Saturday, May 24, 2008

Saturday MAF test..

I took yesterday off and worked for what felt like 20 hours. I have 16 athletes right now and Jo is working all weekend so I won't be able to do too much today. I'm really terrible with time management- something I have learned through years of thinking only of myself. I also ate more than 1500 calories for the first day in 3 weeks... but my eating disorder is another subject.
Over the years I have found that the greater my "base" fitness, the quicker I bounce back from time off. This is nothing new in the world of endurance sports which is partly why the good athletes spend so much time doing smart base work. So, I started out this morning feeling fueled for once and a little rested- this is how the run went:
Mile 1- 7:45/ HR 112.
Mile 2- 7:00/ HR 117.
Mile 3- 6:17/ HR 132.
Mile 4- 5:51/ HR 142.
Mile 5- 5:55/ HR 146.
Mile 6- 5:56/ HR 149.

And I wore basketball shorts past my knees, a cotton T-shirt, and shoes that were brand new!


Dave said...

What's the strategy behind the MAF "test"? I know you went into great detail about it, but I'm still trying to get an exact handle on it. Is it a benchmark to see exactly where your fitness is? With that, should it be done at specific times during the base phase to determine fitness? Sorry if this is a silly question, it's just my training OCD kicking in.

Matt said...

I love the posts w/numbers! Looks like you included the warm-up there? I wish I'd started this 10 years ago. . .There seems to be a lot of MAF discourse from some very smart coaches. I call it a movement. You see what you want to see. Keep running and writing, Lucho!

ps I talked my wife into running MAF. She's doing it strictly for health/fat burning. She's seeing progress. Your comment to "Shan" about weight gain really gave my wife some relief. Great stuff!

Lucho said...

T tests are fairly critical part of it all. In order to determine improvement you need to be able to quantify it. In the very beginning athletes usually see a sharp curve upward in their tests (a sign that they are training correctly) then it will begin to plateau as they approach their MAF limits. This plateau is their body telling them that it is time to move on to a phase of intensity or another stimulus like increased volume. Our bodies stop gaining fitness with the use of only one stimulus for too long. Testing is really the best way to determine if you are not responding to the training stimulus. I have athletes test every 4 weeks after a small (5 day) block of active recovery. But because they are running nearly all of their miles at MAF HR we can watch the progress. Paying attention to the progress is also a great way to tell if an athlete is on the edge of over reaching. Kerrie Wlad is a great example.. a few days ago she was unable to elevate her HR to MAF during a long run.. her fatigue and PE were quite high.. so we backed off and she is doing a few days of recovery. Kerrie's MAF pace per mile is ~6:50 when she's rested! But I digress..
By planning a formal test at the end of a rest block you tend to "get up" for the test and you usually perform better. One key to the test is to do a proper warm-up. You have got to start slow and easy otherwise you risk limiting your fat burning metabolism. Start very slow and relaxed and simply build gradually as you get loosened up. You should start the test once your HR has settled at the low end of the MAF (10 beat) range.. then hold your MAF 10 beat range squarely in the middle for much of the test. Going even 1 beat over your MAF cap is defeating the purpose of the test. It is also a good idea to not watch the clock- rather do a blind lap split every mile... athletes tend to try and "beat" their last test. Review the results after the test.
As for the length of the test- I find more useful data from longer tests of 8-10 miles. This allows me to see what state my endurance is in. If you do not have very much endurance then your pace will "deflect" (you will slow down)at the same HR. Note: "Cardiac drift" is when your HR climbs at the same pace. Deflection velocity is when your pace slows at the same HR. When I am really fit for a marathon I find that my pace remains very even over the 8-10 miles with little HR fluctuation. Even on today's test I was happy with the results in this regard.
Hope this helps!

Matt- Nice work in the peer pressure ;) I did the same with my sister (Wende) and she has seen huge gains! It really is a good thing- this MAF stuff. From training with Alan Culpepper I have noticed that his normal training pace seems to gravitate towards a MAF-esque effort. I don't think many "elite" runners know what MAF is but they have a natural tendency to gravitate towards a similar intensity whether they try to or not. Part of what makes them "elite" is a sense of proper intensity. My 2 cents.. right or wrong? Not sure.

Dave said...

Thanks so much, Lucho. I really appreciate the detailed answer and I'm sure it will help me I just gotta dust off the old heart rate monitor and get started! Thanks again!

Matt said...

It makes way too much sense: get faster by going slower (and staying healthier and training more consistently, which is massively important!!!! No?). Btw, the picture of you and Ben is great, but I miss the one that looks like a kidnapping!

Ha ha ha. ...