MAF vs. Measured Metabolic Tests

  • Creator
  • #75716

    I am reading through Phil Maffetone’s “Big Book of ..”. I need your help to reconcile his MAF testing and and 180 formula vs actual cardio-metabolic tests.
    Undoubtedly, he has an excellent track record of training world class athletes in various endurance events like the Ironman. He claims his 180 formula is very accurate. The engineer in me thinks that this formula is arrived at through empirical data and therefore accuracy need not apply. My cardio-metabolic tests put my aerobic TH at 132 bpm; his 180 formula puts it at 120. What are your thoughts?


  • Participant
    bbarlin10 on #75728

    My MAF has me at 115 (age 65). My actual AeT after almost 3 years of work is 140 with my AnT at 155 so right at 10% delta. I would take the MAF and use it as a starting point. Obviously you are already beyond that, which is excellent. There is no absolute number, you want it to be as high as possible and you want it as close to your AnT as possible. If you have not already looked on this website, there are several articles and podcasts on this subject. It’s “all about the base”. Now just keep putting in the sub AeT hours/miles.

    Farzin on #75730

    Thanks. Those are my thoughts as well. I am just wondering if it’s better to train at a lower HR than AeT arrived at by testing.

    bbarlin10 on #75731

    As per the article you have the link to, the fitter you are the more polarized your training needs to be. It looks like you are fit enough to benefit. So make the easy days easy (low zone 2 or zone 1) so that you can make the hard days hard. I usually train about 7-10% below my AeT on easy days.

    Jane Mackay on #75769

    Farzin, the cardio-metabolic test is going to be more accurate than a one-size-fits-all formula, no matter how scientifically it was derived.

    If your AeT is within 10% of your AnT (anaerobic threshold), it is a good idea to keep the intensity lower: lower zone 2 and zone 1. Also, remember that the AeT is just an estimate. It’s the best estimate we have at this point for monitoring in-activity effort level, but it’s also going to vary from day to day, and it will change in a larger way over time — which is why we’re all doing this training, as you know!

    A skill that it’s valuable to develop is to sense what your body is telling you: when you’re out on an “aerobic run” or hike (i.e. one designed to increase your aerobic capacity), does the effort you’re expending feel comfortable; or does it feel like you’re pushing? If you’re pushing, then you’re probably going too hard in that moment.

    There are a couple of UA podcasts you might find helpful, or at least interesting to listen to:

    Phil Maffetone Talks Health, Training, and Aerobic Deficiency with Scott Johnston

    Fundamentals of Training for Mountaineering: Part 2 – Aerobic Threshold Testing

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