More than 2 years ago I was training for the Boston Marathon and made this video together with my coach Matt Warnock of Rebel Coaching about running using the MAF method. When you run you are keeping an eye on keeping your heart rate the same throughout the run. The heart rate in beats per minute should be calculated by taking 180  minus your age. Phil Maffetone, who came up with it also added in some extra rules whereby you would run even slower if you have had such things lately such as if you have been sick or injured recently. You can find them on his website. You can watch the video if you want to know more about it. One of the main advantages of using this method is that you can get faster by running slower.

We still use this method during training, especially during the winter that we’ll be starting on very soon and I love it. I don’t feel that I have become faster in general using it. However, as I am getting older, I don’t feel I have lost speed.

Here are my reasons for liking a MAF run:

  1. I get to do long, slow runs – When you start running MAF you can find yourself walking to keep your heart rate but, once you have done it for a while, you get a bit faster at it. You are still slow though, and that is my favourite kind of run. I love particularly getting up early on a Sunday morning when less people are around, and running in nature.
  2. Injury prevention – I do a lot of things to reduce my chance of injury and this is one way to accomplish it. By not punishing myself  doing lots of heavy, high intensity sessions, I have gone through multiple seasons now injury free.
  3. Less stress on the body – Because I train for triathlon, it involves a lot of training. When you build up too many back to back sessions without rest and recovery, it can lead to overtraining. Symptoms of this can be a combination of some of these problems: injury, problems with sleep, illness, struggling to find motivation and diminished performance. I used to get colds a lot but that has become a lot less since introducing the MAF training to my schedule. And when you are perhaps feeling a little off, running to your MAF heart rate slows you down further and protects you from running too fast.

Have you tried this method? How did it go and what do you think about it?


Author: Lorna Wilson

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