Moment of Truth: M.A.F. Test #1
Three weeks ago I dreaded this day: the first Maximum Aerobic Function test of the 2012 triathlon season. It is a full month over due, having been derailed by pneumonia. The original plan was to start the season right after New Year’s with a M.A.F. test to assess current fitness then start building my aerobic base along with all the other New Years resolvers. Then my lungs were invaded by the virus from hell, and I lay in bed checking on my 110 BPM resting heart rate.
When I felt better and started to exercise again three weeks ago, I could barely pedal my bike, and I couldn’t run under my heart rate ceiling, or MAF. And running is how I test myself. I had no idea when I would be strong enough to even test myself to see how slow I’d become.
But I was encouraged by every single day I went out to exercise, because each day I felt stronger than the previous session. It was amazing that I was running slowly in no time at all, without walk breaks to lower my heart rate. I can now control my heart rate by varying my running pace.
So today was the big test. How slow am I compared to last season?
Neither my hopes nor my fears were confirmed.
I hoped to go under thirteen minutes for my average, but it didn’t happen.
I feared that I would have some horrible shuffling fifteen minute pace, but that didn’t happen either.
What I got was 13:27/mi. average.
I am quite pleased with this.
To put into perspective, my best last season was about eleven minutes a mile. My first MAF test in mid July, I went twelve minutes, and that was after three months of Maffetone style training. I don’t have a time from this time last year to compare to, but I suspect it would be similar. Not bad for someone who spent much of the last month in bed.
I am so excited for this season, if I can get progress like this! I still have almost two months of pure base training before my first race whee I can make a lot of aerobic gains. I know the rate of progress will slow down, but as long as I can get out the door every day and pedal my bike or run, I’ll put it in the “W” column.