MAF test 6 – steady as she goes

max aerobic function test chart
orange lines are the previous 5 tests, green line is current, red line is end of year goal (8min/mile)

It’s been 7 months since the start of my Max Aerobic Function training, and I’m still plodding along. Progress has been slow but steady. Test 6 looks very promising on the surface. My first MAF test average was 9:18 per mile and this one clocked me in at 8:17 per mile. So a whole minute improvement since mid January. Not bad. I almost dipped down to 8 min mile territory which is my soft goal for the end of the year.

maf pace improvement chart
The gray line shows expected rate of improvement, green line is actual improvement

My HR shows an unusual drop after 3 mile. This is not uncommon for my Garmin HR, there being a noticeable drop of 20+ BPM with the same amount of perceived effort. So for this test I tried my best to ignore the HR readings and run by feel, but the pace still seems faster than it should be. I know that with MAF tests, the pace should be slowing down slightly over time due to cardiac drift.

So, how accurate are my MAF scores given all these fluctuations. The more readings and tests I do, the more accurate I hope, the overall trend is more important.

I’m still slightly disappointed with my 10K race from last month, I was hoping all this MAF training would translate to a better time than a one minute improvement. I think it has to do with my leg speed not being up to snuff. This MAF training should be leading to more improvements in my longer races and ultras. On the short stuff, it’s more about leg speed than efficient fat burning and endurance. Still, even in the shorter races I’m still improving without any speed work whatsoever. Pretty cool.

I’m happy with the test itself even with the flaws. The heat is still in full effect and the humidity is consistently in the 90s. When cooler temperatures hit in the fall I expect to speed up a little more.

Accuracy Smaccuracy

Garmin 210 dead
Moisture on the inside of my dead Garmin 210

My Garmin 210 failed me over a month ago and I replaced it recently. After looking at dozens of models I settled on the same 210 because I know the watch well, and I just don’t need all the high end features that more expensive watches offer. My first couple of runs with the HR monitor showed my heart rate as too high, but the unit has since settled down at a pace that is close to the original. The fluctuations are still there and they are annoying, so I’m seriously considering an alternative down the road.

I have some years with these Garmin watches and plenty of data uploaded to Garmin Connect, but this is annoying enough that I’ll probably ditch them and go with a competitor like Polar. I’ll be looking for a decent replacement come Christmas time so I can start the New Year fresh. That’s unless they come out with a much improved heart rate strap. Plenty of people have complained about the poor quality of these devices.

Anyway, until next time