MAF Method Training

Morning all,

First time post on the forum, love the new format especially the calendar! Already planned way into next season!!

I’m wondering if anyone has used the MAF Method for run training while following a TR cycling plan and if so how they found it!

I’ve got a dual goal of qualifying for the world AG Duathlon champs and running a marathon PB early 2019 and I’m looking at combining some MAF running with SSB1 & 2 over the next few months! For those that are unaware, MAF training encourages training at a very low heart rate for all sessions with the aim of building the aerobic system. My theory is that if I’m getting my ‘high intensity work’ from TR then using this method for running could be a good way to build running endurance without adding too much additional stress.

MAF Method

Any thoughts or feedback much appreciated!




About 18 months or so ago I decided my aerobic base was cr*p so followed MAF or modified MAF for 12 months together with an LCHF diet. My feeling is it worked wonders for my base and general health. Going up hills at at any speed, however, sucked. I now do basically polarised training and have a lowish carb diet and try to stick to MAF on my long steady rides and that seem to be working.


Then you are still training to MAF even now.
As Phil Maffetone will always say the strict adherence to aerobic HR is just for base and then strength/speed/power will need to be added but in low amounts which pretty much equates to polarised training. And you are taking LCHF approach which he also advised to get the best results. Good for you.
It’s worked well for me in the past but this year I have fallen out of it… but the plan is to get back into that way of eating and training through the winter.


I’ve been using the MAF formula (180bpm - age) for the majority of my run training since the start of the year. I’ve really liked it… it keeps the easy days really easy, so I’ve been able to train more consistently (less illness, no injuries). My running pace @ MAF heart rate has improved, so my aerobic base is definitely getting better. I’ve also ran a 5K PB recently, so it hasn’t had a detrimental effect on my speed.

This has been my exact approach, along with a few high intensity run workouts (track sessions etc.).

IMO the biggest hurdle to the MAF approach is accepting the slower pace you need to train at… it’s a blow to the ego to be running around much slower than you’re used to :slightly_smiling_face:


You could do something like traditional base. I don’t think SSB is going to fit MAF because the intensity is too high and the workouts are relatively short. I see some slight complications though, because MAF is heart rate based and TR is power based. You would need to get your aerobic threshold HR figured out on the bike but I think it’s around 70% of Max HR. Or if you look a your power curve something like your 2.5 hour average power. You can check out this great podcast from VeloNews Fast Talk with Dr. Stephan Seiler, they discuss this very topic.

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Also check out the threads on Polarized training - similar topic. E.g.

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@CallumC - this interview with Phil Maffetone from the Simon Ward Triathlon Coach podcast is a good listen:


Listen to as many Ask the Coach Podcasts as you can from Endurance Planet. They talk MAF all the time. I read Phil’s book and many, many others. MAF is great for a healthy way to increase volume but I found a 80/20 approach really brought it all together. I also tried LCHF diet and unfortunately for me my cholesterol went sky high so I’m back to eating more along Matt Fitzgerald’s advice in his books.


Also I am a believer running and biking for 1-2 months keeping HR low (MAF) but including some short strides a few times a week is a great way to build base at least once a year. Then start a training program that introduces intensity as you build towards your A race.


My cholesterol also went very high as well and the doctor wanted to put me on statins. When he looked at the results more closely, at my insistence (as opposed to just the headline figure), he discovered that my "good cholesterol was very high and whilst my bad was also high it was accompanied by very low triglycerides which are are a marker of bad bit of the bad cholesterol.


Actually me too. My good Cholesterol was in the 90s by itself but my Doc still wanted to put me on Statins. It really upset me, I started researching it and you can find many people arguing high Cholesterol means nothing’s long as it’s the good Cholesterol. They might be correct but I decided to correct it through diet anyway.


Well done - its not easy going against conventional medical advice. Somebody once told me - “never take lifestyle advice from somebody who’s fatter than you”


Thanks for all the feedback guys, much appreciated! :slight_smile: Sounds like there have been a lot of people try it!

@oggie41 it’s actually that Simon Ward Podcast that got me thinking about how to weave a bit of MAF in again.

We know little to nothing about Cholesterol and recent research shows that LDL is actually a good thing too!


I’m wading my way through this at the moment. The guy is Scottish GP who practices in Macclesfield. His blog is very entertaining, informative and completely irreverent to the medical establishment. The Great Cholesterol Con

If your doctor still thinks Cholesterol is health marker I would change doctors ASAP.

Ask him to test some useful blood markers such as HbA1C, C reactive Protein and Homocyctein.

Steph LOWE is a nutritionist here in Australia and is a great resource for all things LCHF, MAF and interviews many health professionals which debunk old health myths.


Unfortunately here in UK it appears that it is our Government’s policy to get as many people on Statins as possible.


Beware of internet medical advice.


It’s a good idea - I’ve done the triathlon plans and I find the interval run sessions always lead to injuries. Lots of easy running is a good way forward - an even easier method than MAF is to run breathing in and out through your nose. This tracks well to a highly aerobic run, and the kind of heart rate MAF is looking for, and it’s really hard to run too hard with your mouth closed…just clear your nose beforehand :wink:


Using these principles of MAF heart zone, endurance and aerobic training, does it make sense for me now that I’m at the start of base to just do MAF 1 Hour Indoor Spins during weekdays (like 3x) and then longer outdoor rides but still at aerobic zone during weekends?

From what I understand, training at aerobic zone increases my endurance (duh) but can I achieve that given my limitation of 1 hour indoor spins during weekdays? the reason I am considering it versus regular Sweet Spot base is that my endurance base might develop better? Does that follow or am I just unconsciously looking for easier sessions? :slight_smile:

Thanks guys, any feedback would be appreciated!