When low heart rate training gets tough

IMG 2577 768x1024 When low heart rate training gets toughSo…I alluded to this on Monday, but here’s the deal: MAF training is getting a little tough for me right now. And I remember this happening last time through, too, although I seem to be struggling with it even more this time.

You’d think MAF would be hardest at the very beginning, when you are at your slowest. It is tough, then, trust me. But when I start to struggle mentally with it is when I’m almost within striking distance of my friends. Because I want to run with them.

Let me say first and foremost–I am happy to be running, period. And if I had to run every step solo for the rest of my life, I would. But I do have a great set of running friends and I miss running with them, especially since my long runs are getting longer (I did 13 today!) and sharing good conversation during those miles is a fantastic way to go.

I have cheated a couple of times, which is how I know I’m not terribly far off running with my friends. Cheating on MAF, while not recommended, is doable on occasion. My experience is that it doesn’t sink your ship, but it will slow your progress down.

Another factor playing into my MAF doldrums is that I don’t feel like I’ve progressed as quickly as I did last time. I attribute this to the fact that last time, I was already running a good 40 miles/week when I got started. This time, I was starting at square one and have built my mileage slowly. I’m pretty sure the the higher your mileage with MAF, the faster you’ll get results.

Finally, throw in the lingering bit of humidity, which can lead to frustratingly slow runs at MAF, and you get all my reasons for wanting to ditch it. HOWEVER: I’m not throwing in the towel just yet. While I haven’t been testing my paces this time through, I can sense that I am making slow progress with MAF. I really did love the strong engine MAF built last time around and I want to have that base from which to launch speed work again.

So I’m putting my head down and trying to keep at it for as long as my patience will hold out. Eventually, I could catch up to my friends, even at a super low heart rate, and how cool is that? Send me some MAF zen, please!

If you’ve MAF trained, how long did you stick it out? Do you think I should? 

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Comments

  1. In my years of running, I’ve never used MAF training…and really, know very very little about it all. But maybe if I tried it, I’d experience some progress the next time I marathon trained. If I had someone to do the thinking work for me and show me just what to do, I’d probably give it a go. Otherwise, I think I’m really enjoying this stage of running for fun. You do have me curious to learn more about it and read some of your past posts on it. good for you for trying to stick to it so far! I say do what makes you feel happy with your running!
    Amanda@Runninghood recently posted..Random Thursday: Running, MESSES, Scattered Thoughts, and ElectromagnetsMy Profile

    • MissZippy says:

      That’s definitely my struggle, Amanda. Doing what I think is right (MAF) vs. doing what I enjoy. Because running should be all about the joy it brings.

  2. Patience is what has held me back from even starting MAF Training. I’ve got zero! Sending MAF zen asap!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..High Five FridayMy Profile

  3. I can honestly say that I have never tried MAF training. I can, however, understand your frustration. All I can say is that if it worked for you the last time, keep at it. Focus on where you are going with it rather than where you are at now. You will be where you want to be soon enough.
    Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness recently posted..Reebok Fall Fitness Giveaway!My Profile

  4. I’ve honestly never tried MAF training but I’ve read a fair amount about it. It is def something that I am interested in doing. Perhaps when I get back into running and working out. Thanks for sharing more though.
    Hollie recently posted..Simply HumanMy Profile

  5. I am having a HORRIBLE time right now. My times are getting slower…I can’t decide if it’s the weather, just a transition in my training or well something else. I’m getting blood work back next week so if that rules out “something else” GAH then I’m still going to stay strong another month and see what happens. I don’t remember getting slower at all last time, just progressively faster.
    Amanda @runtothefinish recently posted..9 Comical and Peculiar Running Mistakes, Plus How to Avoid ThemMy Profile

  6. Stick it out Amanda, I am sure you all be glad you did! Especially as you have had so many setbacks, now is not the time you wanna take 4 steps back again. I know it is frustrating when they are so close, but you will get there quicker than you think, just as you got to this point quicker than you thought you would. Time passes, and you need to keep in mind what I have been telling myself recently “take what your body gives you on the day”, that is all you can ask. You can do it :) Patience will reward you my friend!
    Tina Muir recently posted..Snack Out Loud! Review + Jalepeño Cheddar Crunchy Bean BurgersMy Profile

  7. I get it…humidity…not throwing in the towel! Funny! I bet nobody else picked up on that.
    Jamoosh recently posted..WrapMy Profile

  8. As a rule I normally run my easy runs in the “MAF” range, but my HR belt isn’t been picked up at the moment, so…
    Coach Dion recently posted..THE RUNNERS HOLIDAY!My Profile

  9. Definitely stick it out – why get some immediate gratification at the expense of long term running health?
    Kovas – Midwest Multisport Life recently posted..TTT: Giant Soap Bubble Recipe, Stuffed Squash, TNF Endurance Challenge Race Discount CodeMy Profile

  10. The last two weeks have had this humidity set in and it’s affected me as well … I’m guessing that is playing a role for you right now. I’m in some running doldrums myself, I’m getting my miles run, but I’m not happy. Meh … I’m starting to wonder if I’m actually getting ready to transition to strictly running for pleasure/fitness and not so much with race goals in mind. That’s a different topic, though ;)
    Christina recently posted..A long run in the rainMy Profile

  11. You are a far better woman than I in how long you’ve stuck with it .I say stay the course (if you can, haha!) The humidity lately has been soul sucking. If there’s one thing to look forward to fall for, it’s better running weather.
    Marcia recently posted..Foodie Friday and MoreMy Profile

  12. Hang in there! It sounds like even though you might not be able to keep pace with everyone as often as you like right now, that the second the air gets a bit cooler and drier you’ll be right there with them. Don’t forget what a huge difference even 5 degrees, or a few percentage points of humidity, can make! Take pride in your patience and remember that the most notable improvements are always the initial ones. After that, any changes are more subtle, but they are still there.
    Jen @ ConcreteNCoffee recently posted..Jumping- And Running – For Joy: It’s Back To School Time!My Profile

  13. I just started MAF training on August 20th. I did it last summer for a few weeks and lost all patience with it when I didn’t see significant progress. (I probably only did it for about 10 weeks total). I’m doing it again now by default–iliopsoas tendonitis has pretty much forced me to run slow, so I figured what the heck. I’ll start over and do MAF training until the end of the year.

