M.A.F. Meltdown

I was worried about my last MAF test on Oct. 4 since it indicated a plateau. I decided to retest a little earlier than usual. I wasn’t expecting anything major since I had some encouraging signs on my long runs. I’ve run steadily longer, increasing from 90 min. to 2h15, and thought I was getting stronger at lower heart rates. But I ignored another sign which is my morning HRV test. My score has been worsening as a longer trend from September.

But when the rubber met the track, the results were a disaster. I regressed significantly. From a MAF pace of 11:03 I regressed to 11:50, almost erasing my aerobic fitness gains of the last two months.

How can this be?

1. Work stress

The last MAF test hinted at it. Now I know for sure. Too many workshops and chaotic schedules.

2. Sleep quality

Related to stress, my sleep is not as effective as it was during the summer.

3. Diet

While I have lost a little weight, there have been some cheat days with restaurant food and beer.

4. Missed workouts

Just this last month, workshops, weather, and other issues have interupted workouts. I missed a lot, but it might be enough.

In addition to these causes, another symptom that Maffetone cautions us to watch against is injury. My last two long runs have left me with IT soreness. It’s bad at the end of the run, but goes away within a day. Maffetone feels that any injury or illness is a significant sign of imbalance that needs to investigated and addressed.

What way forward?

Sleep more, sleep better. No more blogging in front of a bright screen before bed!

No more rich food (until Thanksgiving)

Stress reduction
I will experiment with Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. The HRV scores and MAF test results indicate an overactive sympathetic nervous system. This can lead to over-training or burnout.

Retest Soon
Next week? I don’t think that is too soon.


About vegpedlr

Plant powered off-road triathlete

Posted on October 27, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. After recently suffering through my 4th bout of overtraining over the years, your comment at the end makes me think resuming my meditation practice might be beneficial in more ways than I have been thinking. I went through a mindfulness-based meditation course several years ago as part of a grad student’s study and it did help work stress and sleep. It looks like it’s time to take it up again. I haven’t seen the book you linked but the course I took was based on Kabat-Zin’s work.

  2. Thanks for stopping by. Unfortuantely, I’m quite familiar with overtraining. Using Maffetone’s methods of keeping workouts strictly aerobic helps, but overall stress is what matters. It doesn’t matter where the stress comes from, exercise, work, family etc. To the body it’s all the same. The book I’m using is based on Kabat-Zinn’s work, but in a workbook format. I’m hoping that the stress reduction will help recovery both from training and writing.

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