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My 2 Hour MAF Test Experiment

By November 22, 2019 No Comments

A MAF test (Maximum Aerobic Function Test) is a great way to measure your current fitness level. It is also a good indication of aerobic progress (or no progress) over several weeks and months. So for example, are you able to run faster at the same heart rate now compared to last month.

In this video I cover:

  • What is a MAF test and why should runners perform a MAF test?
  • Why I MAF test for 2 hours on a track?
  • Gear I use on my 2 hour training run
  • The new Track Run feature on the COROS running watch
  • Lessons and takeaways for 80 laps on a running track

How to Perform a MAF Test?

In order to perform a MAF test, you will first need to find out your max aerobic function. There are several ways to do this, for example you can go to a medical lap and perform a lactate threshold test or you can use the 220 formula and calculate Zone 2. One way that I’ve seen work well for many athletes is by using The 180 Formula developed by Dr. Phil Maffetone.

In summary, you subtract your age from 180 and you adjust this with the correct fitness and health profile for you. You can read the exact details on Dr. Maffetone’s website and the updated version of this 180 formula here.

For example for me it’s 180 minus my age 37 = 143. I don’t have any modifications to this number so I will perform my MAF test at a heart rate of 143 beats per minute.

It’s recommended to perform a MAF test on a running track, to run on an even terrain, without elevation gain or loss and minimal wind impact.

On a regular MAF test, athletes typically warm up for 15 to 20 minutes, then you run (or walk) at your MAF HR number for 3 miles (5km) or 5 miles (8km). For athletes just getting into running, performing shorter MAF tests based on time is possible as well.

Typically you will notice a drop off on pace at the same HR as the test progresses. For example:

  • Mile 1 = 10:00 min / mile
  • Mile 2 = 10:25 min / mile
  • Mile 3 = 10:40 min / mile
  • Mile 4 = 10:57 min / mile
  • Mile 5 = 11:18 min / mile

The 2 Hour MAF test

I have been training mostly at MAF low heart rate for 7.5 years now, since early 2013. It has helped me improve very well and limit my injury risk significantly. Over time I have noticed that my drop off per mile has become very minimal (as long as temperatures are relative low).

The reason I now added 2 hour MAF tests is to get a better understanding of how my drop off per mile (or km) is in the later stages of a run, after 60 minutes, 90 minutes 120 minutes. I want to see how cardiac drift and fatigue levels impact my aerobic pace.

If you are aerobically well developed and you are able to use your body fat well for energy source, you should experience a relative small drop off per mile.

In today’s video I share a closer look into my 2 hour MAF tests and how I execute these. I’m also sharing my first experiment with the COROS watch Track Run settings, which allows you to set which lane number you run in. I wanted to run on the track for 80 laps to test the accuracy of this setting.

Gear I’m using and links mentioned in this video:

You can find me, Floris Gierman here: 

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