MAF Test Progress
You may remember that I’ve been doing regular MAF test runs throughout the winter. The idea behind these Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF) tests is that you are running at a fairly easy intensity so you aren’t exerting too much stress on your body. Over time as your body adapts, you become more efficient at this heart rate and therefore train your body to run faster at the same heart rate. You are burning predominantly fat at this intensity and therefore gradually become more efficient at using fat as a fuel source whilst exercising. That’s how the theory goes anyway and if it works, you become faster whilst still using fat as the your primary fuel source rather than the limited supplies of glycogen stored in your body.
Starting out with MAF Tests
I’d been doing OK with this MAF test regime before Christmas. I’d just come off of a year with a Plantar Fasciitis injury so hadn’t been running for months. This meant that I was essentially starting from scratch and the MAF approach seemed like a sensible way to gradually increase the volume of my running without too much stress whilst hopefully becoming a more efficient runner too. It started off well with some significant improvements at MAF pace.
Initial Gains with MAF Test
Initial gains are always easy to some by, but my pace at MAF zone had dropped quite consistently between September and November. Here are the results of my MAF tests during this time
- 10th Sept: 8:20 mins/mile
- 7th Oct: 8:06 mins/mile
- 14th Oct: 7:50 mins/mile
- 4th Nov: 7:46 mins/mile
- 11th Nov: 7:43 mins/mile
MAF Test Knock Backs
The improvements were starting to tail off, but that is to be expected. However, I was then ill in December and when I tried to start back up again just couldn’t seem to shake the lurgy and my times tumbled. I posted here in mid December about my slow recovery and things didn’t get much better after that. The slow pace continued as did the lurgy throughout all of December, over Christmas and into the New Year.
Heading in the Right Direction
I’m still not back to where I was in November, but my run on Wednesday may finally be showing some signs that things are once again going in the right direction. My pace at MAF zone was finally below 8 mins/mile and that was for a slightly longer run than previous tests too. It’s still not good, illness and Christmas took it’s toll. Progress was halted and then reversed putting me back to square one. Time was lost and speed and fitness went with it, but I’m hoping that things are looking up.
The graph of my MAF Tests is at least pointing in the right direction again.
It would have been nice to have kept the improvements going over Christmas, but it just wasn’t to be. If I can at least get back to my pre-lurgy MAF zone pace then that will be god, then I’ll be ready to start doing some more intense work once Spring rolls around.