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Feedback Extramilest Community to Improve Your Running

By April 30, 2019 May 3rd, 2019 19 Comments
man running on a mountain

I would like to ask you for a favor. Do you have any positive experiences with low heart rate training, improved nutrition and limiting stress? Any feedback and tips for runners looking to improve in their running? It would be great to hear from our Extramilest community in the comments below! 15 great stories there already.

Pretty much every day I read messages from runners all around the world in our Facebook Group, on Strava, YouTube etc. Many of them have improved in their running. Not only have they become faster and stronger runners, but they also found much more joy in their workouts, and improved their overall health and happiness as well.

Example of runner’s feedback

Hi Flo, the first several weeks were the hardest part. I had to slow down to 9 to 10 minute miles to keep my HR <= 136 for age 44. But, progress came quickly soon thereafter. By the end of summer I could stay aerobic at 8:20 min/mile pace, and by race day in November around 8:00. I finished the New York marathon just a hair under 3:25. I resumed training, increasing my mileage, but continuing to keep almost all of my miles aerobic. Just ran the Phoenix marathon in February and was shocked to come in at 3:08 and change with none of the cramping that plagued me at the end of New York. Thanks again for all the information you’ve laid out! Also, for anyone else considering Maffetone/HR training, I strongly encourage trying it. Takes some getting used to if you have a “no-pain no-gain” mentality, but the results make it worth it – John

How I improved my own running

In 2013 I came across Dr. Phil Maffetone’s work and changed my entire approach to running by focusing on 3 areas. All 3 areas helped improve my fat burning abilities:

  • slowing down most of my training runs to low heart rate
  • improving my nutrition, cutting out processed food and limiting sugar intake
  • limiting my stress at work and in my personal life

I shared this in an initial blog post in 2013 titled “How I trained to run a sub 3 hour marathon“. This post shares how I improved from a 4 hour 11 marathon to a 2:55 marathon. This blog has been read 150k times. This motivated me to continue creating more content on this topic, because it really helped positively impact many runners of all levels out there. Last year we started the Extramilest Facebook Group, which now has 1300+ runners from 38 countries supporting each other.

Initially slowing down your running by several minutes a mile is counter intuitive for most athletes. Several athletes find this frustrating at first to slow down and possibly also take walk breaks. With patience, consistency and understanding what might be blocking progress, many athletes experience significant breakthroughs and improvements.

2 blog posts that might help you improve:

It would be great to hear from you!

This is a great place for our Extramilest community to come in and share their experiences. Do you have any tips or recommendations for runners looking to improve? Any feedback for athletes considering starting out with low heart rate training? Thank you in advance!

19 Comments

  • Nick Donaldson says:

    I will never forget watching Floris’s video on YouTube about how to qualify for the Boston marathon. My mind was blown away. Everything that was said made sense and I believed it. The next day I started. I was slow, probably 6:15-6:30 per km, that was in March of last year 2018. Fast forward till October 2018, my maf pace was about 4:45 per Km!! pace. My fall October marathon did not go as planned at all due to Gi issues. But I was on pace for a 3:25 or 3:30 finish. Which would have been a huge PR from 4:21. But I’m back this year and hoping I get a great marathon performance, with so much learned on the diet side & running as well. It truly is a game of patience. The best part for me is running doesn’t have to hurt. It should feel good. With MAF training it is. The best part is the speed comes naturally. You have to trust that it will work and believe in it. Also have a really good HR monitor! 😉

    Nick

  • Tomás says:

    I will try to be really short in this: MAF Method is a game changer. Not only for running, also is a great way to a really nice life style.
    Leave your ego at the door. With a few weeks or months you will become really faster. Try to keep a record of your trainning and go by time. With this I mean that I found better to planning my runs by time, and then see how fast and long I go.
    Enjoy it, you will be running easy and fast in a long term (low HR and pace under 7:40 min/mile)
    Miles of smiles, Tomy

