A few questions about the Maffetone Method have come up. My own reflections, probably due for an update, are under the training tab up top. There are links to great articles that will explain it better than I can. Maffetone’s website has a split personality, half of it being devoted to music, so it can be a bit tricky to navigate. Recently he was interviewed at Trail Runner Nation, and the podcast is an excellent introduction to his ideas about training. Well worth a listen. I do not agree with his nutritional approach, but his exercise method and insights about stress and lifestyle are solid.
Maffetone insists that everyone do at least three months of base training where they strictly follow his 180 formula for a maximum aerobic heart rate. Most people should do it for longer. This means training slowly, and walking if you need to. Eventually the speed will come, but only if you stay honest and disciplined.
The aerobic metabolism is responsible for almost all energy in races over fifteen minutes. So unless you race exclusively on the track in short events, the aerobic system is the one to focus on in training.
One of the best long course triathletes ever, used this method to great effect. When he started, his MAF pace was well over 8 minutes per mile. He later got down to a 5:10 pace at the same low heart rate. He did all his base training at the strict MAF heart rate. If it worked for the Grip, I figured it would work for me.
Low heart rate training is less stressful on the body and much easier to recover from. It feels good, and it makes consistent training easier to achieve.
Train slow, train well, and race fast!