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 26, 2014

Back to "Maff"

Yesterday, I went out for my first Maffetone test in over a year.  If you are unfamiliar with Phil Maffetone, and his approach to training, you can find more information about my experience with this kind of training at this post, this post, or at this post.  Or, you can simply visit his website which will give you all of the official information you need.  The short version is that with Maffetone training, you do nearly all of your training at your aerobic threshold.  This teaches your body to become more efficient at burning fat for energy, and as your volume of training increases over time, you become faster at that threshold level.  One of Phil Maffetone's early coaching clients, was a guy named Mark Allen, whom you might have heard of.
Mark Allen: A pretty good triathlete!
I had some success to this approach in 2013.  Within a couple of months of training, I saw my pace at Aerobic threshold drop by nearly a minute per mile, and I also found myself feeling less dependent on "fuel" during exercise.  Unfortunately, a running injury derailed further testing so I didn't get to see what further progress might indicate.  Still, I did manage to PR at the half-marathon distance last year, and I have to attribute some of that to being more efficient.
So at the onset of 2014, I find myself willing to embark on a new round of Maffetone training.  My goal is to measure results with a monthly 5 mile test to see if I can gather more extended results.  Based on my experience a year ago, I think this training approach holds promise, but I wouldn't say that I'm a complete "convert" to Maffetone just yet.
This time around, I'm going to take a slightly different approach to the "tests" than compared to a year ago.  For starters, I have a new 310xt that I'm using for HR tracking, and I'm a bit more adept at using its features.  This allows me to set up workouts and courses which I can upload to the device.  In so doing, it will buzz and beep at me as I move through the warm-up, etc.  It will also alert me if my HR drops or exceeds the threshold level.  The biggest change however is that instead of doing my testing on a track as I did a year ago, I'm using a route that I run on a regular basis.  There are a few reasons for this.  One is that a course will also allow me to consider some additional variables like elevation increase and decrease.  I also like the idea of testing in a situation that is more consistent with my regular training.  Lastly, running around the track 20 times is just plain boring.
The course is relatively flat, but has a few climbs which will provide some authentic data over time.
Another major difference this year will be the nature of my training.  In 2013, I was gearing up for a 50 mile trail run in May.  This meant that the overwhelming majority of my training was running.  This year, I'm doing a much more balanced approach to training which means more cycling and swimming.  Still, I am going to add a weekly long run to my regimen in order to build up to about 20 miles by mid-April.  You just can't beat running for building a strong aerobic base.  Based on my first test yesterday, I'm going to need it!  
More biking and swimming, but limited run miles
To date my training is much more limited due to the late October accident and then a slight calf muscle strain at the start of the new year.  I'm getting back into it, but my overall mileage has been lower (particularly in the run).
Nice weather made for nice running
Yesterday's test consisted of a 10 minute warm-up followed by 5 miles of running at a heart rate between 130-139 bpm (essentially my aerobic threshold range).  It was a nice enough day to wear shorts and a t-shirt, and I took along a visor and an iPod nano (I will be consistent in my future tests and run with the same outfit, music, etc.  I will also try to run on a day when the weather is similar).  My current weight is 172.4 lbs which is slightly above what I normally weigh during racing season. I will continue to monitor weight over time to see how any changes may impact heart rate and pace.

This chart shows that my pace had a range of about 48 seconds from the fastest at 10:45 up to 11:33 per mile.  Some of this was impacted by elevation, so the next set of tests will be revealing in terms of how much of a difference appears (if any).  I have to admit that this was much slower than I'd anticipated, but it speaks to the limited aerobic base that I currently possess.  In the world of Maffetone, I'm less fat-adapted at this point, and therefore, less efficient.

Heart Rate:

This very boring chart shows that my average HR was steady across each mile of the test (averaging 137 bpm).  Technically my threshold is 138 according to Maffetone, but this comes close enough.  During the entire run, I tried not to exceed this threshold and in fact, my Max HR for the entire run never exceeded 142 bpm which is well within an acceptable range.  

Overall Data:

This last table shows all of the information together including changes in elevation.  As I repeat the tests, I will update the pace and HR information to include within the charts and graphs.

Now it's about time to go hit the bike trainer for a while and take in some "House of Cards" while I ride.  Nothing like snarky D.C. politicians to get the blood pumping!

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