Day 2 of Heart-Rate Training – Frustrating

This was only day 2 of my dive into experimenting with heart rate training and I will be honest, it is harder on me mentally than it is physically. I guess it is an ego thing and even being an old fart, I still have one.

Okay Harold get over it.

Suck it up and get the MAF book to learn more about what heart-rate training is all about. Yes, I have read snippets, articles, and looked at YouTube videos, but I need to get a little more in depth. I know how to compute my heart rate and that stuff, but still haven’t gotten it through my noggin how this actually is going to make me a better runner. Running slower on my rest days is good, but going slower for an extended period of time is counter-intuitive to the way that I think about running.

I figured that my max heart-rate per the MAF method would be 135 bpm and since I couldn’t do the test on the track as recommended. So yesterday I did 4.0 miles and tried to maintain that heart-rate. I started out at 6.5 mph and ended up running at 5.9 mph to stay under the 138 bpm that I needed to average 135 bpm.

Which gave me a decent baseline to figure out about what speed I needed to start to see if I could maintain under 135 bpm for the entire 4.0 miles.

6.0 mph

That is where I started 6.0 mph and kept it there for 3.8 miles without any problems. At around 3.5 miles my heart-rate started to creep up over the 135 bpm and then would bounce back down again. It stopped bouncing around at the 3.8 mile point and I decreased the speed down to 5.9 mph, but that didn’t decrease the heart-rate and I was starting to get to 140 bpm. So I slowed down to 5.7 mph and the heart-rate came back down to 135 bpm.

My average heart-rate was 130 bpm, with a 144 maximum h/r.

I finished the 4.0 miles, but I really, really wasn’t done running and I decided to run a couple more miles, only I wasn’t going to “bother” with running by heart-rate, well other than to see what it was.

So I bumped the speed up to 7.6, around sub 8:00 pace and took off. Yeah, the heart-rate took off as well. I felt good and yes, the last mile was pretty tough, but I finished and then did a .25 cool-down walk. My average heart-rate for this run was 158 bpm – kind of at the top end of things for someone my age – if you listen to the experts. Which I guess I gotta start doing a better job of.

Overall, it was a good workout, but I am finding the MAF or heart-rate training method just a bit frustrating. It is not easy to run at that slow of a speed, it just doesn’t feel efficient for me. I will this heart-rate training thing more of a chance, but I ain’t getting the warm and fuzzies doing this kind of running – no matter how many other runners swear by it.

Maybe I just have to keep doing it for a while.

However, like some other things that are good for you, the learning curve is taking the joy out of something that I love to do.

Patience grasshopper. 😉


  1. It’s tough to run slower than you can or want to. I’ve been trying this for half marathons. I end up running negative splits and happy with my finish times.
    We can’t always run on 11.
    Give it some time.


    • I always get frustrated by something new and I am struggling getting my head wrapped around the “good” part of this kind of training. It is good to know that you are having success with this method 🙂 Running on 11 is fun – well sometimes hehehhee I will give it some time, but just frustrated with my initial introduction to it 😉


  2. I know exactly how you feel. I’ve changed my mind set and don’t let what I can’t achieve bother me (for the moment) but I know wjen I’m ready I’ll come back around and tackle it again. Stressing myself takes the joy out of running and currently I’m running happy again and even love hill work, something I hated before 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    • For me I have to change some of things that I do. I can’t just keep beating my head against the wall – that just hurts too much 😉 I will get through the ego part of MAF training and get a good base in this winter and see where I am then. 🙂


  3. Mafftone admits that his formula is not for aging runners. I think you’d be better served by using Tanaka’s formula for HRmax (207-0.67*age) and the Heart-Rate Reserve method for training windows. You’ll need to know your resting HR, which is best measured as soon as you wake up.

    That being said, you will build capillary density running in the aerobic window or lower, and your times will get faster with less HR effort. Running above the aerobic window shuts down capillary density development — all of these things are in Mafftone’s book as well as Dicharry’s book. It takes time, probably 3-4 months for you, but you will be running faster with less effort. It does work, and I know from personal experience.


    • I hadn’t heard of Tanaka’s formula before it sounds interesting. According to that one my MAX h/r would be 166 bpm. My resting heart rate when I am not sick is about 48-49 bpm. I will research this a little more. I am planning on getting Maffetone’s book and I have time to experiment this winter 🙂 Sounds like the experiment of one will get some more new trials hehehee. Thanks Mark.


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