) continouosly at the oval track by maintaining an average HR of 119-121 beats per minute and try to record the time elapsed to cover the distance. On my first try, I registered a time of 1:31:20 hours. After a few days, I registered a time of 1:30:04 hours. At present, I was able to register my fastest time in 1:25:48 hours for the said distance.

My typical weekly workout would consist of “doubles” during the day—1.5 hours in the morning and another 1.5 hours in the late afternoon. Such workout would include 15 minutes of warm-up, 15 minutes of cool-down, and running for one hour at an average HR of 121 bpm. On the next day, I do 2.5 hours with 2 hours of actual running and the rest for my warm-up and cool down. I do this kind of workout in the morning only which is also considered as my “heat training” under the sun as I start my workout at 8:00 or 9:00 AM. On the next day, I go back to my daily “doubles”. And the cycle continues throughout the week. My long runs during weekends would last up to 3 hours of running & walking, making sure that my average HR would not be more than 121 bpm. The last MILO Elimination Run was my longest LSD for almost 6 hours, covering a distance of 32 kilometers.

It is very evident that I measure my running workouts by the TIME that my feet are on the ground! The distance covered during these timed workouts is just a data that provides a good feedback and evaluation of my improvement in this kind of training. At least, the minimum of hours per week in my training is 12 hours.

It is worthy to note that within this 3-month of strictly following the max aerobic HR of 121 bpm, I was able to try and complete my “Two-Week Test” to determine my carbohydrate intolerance, a situation when the body has more carbohydrates stored in the body system. This “Test” greatly improved my resting HR, lowering and sustaining my MAF’s max aerobic HR to 121 bpm during my workouts, reduced my weight to 135 pounds, and no longer have sleepy feeling after lunch or after a heavy meal. The best result is that I can control my urge to eat foods rich in carbohydrates.

I hope there would be good results in my endurance capabilities as soon I start my anaerobic/speed training in the weeks to come.


180 Formula

11 08 2011

Click on the link below on the article by Dr Phil Maffetone on his Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF) which is a detailed explanation on his training philosophy following one’s Heart Rate and the use of a Heart Rate Monitor.


Lately, one of my “friends” from Facebook who had been a triathlete for 17 years had called my attention when he read one of my posts that I am presently training using the Heart Rate Monitor. After his retirement from triathlon, he is pursuing his first ultra marathon run this coming December as he thinks that ultra running is “deeper” and more challenging than his past triathlon feats. I am sure this guy is a “purist” IRONMAN and one of the bests in the 90s or in his younger years. He even predicted that if I continued my plans to get into triathlon in the mid-80s, I could be a sure podium winner in my age category. (Note: I could be fighting it out with my brother Retired General Samuel and Retired Colonel Brigilio Balaba of the Philippine Constabulary for the top honors for our age group).

In one of his e-mails, he shared to me the following updated version of the MAF’s 180 Formula.

Here is the formula:

1. Take 180

2. Subtract your age

3. Take this number and correct it by the following:

-If you do not workout, subtract another 5 beats.

-If you workout only 1-2 days a week, only subtract 2 or 3 beats.

-If you workout 3-4 times a week keep the number where it is.

-If you workout 5-6 times a week keep the number where it is.

-If you workout 7 or more times a week and have done so for over a year, add 5 beats to the number.

-If you are over about 55 years old or younger than about 25 years old, add another 5 beats to whatever number you now have.

-If you are about 60 years old or older OR if you are about 20 years old or younger, add an additional 5 beats to the corrected number you now  have.

You now have your maximum aerobic heart rate, which again is the maximum heart rate that you can workout at and still burn  mostly fat for fuel. Now go out and do ALL of your cardiovascular  training at or below this heart rate and see how your pace improves.  After just a few weeks you should start to see a dramatic improvement in the speed you can go at these lower heart rates.

The details of his e-mail is properly explained in the link below:

Based from the updated version, my Maximum Aerobic Function’s Heart Rate is supposed to be 126 beats per minute (180-59 = 121 + 5 for being above 55 years old). However, since I’ve started with my first MAF Test with a Maximum Aerobic Heart Rate of 121 beats per minute, I will maintain 121 bpm as my training’s MAF heart rate.

