Here we are, 8 weeks into my MAF experiment, which means that I just did another MAF test this past Saturday. I knew that going into the test, my MAF training has been very inconsistent, mostly due to Ragnar messing up my schedule for 2 out of the 4 weeks. I did manage to get a few more data points, so here’s a pretty graph showing my run data from the last 8 weeks:
Ragnar Napa happened in week 6, coinciding with a plateau. I’m not sure if this was due to the racing aspect (i.e., completely going over my MAF heart rate for 17+ miles) or if it just tired out my body. Most likely, it was a combination of factors. Just FYI – the runs on the graph were done on roughly the same courses, with the exception of a couple of runs done on the treadmill. I used speed instead of pace on the Y-axis to show an upward trend, denoting improvement. #nerdalert (Hey, at least I didn’t do any statistics!) If you’re interested in pace instead of speed, here are the numbers:
- 1 hour runs — Week 1: 12:11/mile; Week 8: 11:07/mile –> 1:07 faster per mile
- 2 hour long runs — Week 1: 12:22/mile; Week 8: 11:29/mile –> 0:53 faster per mile
- 1 hour Lake Chabot runs — Week 1: 12:22/mile; Week 8: 11:50/mile –> 0:32 faster per mile
So while I’ve definitely gotten faster at the same HR, the plateauing in the past 3 weeks is bit frustrating. I’ve noticed that I’ve seen the most improvement after 2 hour long runs, and since I haven’t been doing those over the last couple of weeks, maybe that’s what’s holding me back? It also took me over a week to recover from Ragnar.
Anyway, on to the nitty-gritty — results from the 3rd MAF test. Briefly, here’s how to execute a MAF test:
- warm-up for 2 miles, targeting 10 beats per minute (bpm) below aerobic max HR (for me, this is 128 bpm)
- run 1-5 miles at aerobic max HR (4 miles at 138 bpm for me)
- cool-down, during which I target 133 bpm
We’ve been having a bit of a heat wave, so I compromised between getting enough rest and waking up early enough to beat the heat. Here’s the data from all 3 tests:
The good news is that I saw an overall improvement by almost 20 seconds per mile compared to Test #2 — which, while not as impressive as the drop between the first 2 tests, is still a step in the right direction. The other thing I was happy about was running closer to my pre-injury easy pace for the first 2 miles, which makes me optimistic that MAF training will get me to where I was before I was injured — and hopefully even more fit than before.
The one piece of not-so-good news was seeing a huge drop between the 3rd and 4th miles, which really screwed up my average pace! It could’ve been the heat or general fatigue, but something happened by the last mile to cause my HR to spike. Even though the temperature was not that different compared to the first 2 tests, the lack of cloud cover made it feel enormously different.
Going forward, I’m hoping to be more consistent with my MAF training, though it will be difficult to get the hour long runs done before work — I start my new job on Friday! I think the Lake Chabot runs will be nearly impossible, as it takes me about 25-30 minutes just to drive there and back. I know I could get up at 5 or 5:30am to fit them in, but I love sleeping too much! Most likely, I’ll scale down to 30-45 minute neighborhood runs 3x/week with maybe one short, hilly run during my lunch break. We shall see!