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How to Improve Your Running using MAF Training, with Jonathan Walton

By March 22, 2019May 20th, 20232 Comments
Maffetone running with Jonathan Walter

MAF Training can improve endurance athletes of all levels, from beginners to advanced. Jonathan Walton is one of the fastest runners I’ve come across who has improved significantly over the past 4 years in his running and marathon performance, using low heart rate training.

He used to train all his runs fast around 6:30 – 7 min / mile (4:02 – 4:21 min / km). When he discovered MAF training, he had to slow down to a 9:30 min / mile (5:54 min / km). Although it was tough to run 3 minutes a mile slower at first, he was patient and improved significantly. Currently he runs 5:55 min / miles (3:41 min / km) at a low heart rate of 135 beats a minute! At age 49, he recently ran a 2:30 marathon and he has several big goals to break this soon.

I thought I had a good amount of experience with MAF training, however Jonathan is on another level with his deep knowledge on low heart rate training, nutrition, improving marathon performances and more. He shares a lot of great feedback and tips for athletes looking to improve their performance.

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This podcast is brought to you by PATH projects. This is by far my favorite running clothing. The shorts, baseliners, shirts and hats are made from the highest quality materials. The great thing is, you can wear it outside of running as well, no big logos, no bright colors, just clean minimalist designs. You can check it out at PATHprojects.com and you might even find me in some of the photos 🙂

Question of the day, what was one of your key takeaways from this conversation. Please let me know in the comments!


Jonathan Walton on Strava and Facebook.

  • How the running journey started [2:55]
  • Jonathan’s first marathon experience and his struggles around mile 20 [4:05]
  • How the Maffetone method helped improve Jonathan’s endurance [5:15]
  • How Jonathan ran his first 100k and won it [6:15]
  • Jonathan’s training before and after MAF training [6:45]
  • What Jonathan would do to overcome a plateau in MAF training with speedwork [8:55]
  • Jonathan’s calculation with the MAF 180 formula [11:10]
  • Record keeping to see your progress and how you felt with low heart rate training [11:55]
  • Running different terrains, flat, off-road, track and hills [12:25]
  • Jonathan’s marathon improvements after starting low heart rate training [14:40]   
  • The benefits of high mileage training [15:35]
  • How does Jonathan combine a full time job and running 100+ miles per week / 2 hours a day [16:25]
  • Jonathan runs many miles at 15 to 20 beats below MAF [16:55]
  • Every Sunday Jonathan mimics race day, covering almost 24 miles in about 2.5 hours [17:55]
  • Benefiting significantly from running below MAF, after you have a solid aerobic base [19:25]
  • With low heart rate training, the recovery is much faster because your body becomes very strong [20:30]
  • Jonathan’s warm up and cool down with dynamic stretches, leg swings, side swings, squads and lunches. [21:05]
  • His post run drink after every run [22:35]
  • Jonathan’s thoughts on nutrition, what works and what doesn’t work [22:50]  
  • Not drinking any caffeine to keep the heart rate low [24:28]
  • Taking in more carbs and protein during harder training sessions and races [25:15]  
  • Jonathan’s pre-race nutritional strategy [27:20] 
  • His nutritional strategy during the race [29:00]    
  • His PR of 2:30 at the Yorkshire Marathon in the UK [29:40]
  • Jonathan’s pace strategy, running by feel  [30:10]
  • London Marathon goal of breaking 2 hours 30, plus breaking 2:30 in October at age 50, breaking British record under 2:25 [31:05]
  • What Jonathan has changed in his latest training cycles to improve his race time [32:10]
  • How Jonathan will be working on his Lactate Threshold in the coming weeks with longer hills and 800 intervals x 15 or 6 x 2 miles [33:25]
  • Heart rate strategy for the longer runs [35:35]   
  • MAF HR strategy for race vs racing by feel [35:55]
  • Strength training with 25 kg bag, 3 sets of 10 squads and lunges + core strength [36:25]
  • Running uphill and downhill to strengthen and stretch your muscles [37:25] 
  • Trying to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep [39:15]
  • How Jonathan gets through tough spots in a race, importance of race experience [39:55]
  • How to become a stronger, healthier and happier athlete with MAF training [41:45]
  • Importance of setting achievable small goals. [42:55]
  • Jonathan doesn’t take any step back weeks, maintaining high level mileage [44:05]
  • Jonathan tracks all his runs on Strava and posts races on Facebook. [45:40]

3 Minute Summary & Recommendations on MAF Training:

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  • Orlando says:

    Thanks for this awesome podcast… this guy its something else. Learn a lot from this podcast.

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