  • Andy Hooks says:

    For the longest time, when I got into running, I had a harder time with improving my time and no injuries. In March of 2017, I kept getting chondromalecia, runners knee and had to withdrawal from Myrtle Beach marathon. I was getting frustrated but after some time I was going down the YouTube rabbit hole and found a video from Floris on how he improved his time as well as reducing his injuries. His method, from Phil Maffetone, radically changed my view on HR training as well as nutrition. I took the formula 180-age HR and started going low consistent mileage and slowly worked my way up. The idea of consistency over intensity is not taught well in the U.S. but should be taught to athletes. I improved from 3:45 in mid 2017 to a 2:53 in January at the Houston marathon 2019 and a 2:54 at Boston this year. Now I’m training to run a sub 2:45 at Berlin this September. I’m running now 7:30-7:40 min/mile pace with <140HR when training and have never felt better. Thank you Floris for making running fun!

  • Luis Espinoza says:

    I consider myself a more of a cyclist. I took up running when I started racing Duathlons. I would often tell everyone, running was a necessary evil for me and I meant it. I used the traditional training approach of speed, tempo, track and long runs. I ran a few half marathons, with a PR of 140:41 in 2016. However, my body suffered greatly and I didn’t enjoy running. I experienced a stress fracture last summer and became very discouraged with running. Then, this past February I attended a presentation at a local Running shop and one of the speakers spoke of Low Heart Rate training and the MAF method. I remember asking the speaker, “so you’re telling me I never have to do speed work again”? I quickly discovered Floris and the Extramilest resources. It has changed everything for me. I have been doing MAF for almost three months and just set a new PR this past Sunday for a half Marathon at 1:37:58, I have been trying for three years and 4 half marathons later to break it. However, it only took three months of MAF training to break it. I have adopted many of the methods of the runners on the podcast and have individualized my own program, I now look forward to running and am enjoying it for the first time, I can’t thank the Extramilest family enough for helping me improve my running. I am even considering trying a full marathon. My Duathlon season starts next week and I can’t wait to get out there and compete.

  • Simon Hibbs says:

    The planets aligned for me with MAF
    After completing 3 half and 1 full Ironman triathlons i felt things had stagnated and I was very tired
    I went to a dietitian who specialises in helping athletes to become fat adapted. She told me I needed to do all my training at 180 – age (for me 126 BPM). She never mentioned MAF
    I did what she said and dropped 3kg in 2 weeks so went searching YouTube and found Floris’s video and like many others it all made sense
    I have been at it properly for 4 months and improved my 8k MAF test by 3mins 30. It’s still slow but I have little to no leg fatigue regardless of how far I run. I’ve dropped an additional 2kg and feel great
    Being part of this community is an added bonus as others achievements keep you focussed on the long term as you work through the frustration of slowing down
    Let go of your ego and MAF running is a game changer!

  • Jeroen-Pieter says:

    Thanks a lot Floris Gierman

    Since I have been MAF-fing and have been with the Extramilest group I did 4 marathons and 3 of them in a Sub3. Before I did training with a lot more interval sessions and did not managed to reach Sub 3.

    Consistency on your key is one important key and to have a good building phase that to enough mileage. Adding interval can be done later if your feeling that you don’t improve anymore.

    Train also in race conditions. Is the race in the morning? Prepare for it, train with intake of food and train what you need to take in before the race. There are more tips but I leave it here now 😁

    Good luck everyone!

  • Togz says:

    Learning about you Flo, the Extramilest community and MAF training was a very timely blessing as I was coming back to running after what seems like a very long recovery from a double knee meniscus arthroscopic surgery. Getting started with low HR training late 2017, I realized a goal of running a sub-3:30 at the Vienna City Marathon in 2018 and finally a sub-3:15 Boston Qualifier on the same course early this year. At 48yrs old, I didn’t imagine to be able to run this much enjoyable mileage/timeage if not through low intensity/HR training. Patience, consistency and enjoying the process were/are my key learnings in this journey : ) Thankz again Flo!

