Experimenting With Maffetone

With sudden deaths of runners during race events early this year, the use of a heart rate monitor and the Maffetone method was a talk amongst some of my runner friends. Enough to give me a scare and since I didn’t quite enjoy speed anymore, I decided to give Maffetone a try.

What exactly is Maffetone?

I’m no expert with Maffetone and don’t follow it to the tee. I don’t do their diets or yoga. The only thing I do follow is their 180 formula.  It’s basically trying not to go beyond your maximum calculated heart rate. I try to do my LSDs following it or some portions of my maintenance runs.

It wasn’t easy in the beginning. Ask anyone who has ever tried it and they’d all tell you the same thing… nakakainip!  When I started trying to run without going over the 143bpm that was recommended for me, I was running jogging,  walking… um, walking r-e-a-l-l-y slow at almost 12mins/km. It was really frustrating! I mean, how would I ever finish a race early at that pace? It was slower even than my ultra pace!
My usual 1 hour or so 10k runs became 1 1/2 hours. My runs became longer than usual, but after each run, I’d be fine. I wouldn’t be as tired. I think Maffetone has taught me to be really patient and has added length to my endurance.

As the months passed by, my pace began to pick up to 8:30/km but wasn’t fast enough yet. It wasn’t race pace yet. I wasn’t really sure if Maffetone was helping at all.

* * * * * * * *

I had a hard time with my last marathon which was the Condura Skyway Marathon. I remember being in a zombie mode early on counting the lines on the road just to distract myself wishing it’d soon be over. Yes, it was that bad. 😦
After the run, all I could tell my runner friends was how hard it was (to think it was my 2nd time to do CSM). The days after, my body was sore.

This was probably the reason why I was nervous running the Laguna Marathon. I was scared history would repeat itself.

Surprise! Surprise! It didn’t. 🙂

After the Laguna Marathon, I instead noticed how I wasn’t THAT tired from the race. My legs and back ached for like 15-20 minutes after the race, but after some stretching and rest, it was back to normal. This is why I had to dig out my data and was surprised with the comparison of the 2 marathons.


Laguna Marathon had a higher elevation.



My average and maximum heart rate was lower during the Laguna Marathon. I know it’s still far from my 143bpm, but still!



I was in Zone 4 more than Zone 5 in Laguna Marathon as compared to CSM which was the opposite.

CSM gave me a “push to the limit” kind of race. I had my heart working harder and ended with a chiptime of 4:50:35 plus DOMs after.
LM on the other hand gave me an easier run with lower heart rate and I finished with a guntime of 4:44 with no bodyaches after.

See the difference?

Why push yourself so hard and make your run miserable when enjoying the run at an easier, less painful and faster way is actually possible?

I guess Maffetone is slowly starting to work its wonders. 🙂


* Thanks JN for introducing me to this.



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