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!