Mountain Biking on Maffetone
More success thanks to the Maffetone Method. I went on a beautiful spring mountain bike ride on a route I haven’t ridden since September. I did a similar route two weeks ago that came shorter than I wanted, so I added another couple of trails to make a bigger loop. I wanted about two or two and a half hours, and I got just short of two. As I rode, it dawned on me that this ride took me more like 2h15 in the fall. When I double checked my training log from last season, sho ’nuff, I was almost 20 min faster than I was near the end of last season. This Maffetone stuff really works! The best part was when I attacked a climb that last fall I could not ride aerobically, within my MAF. This time I rode the whole steep fire road at MAF in the granny gear. It is true that I have added five beats per minute to my MAF, and I did briefly stop twice to allow my heart rate to recover a bit. But in September there was no chance. I was pushing.
Maffetone Method Advantages:
Lower stress overall and workouts that feel good
Maffetone writes that you should feel good after training, good enough that you would do it again. This gentle approach is what is necessary to fully develop the aerobic system. I find this to be true. My workouts help me deal with life stress, rather than add to it.
More training consistency
Because I don’t get so beat up training, I train every day. Once every 7-10 days I take a recovery day. I feel a bit worn down, and that one day off feels really good. The day after, I’m rarin’ to go. I think that during the school year I will have to all, or almost all of my training aerobically. It appears to be the only way I can train consistently, and consistency trumps everything.
I get faster by going slower!
It doesn’t make sense, but it’s true. Week by week I get faster, and I don’t have to try very hard. Although I still haven’t raced enough to see how that translates into performance at race intensity, indications are that I should race faster too.
So while I’m beginning to fidget a little and wanting to try some anaerobic workouts to get faster, I think I’ll put those off till summer. I’ll just focus on putting together some of the missing pieces, like more swimming and strength training.
Finding the proper aerobic/anaerobic balance is a tricky thing. For me it appears that very little anaerobic work is right. I feel good, so I’m having more fun this way. When I mentioned this to triathlon coach Muddy Waters, he just smiled and said, “You just said the magic words!”
So go outside and play today, just to feel good.