    I’ve been scouring the internet looking for testimonials, and I’m seeing that most people who have had significant results with MAF are logging 6+ hours a week of MAF running. I am not there yet and won’t be for a few more weeks as I am pretty much starting over. That theory definitely jives though with how you aren’t seeing the results that you did last summer.

    Thanks for the continued posting on MAF! You’re a great resource.

    • MissZippy says:

      Coming back from an injury is the perfect time to do it, although yes, the going is slow until you are running more normal mileage. May we both have patience!

  14. Oh man. I can only imagine how hard it must be. I’m not very patient at all. Well, I am at first but then I lose patience very quickly. I have been so impressed with how you have come back from your injury and the care that you take in building your foundation. Hang in there!!!
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..High Five Friday: Still in MaineMy Profile

  15. You are a rock star! I stuck with MAF for 3 months and got tired of WALKING to just be in my heart rate zone. ;)
    Rachel recently posted..Camping and Hiking Big Basin Redwoods State ParkMy Profile

  16. You’ve shown such patience thus far Amanda and I applaud you for it! Sending you lots of MAF zen – hang in there!!
    Michelle @ Running with Attitude recently posted..Friday Five: Fall PreviewMy Profile

  17. friends, schmends! PUT IN WORK!

    Did that help?
    Pavement Runner recently posted..Sale on RUN ALL DAY tanks and shirtsMy Profile

  18. I’ve never tried MAF, but I have become such a podcast addict that I honestly don’t mind running without friends sometimes. The podcasts keep me company and I learn a lot – and sometimes I even find that I’d prefer to run with podcasts and just meet my friends for brunch after our run! I know that’s not a permanent solution, since you really want to run WITH your friends, but it might be one way to compromise.
    Laura recently posted..When One Workout Prevents AnotherMy Profile

  19. I have never been able to stick with a heart rate training method. I have tried and really wanted too but it never seems to work out. Like others have said, someone do the thinking part for me and maybe, but I want to enjoy running.
    J Ford recently posted..4 Years Ago???My Profile

  20. I don’t know if I would ever be successful at trying MAF – lately I’ve been working on just running a steady, easy (talking fluently) pace – then I get tired of that and start increasing and increasing – oops!!!
    Kim recently posted..BlogLovin’ Please be NiceMy Profile

  21. Nearly there. It’s a little like pregnancy isn’t it? Those last five weeks are a killer but so necessary.
    Char recently posted..Baby StepsMy Profile

  22. Don’t be a pussy. Finish what you’ve started. It’s not hurting you. When it’s all done, you can reward yourself with a nice melted QuestBar cupcake!
    MILF Runner recently posted..A hat trick post…My Profile

  23. You are showing remarkable restraint! Good for you. It will all be worth it.
    Elle recently posted..And She is Off…My Profile

  24. I just don’t have the patience for MAF training. I give you a lot of credit for sticking with it!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted..Training for 26.2: It’s all in your head…My Profile

  25. I recently started HR training and am doing my runs at 140 BPM. Holy cow it feels so slow! But I’m just getting started. And I don’t quite know how it will all go. Hope to run a faster marathon in 2015! (And not get injured training.)
    Kerrie @ Mom vs. Marathon recently posted..I Thought I was Injured and the Way I Felt was Completely UnexpectedMy Profile

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  28. Keep at it, if your goal is improvement.

    Personally like another person commented, I love the solitude of running and am never short of podcasts to be catching up on, so I nearly always set my own pace.

    I find a group dynamic is not good for heart rate/aerobic work, as there is always someone who wants to push the pace just a tad, and then others want to follow and not get left behind, and before you know it most of the group are comfortably anaerobic to some degree.

    I’ve been 95% MAF for almost a year now since I started running seriously in fact, I had been zone2 training several months before I even learned what “MAF” was … but in that that year I have gone from roughly a 12:30 MAF pace to a 10:00 MAF pace and I see no reason why I should not continue improving. It takes time and dedication, and that is the hard bit about training.
    Van recently posted..FrittatarataaaaMy Profile

  29. I just started HR training to try and PR at the Marine Corps Marathon. Staying in the zone’s is so hard for me because I’m so used to going all out every run. I was in high zone 3 yesterday and was still running SO slow. It’s very frustrating…hope it works though! Thanks for the post!

  30. Well, we’ve had many, many conversations about MAF in the past few years, eh? :) It’s good to see how diligent you are – shows your strength and determination.

    But having been a solo runner my entire life, basically, and stumbling upon a group to trail run with this summer, I pretty much threw the HR thing away because it was FUN to run with these guys and I basically have nothing I’m gearing up for race-wise so figured it didn’t really matter much at all. I think as I get older and PRs are a thing of the past, I may as well just enjoy it instead of being frustrated to death.

    • Totally get that and it’s a big part of why I get frustrated with it. But then I do a MAF run and feel so good that I feel like ti’s just where I should be, you know? Wish there was a way to do both and make the MAF gains!

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