On Tuesday, I finally did my second MAF test. Ideally the test should be done every 4 weeks, but I somehow lost track of weeks, so I actually did them 6 weeks apart. The reason for doing the test? To measure any growth or positive changes in aerobic fitness. This would translate to seeing change in pace while still maintaining the same max HR. The best place to take the MAF test would be on a track, but I don’t have one easily accessible to me. I found a section of our road that is relatively flat. It has a slight grade to it, but I figured that by using the same section of road for all of my tests I was at least being consistent.
I purposefully did not look to see what my paces were on my first test. I didn’t want to have an number in my head while I ran and work to try and improve that pace with each mile. I wanted to be surprised. I warmed up with just shy of a mile walk. I started my test but my heart rate monitor was not cooperating. It was jumping from 120 to 180 even though I wasn’t clearly running that fast or at that kind of effort. I stopped and started walking, trying to adjust the band to try and get it to work correctly. I ended up with a mile warm-up after all the walking. I started again and the heart rate monitor was finally working properly! I ran as even as I could, keeping my HR at my max which is 145, for 3 miles.
As you can see, there was improvement!! It means my aerobic fitness is improving, my body is burning fat for fuel, and my paces are coming down even though my HR is staying the same. Over the course of the 3 miles, there’s a 40 second improvement and the good news is my body is doing more work without more effort. I’m pretty excited about the results. I am sticking with HR training until at least my April race, Flying Pirate. I’m planning to do my next test mid-March before Tobacco Road Marathon.
How do you measure your fitness improvement? Through speed work? Race PR’s?
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