  • Gary Morin says:

    I trained for a marathon which I ran In late February. I felt I was in great shape for it. I did run a BQ but felt I could have done better. My body didn’t cooperate with me towards the end of the race. I felt I needed something more in my training to get better. I came across a video by Floris that peeked my interest in MAF training. After several days of research, I decided to give MAF training a go. First MAF test in early March my average pace per mile was 9:32. I did a MAF test yesterday and my average pace was 8:53. I was amazed to see the results. When I first started I was sure this wasn’t going to work. The excruciating slow pace, the walking going up an incline was very frustrating but I was determined to stick with it. Gradually there was some improvement and also some little setbacks but my body was feeling better after runs so I stuck with it. In less than 2 months I am seeing significant improvement in my pace per mile. I will continue to run all my easy pace miles at MAF while adding a little bit of speed into a few runs. Thanks Floris!

  • My story with low heart rate training started in 2017 Fabruary. First it was very hard to slow down and limit my pace because I used to run as fast as I can. 🙂 I started to build an aerobic base, changed my nutrition to LCHF (-10 kg in 4 months), and long story short, last year I ran a sub 3:30 marathon in Budapest and in 2020 I plan to go sub-3 with age 48.

    I learned a lot from Floris’s videos, I started following his activity back while he had the “flotography” blog and learned a lot. I subscribed to dr. Maffetone’s blog and follow a lot of valuable people not only in the sports performance field but also in the health and fitness field (I will name some of them if you are interested).

    With regard to tips and advice, I encourage people to slow down in training in order to speed up in racing. First, it may seem weird but if you listen to the podcasts with Jonathan Walton, Josh Sambrook or Jason Cherriman, you will see “testimonials” that low HR training is not only working, but you can become a very fast runner.

    I cut it here and recommend to learn and follow the Maffetone Method, work you way up first to a 30-40-60 or 100 km week, in the meantime reduce the stress around yourself and you’ll see wonders, I promise. 🙂

  • Kyle Maguire says:

    Hi Flo – I discovered MAF training right at the beginning of my running career. Your download on running, health, and training inspired me to get a heart rate watch and start my slow journey. I even purchased both of Maffetones books. My first few long runs were at MAF HR sub 150. I was running 11 minute miles while building a solid aerobic base. After 3 months of consistent training at this heart rate, I ran a 44:35 10k (first race) at average heart rate 154. I am now running MAF at 9 minute miles for long runs where I incorporate some faster paces but stick to MAF on all other runs. MAF inspired me to begin my running career. The relaxing runs are stress relieving and have made me a healthier individual. Incorporating the stress of law school is important to me and MAF running puts no extra stress on my body. If you would have asked me to run a 5k a year ago, I would have laughed but now I can handle 9 minute miles with ease and enjoy running. This method is incorporated into my marathon training for Erie and Chicago this fall. I cant wait to see the results of my first Marathon. Thanks for the inspiration

  • Michael Ovens says:

    Hey Floris,

    Your PDF how to run a BQ was a real turning point in my running.
    My first marathon time was a 5 hour 15 and now i am down to 3:18 at present with sights firmly set on a sub 3.
    MAF has revolutionised the amount i can run and i’ve seen such great improvements, i can now easily maintain 7:30min miles @MAF HR out in the real world.

    I’ve also really enjoyed your podcasts and the info from Josh and Jason was great, i look forward to your next podcast on how you are taking these different ideas on board.

    My next step towards a sub 3 will be increasing my weekly mileage from 40 miles to over 60 and see where that takes me.

