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162813 Views 1,198 Replies Latest reply: Jan 8, 2008 3:34 PM by formationflier 1 2 3 ... 80 Previous Next
formationflier Rookie 974 posts since
Oct 13, 2007
Currently Being Moderated

Dec 22, 2007 12:26 PM

Basebuilding, low heart rate training, via Maffetone/Mark Allen/Hadd/Mittleman

Once again, we need to restart this thread given that it's getting
impossible to get a post through due to its length. For the most
part I focus this thread on posting
results and answering questions about basebuilding, endurance
building, low heart rate training, etc., using methods prescribed
by Maffetone, Mark Allen, Stu Mittleman, and the like. This is
far from a substitute for reading their publications, but it may be
a helpful supplement and you can glean something from real
people's real world experiences. For the most part, by cutting
back all of my training paces tremendously, I improved times in
almost all race distance categories, over a period of about a
year. Examples:

1 M: 6:16 -> 5:36
2 M: 13:36 -> 12:46
5k: 21:20 -> 20:08
10k: 48:46 -> 42:48
10M: 77:45 -> 69:12
marathon: 4:03 -> 3:11
50M: 10:34 -> 7:53
100M: 18:53 (no time before low HR training to compare to!)

Also, over the past year, I've run 6 sub-3:20 marathons, whereas
in the previous year, I struggled to break 4 hours.

If you're intrigued by this discussion, I'd suggest you read
the FAQ in my signature, along with some of the key links at
the top that I list. One of the more recent
factors that seems to be important in the progress of this
approach is the need to incorporate enough downhill running at
fast pace (keeping heart rate up to the max MAF value - see
FAQ for what that means) for a reasonable percentage of volume.
In other words, make sure there's a little bit of a mix of faster
paced runs in your training, which you can do while staying
within the heart rate bounds by running on some extended downhills.
Simply put, find a hilly course for at least some of your runs. It
doesn't matter how slow you go up the hills (as long as you keep
the HR in check), but make sure you go fast enough on the downs
to keep your HR from getting too low. There's a 90% chance that
if you have a question, it's addressed in the FAQ.

Now, a few things that I should mention that are touched on in the
FAQ, but I'll reiterate here.

1. This is a not a promotion of slow-running. At least not in the
long term. For many that really need this, it will involve slowing
down, possibly a lot at first, in order to get faster for longer distances.

2. There is nothing here that implies that running everything slow
will make you faster and faster, but rather that if you put in the good
time at a low enough heart rate range, you should be able to
extend the speed you currently have to longer distances.

3. We do tend to get in some discussions about physiology because
sometimes it's important to understand certain aspects. However,
I am not a physiologist and I much prefer to keep this thread about
real people, real occurrences, and not about theory and quotations
of famous (or not so famous) coaches and trainers. If you want
quotations from coaches and trainers, then do some research, check
out some books and read up! For the most part, the "example"
athletes discussed by most coaches and trainers are not everyday
runners like you and me.

4. My experience has been with this that the lower heart rate you
use, the better results, but the more painful it will be at first. Many
people will argue against that and try to provide you an excuse to
use a higher target heart rate. I can only say this - if anyone had
that excuse, it was me, and the higher heart rate target was not
successful for me. My max heart rate is at least 210 and my typical
training heart rate is about 139.

5. Nowhere will I tell you that you should always run everything
slow, but many people read a few lines here and there and make
that interpretation. Here are a few facts about this:
a. You probably need to slow down a lot at first if you're going
to use this approach.
b. You shouldn't expect to see much in the way of positive
results over the short term. The results appear over weeks
and months. If you want a quick fix, this is not the approach
for you.
c. After several weeks, things should start to improve. If they
are still getting worse after 4 weeks or so, it's time to step back
and see what's going on.
d. When you are achieving success with this approach, you may
continue to improve greatly, and possibly for a long time, as I
have. My feeling is that while you are still improving, why mess
with it? Transition to more intense training once you have gotten
all of the aerobic toothpaste out of the tube.

6. If your goal is to run the fastest marathon (or other aerobic race)
that you can possibly run, then eventually, you'll have to add more
aggressive training. This approach represents both a phase to
prepare for the next level of training as well as guidance for how to
keep your easy runs truly easy when you are training more aggressively.

7. I mentioned in another recent post in the last version of this thread
that there is a major paradox with aerobic development. Those
who have very poor aerobic conditioning will have a terribly slow
pace at a "deeply aerobic" low heart rate. These people will have to
spend a lot of time at low heart rates to develop their aerobic systems
and it will be painfully slow for a while. Even a very small volume of
higher heart rate activities will tend to interfere with the process. I
was in this category and I experienced this as have many others.
Those who have strong aerobic conditioning can already run a good
pace at a low heart rate. These people can add a significant volume
of higher intensity stuff and can still see further aerobic development.
I am in this category now. It's the ultimate insult to injury.

8. If you are in your low 20s or below or mid-50s or above, it may
take some real trial and error to find a good "maximum aerobic
function" heart rate. Also, if you have a very low max heart rate,
the same can be said. If you are in either of these situations, I
recommend that you read the Hadd article in the FAQ and follow
his guidance for selecting a basebuilding heart rate.


MyRunningLog[/URL" target="_blank">
MyStuff[/URL" target="_blank">
Low Heart Rate Training FAQ[/URL" target="_blank">
My marathons and ultras[/URL" target="_blank">
My races and reports[/URL" target="_blank">

[http://This message has been edited by leitnerj (edited Jul-01-2007).|http://This message has been edited by leitnerj (edited Jul-01-2007).]

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