MAF thoughts

I’ve spent over a month working out at my Max Aerobic Function heart rate of 137 bpm. Things are progressing pretty good. Some thoughts so far, and how this training compares to what I’ve done in the past:- Running at a low heart rate and in the aerobic zone means I’m not killing myself during workouts. I’ve increased my weekly mileage easily without injury. Previous years I would stress my body with full on tempo runs and not be able to increase mileage due to being utterly exhausted for a few days. It was not uncommon for me to do 2-3 runs a week at full effort, about 12 miles, and the other days I would use to just recover.

– My delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) has all but gone away. I have some soreness, especially after the longer runs, but my body recovers almost overnight now. Soon I’ll be able to run every day without stressing my system. I could probably do this now, just being careful.

– I’m not craving carbohydrates like I used to. With low aerobic training you teach your body to burn more fat in relation to carbohydrates. I was running almost exclusively anaerobic, burning all of my glycogen stores. No wonder I was eating a whole bowl of pasta every night. Now I can run for hours without eating, craving food or bonking.

– I’m enjoying running more, these slow workouts are very relaxing. I’ve always run to relieve stress, but turns out running slow is much better for stress relief. I’m more aware of my surroundings, and sweating much less than I used to.

I’ll include a possible negative as well. Running at a slower pace means having a different form than race pace. All my training is now slightly over 9:00 minute mile pace, while my race pace is under 8:00 minute miles. (The shorter the distance the faster the pace of course) this means I’m doing no training of my body at race pace. This seems to not be an issue yet, I’ll see how things progress over time. It’s possible that my MAF will eventually coincide with my race pace, at least on the longer runs.