    Thanks again
    Michael

  • Hi Floris

    I am following your blog and website since 2015 when I started my quest to qualify for Boston marathon. I used MAf method to train my heart and ran lots of slow miles. I still do that. I qualified for Boston in 2016 with a time of 2:58 and believe that MAF training has helped me a lot. I kept running slow at my MAF heart rate and let me tell you this- my pace for average of 140 beats per minute was 8:30 mins/mile for a 6-8 mile run. Yesterday I ran 136 beats per minutes for 8 miles at 7:15 per mile. Things have changed over several years and this method is very light. I also ran a 3:27 50k two weeks back with a marathon split of 2:53 on a relatively hilly course.

    Since my MAF pace is 7:15 mins per mile.

    My next goal is to break 100k Indian national record and I am trying that on Aug 3 this year.
    I would like to push it further to bring that down to sub 7.
    That’s what I need to run 100k in 7:30 hours or faster in upcoming Asian and Oceania Championship in November this year. I will be representing Indian National Team in 100k

    Thank you once again for your support and blogs. You are awesome.

  • Gareth King says:

    I started MAF in August and my avg pace was 10:33 per mile. Although this was very frustrating I stuck to it and within a couple of weeks I seen improvements and 8 months I’m now running sub 8 min mile. The thing I love about MAF is how good I feel, always ready to run and it’s allowed me to be very consistent with my training which is usually 6 days per week. MAF training has definitely improve me as a runner and already I’ve taken 9 mins off my half marathon PB this year and hope to get sub 3 in the marathon this year. All this and without stressing the body in training. Really looking forward to continuing my MAF journey to see where it takes me. Gareth.😁

  • Bill Callahab says:

    The MAF concept is a game changer. Too many times I’ve seen people go from one running concept to another with no structure. I was similar a few years back where I just ran anything. I found Floris and the MAF approach when I wanted to qualify for Boston. I started in the spring of 2016 and in October I qualified for Boston running a sub 3 at almost 40 years old! Since then I’ve stuck with it and stayed running injury free and have enjoyed running so much more. Others must have picked up in my new found joy of running because I have several friends in my running club and others that I have met along the way now doing it. It’s a great path to lead you on your running journey to lead you to your goals!

  • Darren says:

    I have completed 3 months maf and will carry on. After reading comments not many started below 10.30min/mile. Im 13.30mm. My only goal is run a 10mm to commute to work. Not any big fast marathon. So its still frustrating.
    Good luck in your running.

  • Joey Wilson says:

    Each year for the past 6 years, I have run a 30km mountain race with 4,000 feet of elevation gain. I made some progress the first 3 years, but not as much as I would have liked. On the 4th year, I decided to train very hard in order to improve my race time. Multiple times a week I would hit the trails hard, my heart rate at about 175bpm throughout, and really pushing it on uphills. Basically I was at my lactate threshold for the entire training season, but because I was so tired, I could only seem to get about 3-4 runs in per week.

    The results? I ran 6 minutes SLOWER than my previous year. I felt like I had zero power throughout the race. At that point I knew my training was not working. After talking to my father who once ran a 2:50 marathon, he suggested that I run at a much easier pace for my training. He said said I would enjoy it more and consistency would be much easier. It was a bit counter-intuitive for me, but I knew training hard all the time did not lead to good results, so why not?

    The following year I trained at a much easier pace going into the race. I did not follow a strict sub-aerobic heart rate, but I did back off quite a bit for my daily runs and threw in 1 time a week of speed work as the race approached. The results? I ran my best time over all 5 years by about 15 minutes! That was almost a full minute per mile faster! Not only that, I felt much stronger in the race and suffered much less.

    The 6th year I reverted and did too much speed work, less easy running, and I ran slower than my previous year. I also suffered quite a bit during the race. Lesson learned.

    This year I have fully adopted low heart rate training thanks to reading the book “Training for the Uphill Athlete” by House, Johnson, and Jornet (yes, THE Kilian Jornet). It’s an excellent book that covers the science of aerobic/anaerobic energy systems. It drives the point that aerobic base and easy training is where a huge amount of gain is found for most runners. I highly recommend the book to anyone who is an endurance athlete, regardless of the terrain/sport.

