As I've said before, I read several different blogs. It was how I stayed motivated when I first started running and it's how I learned (learn) new running things. It's also probably the reason I started running races, and definitely the reason I ran my first half marathon and maybe why I ran a full marathon.
Anyway, I follow Katie at RunsforCookies.com, she was my first blog to follow. She started talking about MAF (maximum aerobic functioning) running about a year ago while training to PR her 10k. She's started talking about it again as a way to train. So I decided to try it out.
Here's a link (I found the comments most helpful) but it is basically finding your best heart rate for aerobic exercise. That is 180-your age . . . and then there are other factors, such as injury, that will affect that number. So for me it's 180-40=140, but then I am coming back from an injury, so subtract another 5 = 135 is the highest my heart rate should be. So my MAF heart rate is 125-135.
This technique is supposed to do a couple things, make you run faster, eventually, with the same heart rate, and help you burn fat more efficiently. I decided to try it for awhile since I found my Garmin and can monitor my heart rate again. I don't actually know if my goal is to become faster, although I suppose it is. Burning fat more efficiently is a bonus, but honestly that isn't why I decided to try it, it is just something new.
My times went up though. I have not been running fast, not since my sprain, I was just finally getting under a 10 min/mile regularly. However, in trying to keep my heart rate below 135, my miles per min have increased to 11 min/miles. I have not been upset by this which is a little strange because I've been about wanting to run faster. Right now I haven't even been paying attention, during my run, to how fast I am going. I have been focusing on my heart rate. Although, I do notice afterwards that I've been gone longer.
The biggest thing with this type of running, is that I run on hills every day. There is nowhere, other than the high school track (that I hate), to run on in my area without at least one hill, gradual or steep. So in order to keep my heart rate at 135 or lower, I am now walking up the hills, and that annoys me. I can run up the hill. I do it all the time. And my head tells me that people are judging me for walking up the hill (silly, I know).
According to what I've read about MAF training, is that your first mile should be your fastest if you are doing it right. However, with my runs, my first mile is all up hill and then the rest is flat or down hill (especially on my short runs), so my first mile is my slowest. My long run this weekend was all over the place. My first mile was my slowest (all uphill) and mile 5 was my fastest (all downhill), my last mile, mile 9, was 7 seconds slower than my first (mostly flat, with slight increase at the end).
I guess we'll see how it goes. I'm curious if it will help me get faster, and if it will help me lose some weight. However, I have never done the MAF test (which was what that link above was to) so I'm thinking maybe I should do that this weekend on the track (which is about as exciting as running on a treadmill).
I don't think I mentioned it, but I got a standing desk at work. It is pretty nice, although, after running 9 miles on Saturday and 3 miles on Sunday, my feet hurt quite a bit yesterday and I didn't stand a lot, even though I was wearing tennis shoes. I need to go back to rolling my feet regularly. I have gotten out of the habit, and I should start doing it more so that my plantar faciitis doesn't come back, especially if I'm going to stand more at work.