Good luck to my ultra running “friends” and BDM “veterans” who will be competing on this weekend’s CAMSUR Cobra Ironman 70.3 Triathlon Competition. Take it “easy” on the swimming event. Make sure to get a “spot” for the KONA IRONMAN this coming October in Hawaii, USA!!! Have fun and be the best to yourself!

For those who have started to train for the 1st Taklang Damulag 100-Mile Endurance Run and for the yearly BDM Races, I highly recommend you to try the Maffetone’s Training on the use of Heart Rate Monitor/MAF Test.

Maffetone’s Training

5 08 2011

If you ask any of the local triathletes if they know such “Maffetone’s Training” and if they tell you, NO, it’s either they are ignorant or they don’t want to share their training “secret” to you. If an average or competitive triathlete does not know about this kind of training, I guess, he/she is not training properly to develop what the training calls, “aerobic speed”! In the truer sense of the word, the “holistic approach in endurance training and racing”

I bought the Kindle version of the Dr. Phil Maffetone’s “The Big Book On Endurance Training and Racing” two months ago and started to follow his Training by adhering to the 180 Formula as my Maximum Aerobic Function by monitoring my Heart Rate. With a purchase of the simplest and most basic HR Monitor watch, I started to follow such training for the past weeks. 180 Formula would simply mean subtracting your age to 180 as your maximum aerobic heart rate during your aerobic phase workouts.

On my first week of the training, I could hardly bring down my HR to 121 beats per minute while on a slow jog. I started with 142 beats per minute on the first days of my 1st week and then gradually bringing it down to 138 bpm. Later, I could easily jog at an HR rate of 135 bpm. During the Takbo Runfest 16K and MILO Marathon Eliminations, I was able to bring my average HR to 130-132 beats per minute. This is the very reason why I am always on the tail end in the past road races. Actually, I was trying to “cheat” on the 180 Formula as my desired training HR could had been 121 beats per minute which translated to a brisk walking activity.

But on my 1st MAF Test on an oval track lately, I was able to constantly follow the desired Maximum Heart Rate of 121 beats per minute throughout the workout. And the results follow what the Maffetone Training intends to advocate. We will see what will be the result on my 2nd MAF Test after 3-4 weeks.

It is also surprising to most of the runners (in these past road races) that they observed me to be using some “wires”. Yes, I renewed my love to music during my workouts and road races by sporting an Ipod Shuffle which is light and easy to clip! Maffetone’s training includes music and some form of cadence and beats through selected kinds of music as part of one’s playlist.

What are the initial observations and benefits I got from this kind of training? First of all, I can have a workout that lasts for hours and hours without any pain or sorenes. After running for almost 5 hours at the MILO, I could walk straight and without any limp after the race, moreso, on the following day there were no pains on my legs. On the nutrition side, by following a “no carbo”diet one week before the MILO run, I did not feel hungry during the duration of the run and maintained my constant hydration through water and my Gatorade G2 mix. I did not mind getting and eating those ripe bananas in the Aid Stations. The best result? I did not have any kind of muscle cramps on any part of my legs and body! I was amazed and surprised about such result. No “bonking” and no “wall” to speak of even if my past training long runs would last for only 2 1/2 hours with an average HR of 130-132 beats per minute!

Last week, I discovered that Dr Phil Maffetone has a website which is very informative and updated as compared to the book I purchased. I am going to share his website to my readers with the hope that they will be able to follow the training and its philosophy with patience and positive attitude.

The following is the website: For those who are joining the 1st BR Barefoot Run, it would be an interesting one for them to read his article “GAIT–Why Every Runner Is Different, and How You can Go Faster……, and other related running articles.

To my ultra running friends, I suggest you take a look at this training and try it. Patience and Positive attitude play a great role if you want to adhere to this kind of training philosophy.

Enjoy and have fun reading the articles and essays of Dr Phil Maffetone. Happy weekend!

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