    I’ve now started doing almost all of my runs in sub-threshold aerobic zones (below MAF) since mid March of this year (7 weeks ago), and am noticing that my paces are getting faster each week. At first I had to walk almost all the uphills to keep my heart rate down, and my flat pace was very slow. After some patience, now I’m able to run what I would say is a decent pace without going above threshold. Very encouraging and fun! It’s an amazing feeling to be running at a good pace and feeling so relaxed at the same time. I am fully committed to trying a large dose of low heart rate running for the next year and am excited to see where it takes me. I certainly enjoy my daily runs more, and it’s a lot easier to get more miles in!

  • Simon Young says:

    Hi Floris – I just wanted to write to you to say a HUGE thank you for everything you do with your Extramilest blog and website.
    Having followed your advice, posts and podcasts for the last 8 months, and refined my running with your help, i have just finished my first marathon (the London Marathon) in 3 hours 11 minutes.
    I’m going to post much more detail on my learnings on the Facebook group. But suffice to say – it’s been a bumpy ride in training, and i have learnt a hell of a lot about my body and the marathon training process along the way. In the meantime, there are four big lessons I’d like to pass on to Low HR beginners here:
    1) Don’t be over-optimistic when calculating your MAF heart rate – the more I’ve reduced the rate I run at, the faster I’ve got (weird, I know…).
    2) In cold weather, you have to warm up properly or your HR will spike – it’s not because you are unfit, or can’t do MAF, it’s because your body is trying to heat up! And just because you’re doing low-HR running, doesn’t mean you can miss the warm up. Top tip for winter runners – drink some hot water before you leave the house.
    3) If you’re using a wrist-based HR monitor – make sure it’s fully charged before a run. I’ve found the readings are much more accurate that way. That said – i think i’m about to move to chest-based monitoring for accuracy.
    But there’s an even bigger lesson …
    4) Nothing can possibly simulate or fully prepare you for the experience of running a full marathon for real. I now understand why you (Floris) and every runner you interview on your podcast speaks with such respect about the experience of a full marathon. It’s a mind-blowing experience that tests the very limits of body and mind.
    Eight months after starting this journey, I know one thing for sure: If I hadn’t followed this training programme I would have finished 1 hour slower … or more likely, not finished at all.
    So I just wanted to say thank you Floris … and I owe you massively. I’m going to keep following, keep listening, keep spreading the word about what you do … and keep running!
    Simon

  • Josh Clothiaux says:

    Hi Floris!

    I’ve been MAF training for slightly under one year. My first marathon was in May 2016, and I struggled to a 4:11 finish. Last year, I improved slightly with a 3:53, but didn’t enjoy the training or the race and limped to the finish. I ran at too high of an intensity in training and also suffered leg cramps late in the race.

    I started MAF training last summer, and ran a 3:25 at the DC Marathon in March of this year. On May 5th of this year, I ran the Pittsburgh Marathon under 3:11. At the end, I felt like I could continue running – a feeling I’ve never experienced prior to MAF training. MAF training is a sustainable and fun approach.

    It’s been fascinating to learn of the training strategies employed by you and some of the elite runners on your podcast, and I plan to continue to implement them in my own training. Thanks for creating this community, Floris!

    Josh

  • Nikki Eastwood says:

    Hi
    I recently completed the London Marathon and despite thinking I had trained better than for any precious marathon, I felt disappointed with my time and felt pretty ill at the end. My heart rate was really high throughtout (175 – 195) hence why I felt ill and feel I need to rethink my trsining. The MAF training ideas really interest me but wonder if just incorporating much slower runs (of further distance) would help initially)? My best pb for a marathon was two years ago at 3.28 but would love to improve this time. Any ideas would be very gratefully received.

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