M.A.F. Test #2
So today I tried my second Maximum Aerobic Function Test on the track. I have been lagging behind on this since summer vacation and mountain biking always seemed to interfere. So while Maffetone advises testing every four weeks and I thought that every three weeks would be even better, this time it’s closer to six weeks. Oh well. I have gotten feedback that shows my aerobic function has improved even without cold hard numbers. I tackled a local ride that mixes pavement and trail on my mountain bike, and while the ride took me two and a half hours earlier in the summer, now I can complete in less that 2:15. All at the same low heart rate, <141 BPM. My usual training run has also become faster and easier. It is probable that some of that improvement is from a higher hematocrit after spending so much time at altitude this summer, but at least some of it must be improved fitness.
But I wanted numbers from the track, so off I went. As before, I walked to the track for about 5-10 minutes to start my warmup, then when I arrived I ran an easy 800m with my heart rate in the 120s. My training range is from 131-141, and the 120s are as low as I can go and actually run. Then I ran a series of three one mile repeats, stopping for a few seconds between each to note the time. Then I walked home.
Conditions were different this time. Afternoon, warm, windy. A significant headwind on the back straight. I wore different shoes this time. I wore my lighter, more minimal Adidas Omm shoes. I don’t think the shoes affected anything, but the wind and later time may have.
Mile 1: 10:35
Mile 2: 11:07
Mile 3: 11:45
Average pace: 11:09
Improvement: 45 seconds per mile.
I have mixed feeleings about this result. It is a clear improvement and validation of the training I have been doing, but I thought I would have done better based on subjective measurements of other training efforts. But as Maffetone regularly reminds us, training stress is closely connected to other life stress, and this is the start of the school year, a vrey stressful time for me. But my HRV and RHR values have been good. It could be that last week I skipped cycling in favor of running and my feet have been tired. It could also be that I am just over anxious for improvement and need to realx and be patient. In the end, that is what I will take away from it. This program works, I have seen objective improvement in racing and on the track. I have also experienced the subjective improvement in regular training routes. But by far the most important benefit is that I truly enjoy every workout. Every run and ride feels great. So great that as the good doctor says, I wouldn’t mind going out and doing it all over again. How often do you feel that way after training?