Guest Columnist and Marathoner Ajit Thandur speaks about the Maffetone Method that is aimed at reaching full human potential for runners.
In my previous article titled “Endurance and the Indian Runner”, I had spoken about how amateur endurance running has so rapidly evolved in India over the last 15 years. The quest for fitness, weight loss, and good health has turned into a quest for speed and better timing, be it in running, bicycling or swimming.
Being an amateur runner and swimmer myself, I have often tried several techniques to improve myself. One method stands apart, I have found the Maffetone Method to be the most effective for me for the following reasons:
- You train your body to predominantly use aerobic muscles for energy during the endurance activity. Doing this helps to effectively use your body fat feed energy for the activity. In other words become ‘fat adapted’.
- With prolonged 180 Formula-based workouts, people who set out to do some form of endurance exercise for weight loss will benefit immensely.
- With this method, you can stay away from injuries due to excessive straining.
- Most importantly, as amateurs, we can keep ourselves fresh and agile through the day to work for our living and not feel lethargic or exhausted.
So, what is the Maffetone Method? How does one go about settling into the 180 Formula? How does one track development and be sure the training is right?
The MAF Method is a philosophy developed by Dr. Phil Maffetine over the course of 40 years of scientific research and clinical practice to help individuals of all ages, athletic abilities, physical issues, and personal goals reach their human performance potential.
Maximum Aerobic Function Test or the MAF Test is a key tool to keep track. The concept is simple, straightforward and easy to understand and follow.
How does it work? After determining your Threshold Aerobic Heart Rate, choose a convenient stretch along your favourite running route. Do a warm-up run of about 1KM, then using your HR monitor run 3KM keeping your HR at the Threshold Aerobic Heart Rate and record your pace for the distance.
Note this down. Typically it should look like this.
MAF Test dated: at Threshold HR of:
Repeat this test in the same format on the same route once every month. Ideally, you should do this for 6 months, though you might start seeing results as early as 3 months. The results I refer to is you achieving a faster pace at your Threshold Aerobic HR.
A few things to bear in mind:
- The best way to achieve optimum results through the Maffetone Method / 180 Formula training is to do it alone because each of us have different thresholds.
- If you’re doing it in as a group, you will tend to stay with the group and not required Heart Rate you need to be at.
- Do not get upset when you start with this training, as you will not be able to maintain the same pace you have been running so far because you will invariably run at a lower heart rate than you have been running until now.
- Happiness will dawn on you when your pace starts to get better and better at your constant Threshold Aerobic Heart Rate.
- Most important of all, be patient!
There are certain factors other than just your pace that can affect your heart rate on certain days. It could be stress, lack of sleep, change in location/weather, lack of hydration, the unsuitable or irregular food you had the previous day. Always remember – 8 hours of sleep, rest and recovery after long runs/rides are of great importance.
What I have covered is a brief insight into the essence and benefits of the Maffetone Method and MAF Test. To know more and understand it even better, please go to this link:
In conclusion, the Maffetone method is not a definitive step-by-step process to follow for faster results, instead, it is an approach that if followed well will help us make a healthier version of ourselves.