Who is Ted?

I'm the father of two beautiful daughters and an amazing wife. For fun, I enjoy the long hours of seemingly endless suffering that endurance sports (mostly running, cycling and triathlon)provide. During my "down time" I'm an avid beer snob and self-described gourmet chef (in other words I like to burn things on a stove or grill).

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Maffetone #2

The last day of Winter Break saw temperatures approaching the fifties and so it seemed like an ideal time to conduct my second official MAF test.  MAF is an abbreviation for Maffetone, the training method developed by Phil Maffetone.  The goal of this training is to improve your metabolic efficiency by teaching your body to burn fat as fuel more efficiently.  Aerobically, you are basically building a "bigger engine," and over time, this should pay off by increasing your endurance at a given pace, at a certain heart rate.  During the month of December, I began building my training volume in preparation for the Collegiate Peaks 50 mile trail run this coming May.  My running mileage has increased significantly over the last several weeks including a long run just over a week ago of 20 miles.   This graph shows the increase during the last 6 weeks of the year.
 In fact, during the month of December, my total running mileage reached 117 miles, which is easily the most I've done in the last 3 years of training.    During that time, I've continued to train at or below my aerobic threshold.  I was very anxious to get out and run today to see how all of this Maffetone business was working.  As I mentioned in the first posting about the MAF test, a key is having some consistency in the testing conditions.  Here are some of the things that I tried to keep the same for each of the tests so far:
  1. The previous day's workout was similar (riding the trainer) as the previous day.
  2. The test was conducted under similar weather conditions (between 45-55 degrees).
  3. The test was conducted at about the same time of day (between 12:45 and 2:15 p.m.).
  4. The test was conducted on the same course (a high school track) with an equal amount of warmup prior to beginning (2 miles).
  5. The same equipment and clothing were used to conduct the test.  
  6. The target aerobic threshold zone remained the same for both tests (between 139-144 bpm).
 Having kept those variables as consistent as possible, I was able to record the following data today. The graph below compares the data from the two separate tests:

As you can see from the chart, the results are quite significant:
  • My initial mile was 23 seconds faster this time and my last mile was a good 39 seconds faster than before.  
  • The level at which I was able to maintain a certain pace was also significant.  During the first test, my pace dropped by a total of 48 seconds between the first and last mile.  This time the difference was only 32 seconds.  This suggests that I'm not only able to run each mile faster, but I'm able to sustain a faster pace for a longer period of time.  
  • During MAF #1, my pace dropped by 31 seconds after the first mile.  During MAF #2, the decrease was only 15 seconds (or about half).  
  • On average, my pace per mile was 35 seconds faster than during the first test.
  • All of my mile splits were below 9:00 minutes this time.  During the last test only one of my splits (the first) was below the 9:00 minute mark.

I will continue to train this way during the next 4 weeks and I'll look to do another test in early February (again I'll be hoping for a day of good weather!).  After that I'm going to introduce a minimal amount of speed work including intervals and tempo runs.  I will still plan on doing a MAF test in early March as well and it will be interesting to see the impact, if any, that this has on my overall performance.
Here is a final summary of the two tests:

MAF #1 (12/8/2012)
MAF #2 (1/6/2013)
Miles run
8.42 miles
8.60 miles
Total Time
Maffetone Test Mileage
5 miles
5 miles
Maffetone Test Time
Average Heart Rate
Average Mean Pace
Median Pace (Mile 3)
Median HR (Mile 3)
Time of Day
1:30 p.m.
12:58 p.m.
51 degrees
45 degrees
Clothing/ Equipment
Brooks Shorts, T-shirt, Mizuno Wave Precision 12, Tifosi Sunglasses, Road ID
Brooks Shorts, T-shirt, Mizuno Wave Precision 12, Tifosi Sunglasses, Road ID


  1. I think body weight would be a nice addition to be able to interpret the reason for your progress. I just started running according to this method as I was really convinced by the theoretical benefit. Will make similar comparisons as you have made in a few months.

    Keep up the good work! W

    BTW, was there a March Maffletone update?


    1. Body weight was consistent between Maffetone tests, and as such wasn't included as a factor. The training can be a little frustrating as you work towards becoming more fat burning efficient. Unfortunately, I suffered an injury in February so I wasn't able to get an additional Maf test done. I hope to begin doing a monthly test again this summer to monitor the results..