Friday, May 14, 2010

In which Hotpotato runs her MAF test and tries not to inhale

Coach Paul has added regular MAF tests into our training, starting from this month. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, visit Phil Maffetone's website (watch out for the dinky music) and this article here.

Briefly, the MAF test is done on a flat piece of road or athletics track. You warm up for (say) 15 minutes, then run 8km at the upper end of your aerobic zone (for me, around 165 bpm), recording each km split, and your average HR for each km.

Phil and I decided to try out the Cambridge track for our MAF test this evening. Since it's so bloody dark and Cambridge spent all its money on freakin' trees instead of streetlighting, we loaded ourselves up with lights (Phil was kind enough to lend me his headlamp, and he ran carrying a MTB light in his hand..)

As soon as we got to the track, it started persisting down. Then we discovered that the Cambride athletics track is made of grass. Great. Running around in the grass and the mud for an hour. Probably not the best "test" surface either, but by this stage it was too late, there wasn't anywhere else we could go, so we sucked it up, and got moving. Oh- and even better. The grass on the track wasn't the only grass around. Some wee Cambridge miscreant was partaking in the space between the track and the neighbouring football field, and the smell was just short of overwhelming every time we looped past!

I found that the 8k main set went by fairly quickly, even though I was running around and around and around a grassy circle. It was quite interesting to identify the *slow* areas in the loop, and to watch my speed pick up while my HR went down in the *fast* areas. As Phil lapped me for the third time, he confirmed that he was finding the same thing.

Anyhoo, the point is to compare progress over time, so here are my splits, for posterity.

AHR 164 1 X 1.00 @ 00:05:29
AHR 166 1 X 1.00 @ 00:05:36
AHR 165 1 X 1.00 @ 00:05:38
AHR 166 1 X 1.00 @ 00:05:35
AHR 166 1 X 1.00 @ 00:05:41
AHR 166 1 X 1.00 @ 00:05:38
AHR 167 1 X 1.00 @ 00:05:40
AHR 167 1 X 1.00 @ 00:05:42

I'm actually pleased with this. Well, it's roughly what I expected to see, anyway. And based on previous research into MAF and race times, it suggests my 5k race pace would be 21:45, which would be a pretty epic PB for me (20s better than my best ever, and about 1:30 better than most of my recent efforts). Huh! Yeah, right!


Rachel Harris said...

Too funny - I bet your HR went down everytime you smelt the grassy aroma!

I used to do a similar session when Paul had me doing a 20 minute tempo run - I'd round the local grass track (I'd kill two birds and do it barefoot too). Eight km is a damn good effort in that environment - 20 minutes felt long enough!!

Aaron said...

That's pretty scientific, really gives you some good baseline data. Of course to be accurate when you repeat you will have to have the same test conditions!

Westy said...

Hmmm... yes canabis is on the 'banned substance' list Kate... and of course next time if your colleagues aren't there you may have to skin one up yourself
Nice results... I'll mail you

Andrew is getting fit said...

I'm sure the miscreant will be there next time you do the test. :)

Rachel Harris said...

I did my first MAF test last night. I couldn't remember what your results were, but funnily enough, we probably averaged out roughly the same - my overall average was 5.38, so I've got the same 5km estimate as you (I can't see myself doing a 21.45min 5km either!!). I was also pleased to see you didn't quite stick to 160-165 HR - I think every one of my laps was 166 bar one!

It'll be interesting to see how we both progress and improve.

Thanks for those links to the MAF test and the Doc himself - I didn't know anything about him or the basis behind the test. :-)

Kate said...

Rach- How stoked am I to have similar MAF to you!?! Man- I must be awesome! Will definitely be interesting to see how we both improve.

Rachel Harris said...

Ha ha! I wasn't impressed with my times, but then I saw yours and was like "Wow, Kate's done a 1.42 Half Marathon - a time I can only dream of! I'm in great company!!" So I was very happy to foot it with you... as long as I can get it to last!

Kate said...

...hmm.. that 1:42 was back when I was fast! I haven't run a sub-1:45 since :( I can only dream of that time now, but maybe we'll both be there/back there soon!