So let's get to it?
I decided to re-read up on the whole MAHR thing because Trail Runner Mag just printed their MAHR article online for all to read (why do I even subscribe to the printed version?). The "theory" behind it I think comes from Phil Maffetone originally, calling it The 180 Formula. Since we calculate our heart rate zones using the max rate of 220 minus our age, he figured out the MAHR limit to be 180 minus our age (or similarly, 70-75% our max rate). I recalculated mine, using his adjustments (my adjustment being a subtraction of 5 more bpm due to lack of consistent training or just getting back in the game). My number is 146 with that (or 151 without the adjustment) which is where I've sort of been keeping things. I start slowing down or being more aware at about 145 and then really drop back when it reaches 150, hoping it doesn't crawl above that mark. And I think with these numbers, that's exactly what I should be doing. Yay me?!
BUT, I think I have also been not doing it right in that I get a little "meh" and let it crawl into the 160s sometimes because I'm impatient. My thinking being "well if it's there for a half a minute it's not going to matter" but reading all the comments on The 180 Formula website, it kind of does matter a little, at least in the beginning. So I'm going to try harder in REALLY keeping it below 150 and trying my best to keep it between 145-149 (the closer it is to the threshold, the faster you see results, which makes sense). And I have been not caring what my bpm is AT ALL during my lunch runs from work, riding my bike to work, or weightlifting. While I don't want to obsess over all those numbers because it gets me into burnout mode, I do think I want to pay attention to it and it will also help me reach those faster paces at an aerobic level much quicker.
Might as well use the damn $500 piece of equipment as much as possible, right?
Oh here, I like this from a runner's blog, quoting an interview with Phil:
Dr. Phil: Yes, anaerobic training can be very helpful. But whether it’s hills at higher heart rates, track intervals, or weight training (which is always anaerobic regardless of your heart rate), incorporating anaerobic training before fully developing your aerobic system can be a problem. Consider that in an ultra distance event, 99% of your energy comes from the aerobic system, and only 1% from the anaerobic system. So the more well developed your aerobic system, the more your body is equipped to race long distances. This is the foundation of training that Mark Allen and other great endurance athletes developed.
Only after you build a great aerobic system should you add anaerobic training, if at all. The MAF Test – which measures how fast you run at your MAHR – is the best guide that helps determine when you’ve accomplished this task. As you build the aerobic system, you should be able to run faster at the same heart rate, including the hills. For example, if initially you can’t run up a hill without going over your max aerobic heart rate, eventually you’ll be able to accomplish this as your aerobic system develops. You’ll also race faster – having done no anaerobic training.
- Aerobic is really important with endurance sports/racing and I REALLY REALLY want to be an endurance athlete
- Running is the epitome of fitness
Let me go on about number 2 and why it's important to really understand what that sentence means. Running is the epitome of fitness. Meaning, you don't just go out and become a runner. You need to be fit in many ways before you go and run. The whole "walk before you can run" thing is REAL. You need to have core fitness. You need to have your base. You need to have flexibility. Your heart, lungs, leg muscles, etc ALL need to be in shape to be a runner. And so many people don't realize this and their first thought when wanting to lose weight or become more fit is, "Well I guess I better get some running shoes and run a few times a week." Because, sure, it might be an efficient way to lose weight, but it's not the right way to begin a fitness lifestyle. It's what you should be aiming for after you get your fitness level up high enough. So MAHR training to build up my base MAKES SENSE. And the reason I'm frustrated that I go at a 14-18 minute mile is because I'm not fit. I just started this journey a short time ago. Maybe because of my youth or other high intensity training I've done, I've been able to endure the harder and higher heart rate levels enough to accomplish a marathon (or two), it doesn't mean I'm actually fit for them (and my injuries prove that!). I need to start at the beginning and take those baby steps to get to the running fitness level. And that's why I'm in the gym 3 days a week weightlifting and strength training, and why I need to keep my heart rate low when I'm doing these training activities to build my base.
Anyway, that's all I got today. Excited for my runs this weekend.