This morning, I went to Legend High School in Parker, which is about a mile from my house, to run a MAF test. The track is at 6,200 feet--not exactly sea level. I wanted to get a precise handle on my aerobic fitness going into Leadville, because aerobic fitness is hugely important in ultras. First, the conditions:
- Temperature ranged from 68-72 degrees
- Abundant sunshine, making it fairly warm
- Breeze from the east, making me work a tad harder when running against it
My MAF zone is 136-146 beats per minute per the 180 Formula (I just turned 40 but this year I'm sticking to 136-146 and will go down to 135-145 per my age on 1/1/2014). In MAF tests, you run 4-5 miles (ideally on the same course so you can measure your progress) at your top MAF number. So, for me, that means I needed to run 4-5 miles at 146 beats per minute--the top end of my aerobic zone. Just to make things interesting, I decided to tack on an extra mile and make it six miles at MAF.
After an 11-minute warm-up via a jog from my house to the track, I got right into my MAF test. My splits were:
- Mile 1: 6:22
- Mile 2: 6:34
- Mile 3: 6:36
- Mile 4: 6:41
- Mile 5: 6:45
- Mile 6: 6:48
The 12-second difference between miles one and two probably indicates that I didn't allow myself enough of a warm-up. There shouldn't be that much drop off after mile one. Lesson learned. Next time I'll warm up for about three miles. Anyway, all of that comes out to an average MAF mile of 6:37. My effort level was fairly low, especially in terms of breathing (as it should have been). I then did a 26-minute cool-down, feeling good the whole way back home.
I'm fairly pleased with the results of today's MAF test.