MAF heart rate training

(Christopher Smith) #1

Are any of my fellow runners in this forum doing MAF heart rate training? I have had great success using the MAF Heart rate training method. It works so well with an LCHF diet.

(Scott) #2

I am a casual runner and have no idea what MAF stands for?

(Carl Keller) #3

Try a seach for “MAF” using the magnifying glass in the top right corner. You should find some info.

(Chris C) #4

Hey Chris - YES , I am very interested. After reading a post on this site ( A " Jay " someone - not sure of his sign in name ) I got very curious . I bought the book and have done some 15 or so workouts at my MAF which is a super low 123 bpm. I have noticed my overall health is improving but my MAF times are not… at around 14:24 per min miles. I WAS SO OVERTRAINED it was not funny. I have committed myself to SIX months - I’m about seven weeks into now. Actually , I may continue until I get to 10 min miles… but , at this rate may take years. I have a bunch of questions - that his book nor his site seems to address. Ex. After base built , how to specifically train for events like Tri or Marathons ? I know my TOP end is only 156 BPM ( which is crazy because I just did MCM and rate was 164 for over 20 miles ) I would be very appreciative for any help or direction to resource where I can get specifics. Thanks !

(Christopher Smith) #5

Hey Scott,

MAF means Maximum Aerobic Function . It is heart rate based training regimen. The basics are to not run any faster than your prescribed heart rate based on your current age. The formula is your age subtracted from 180. There are other variables also which may have you subtracting or adding more beats per minute.
here is a link to the MAF website.

Take care

(Christopher Smith) #6

Hey Chris,
I have a few questions to ask you about your training and diet.
Firstly, are you currently in a fat adapted state? (eating a ketogenic diet for at least two to four months ~20G carbs)
Secondly, how many times do you race, how many times do you need to peak?


(Chris C) #7

Hey Chris ! Thanks for responding . So, YES I am fat adapted. I actually ran MCM with just fat bombs and salt. ( I am probably 50 carbs a day but all from green vegis and nuts - slow burning ) . I use blood test for ketones - range between .5 and 2 MMOL.

So on races , I am really flexible. My hope is to run some Halfs or some Olympic distance tri’s in late summer/ early fall this year. I would say peak only once or twice a year. But after reading Phil’s book I still do not understand how to train AFTER I build a base. ( Again , I know I was severely OVER Trained and willing to put in time to get heart healthy ). So , before my switch to MAF I ran 55 min 10k. At my MAF I run 1:24 - which some folks could walk faster than that ! :-]

I have been to his web site (s) and very little I could find on how to train AFTER MAF base training … any and all guidance would be appreciated.


(LJ) #8

Hi @Chris_C,

I’m wondering if you ever found more sources that answered your questions about MAF after base training? Or if you’ve discovered more for yourself and willing to share?

I’m (keto) finding success with MAF as a rookie runner with interests in eventual endurance and/or tris. My long-time distance runner husband (LCHF) is also 6 months into implementing it with renewed mumblings about entering more trails, halfs, and possibly another full.

(Chris C) #9

Hello KFT,

So, a little yes and a little no. Most folks who claim to know a lot about it really don’t. But , after some serious looking I found this guy : I have had to stop running and swimming/ biking for a little while , I was WAY OVER TRAINED according to MAF principles so going to get started again in just two more weeks. ( took 5 months off ). I am a HUGE proponent of LCHF and MAF - I have seen my health improve tremendously. And I will get my fitness back soon enough. Prior to moving over to MAF and LCHF I was really fit… but at the expense of being healthy. When I start building fitness back this time I am doing it the right way… I hope this helps and would love learning what you learn. I have not had a need to surf his videos / site of late but when I get back to it, I will have a ton more questions too. :-]


(LJ) #10

Thanks @Chris_C, it does help and I look forward out checking out the link and also share notes as we both move forward as well as relay any findings from my husband. We both also link keto/LCHF and MAF as necessary mates. Sorry to hear about your setback, but admire your willingness to recognize and take the needed break – congrats on being nearly there!

@captainlobes, in scanning back to the top of this thread I also just realized I cross-connected you and Chris C. Are you still running with MAF training and interested in sharing your success insights?

(Scott) #11

I just checked mine during my six mile run this morning so 180 - 57=123. When I started I shot up to 163 but quickly dropped down to the 125 ~130 range for the bulk of the run. I guess this is good?

(LJ) #12

Close but still above. 123 is the maximum. Idea would be to slow your pace to never go over 123 throughout.

(Tomas Hanousek) #13

It’s true that it is the maximum at which one should train it it is not always viable. Sometimes, hills get so steep that the HR overshoots even when walking.
I personally set up alarm on my watch to warn me at 140 which is my maximum. I slow down or even walk a bit when I hit it. Overall though, I’m interested in the average of the run. I usually come at max 137-139 which I call good enough.
I, too, wonder about the next steps. I have been training with MAF for about 6 months now and have experienced huge improvements.
I decided to read Phil’s book first and I will then seek out a coach to direct me from there on. I reckon 80/20 will be the answer.

(LJ) #14

My husband and I also aim for averages with alarms to know when we’re over, as we have some hills no matter which way we set out from the house. I prefer to walk back into zone, refers to his Tim Conway Shuffle mode.

@TomH improvements in what respect? By 80/20 do you mean 80 MAF and 20 other pacing?

At 6 months my husband is finding MAF excellent for making distance goals very achievable, he says 1/2 marathon distance runs are as ‘easy as a blink of an eye’. He’s had a few breakthrough pace days at MAF but not consistently. He has recently started mixing back in pace days about once a week – fun days he calls them – he turns off the alarm and just runs to what feels good. I notice on MAF days even at 3hr runs, his energy stays steady after and usual protein post suffices for recovery; pace days, usually 1.5 to 2 hrs, he needs down time and increased post-carbs are a must.

At 3 months in I’ve achieved continuous 5K for the first time in 12 yrs of multi failed attempts from flared neuro-autoimmune issues. I’m having 0 symptoms. I removed the -10 points for ‘recovery from major illness’ last week with full success in the 2 runs since. I’m interested in getting my MAF pace times to average 5k race to enter at least 1 then decide if I want to continue with continuous pace toward a 10k or switch to more walk/run toward endurance distances and continue to build on my walk distances of 15 mi. A key to my being able to do this is staying deep keto, I don’t trust that I will be able to have the flexibility to carb up like many can when getting into endurance lengths and would love to hear from those who also stay very low carb throughout.

(Jeremy Wheatley) #15

I don’t claim to be an expert on MAF training or Keto by any means but I have been training with it for almost 2 years and Keto for well over a year. I’m pretty consistent with only taking in 20 grams of carbs or less a day. Im definitely no speed demon hahah. when I started my max training HR was 142 so I set my alarm for 140 at that time I was running a 2:20:00 half while training, fast forward to the present, I’m doing a 4:26:00 50k in training… Again I’m no expert on MAF training but the way I under stood it was that you cut out all speed work and every run is an easy run, well, that’s how I’ve doing it for the past 2 years anyways… Im pretty pleased with my results.

(Edith) #16

I’m reviving this thread because I use heart rate training for my running. It’s not quite MAF, its 80/20: 80% in zones 1 & 2, and 20% in zones 3 & up. I probably end up around 70/30. I tried straight MAF several years ago, but I just spend way too much time walking during my runs and could never get any faster.

For those of you who use MAF, how did it help you get faster within your MAF heartrate? Was there a certain number of days you had to do aerobic exercise per week to receive the benefit?

I’m 55. My MAF heart rate is only supposed to be 125. That is just too low for me to really be able to do any enjoyable running.

I would love to hear about anyone’s experiences using this training method.