I’ve (finally) made some decisions about running. I had to – the longer I let my uncertainty fester, the quicker I felt my motivation slipping away. And let’s just say that I don’t exactly have a whole lot of motivation to spare.
So here’s what I’ve decided:
1. As of right now, I have not signed up for my local 2015-2016 Galloway Training Program, and I’m not using run-walk intervals on any of my runs.
2. I’m not going to set any race goals right now. I am running Rock’n’Roll Savannah in November but my plan is just to run it with friends for fun. I hope that I’ll be able to run the half marathon, but if not I can always run the 5K.
3. For the next 6-8 weeks, I’m going to focus exclusively on building my aerobic base via the Maffetone Method. At the end of that time period, I’ll evaluate my progress and make decisions about going forward.
The 180 Formula & Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF) Test
So how will this work?
First, I determined my maximum aerobic heart rate using Dr. Phil Maffetone’s 180 Formula. According to the formula, my aerobic training heart rate should stay between 125-135, with a maximum of 135.
Next, I performed a Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF) Test. Essentially, this is my baseline with which I will use to measure my progress. These are my results from my first test:
(following a 15 minute warm up)
Mile 1: 14:39
Mile 2: 14:58
I’ll check back in about a month to see how much (if any) progress I’ve made.
My Training Plan
Unfortunately, Dr. Maffetone doesn’t make it quite as easy to create a training plan as some of the other running gurus out there. You know how if you Google “marathon training plan,” you’ll find dozens of options based on your goals, time frame, and experience? Dr. Maffetone doesn’t have that. His approach is holistic and very individualized.
One option is to work with a running coach, which I’m considering. For now, I’m going to keep it very simple:
4 x week – 1 hour run (15 minute warm up, 30 minute run, 15 minute cool down)
2 x week – cross-training (probably walking or light yoga?)
1 x week – rest
I’m still working on my plan – I guess I’ll adjust it as I move forward. I may extend one of my weekly runs to 75 minutes, but I’m not sure yet.
Why the change from Galloway?
First, I should mention that even though I’m not using timed run-walk intervals, I’m doing a LOT of walking – probably more walking than when I use Galloway training. It’s very difficult to maintain a heart rate of 135 while running – at least, it’s very difficult for ME. As a point of reference, I went for a 3 mile walk with my friend Sara yesterday. We maintained a brisk pace, but we weren’t “speed walking,” and we didn’t run at all. Yet my average heart rate was around 119 bpm.
So why the switch? I love Galloway training, and I wouldn’t have been able to finish 2 full marathons and a whole bunch of half marathons without it. But at the same time, I don’t feel that I’ve been able to fully tap into my potential with it.
Here’s what I mean. At my current level of physical fitness, I can run an 8:03 mile (Magic Mile). Here are the results when I plug my time into Jeff Galloway’s Magic Mile Calculator:
According to these numbers, I should be able to run a 2:06 half marathon. And yet here are my actual half marathon times (not counting virtual runs or the Jerusalem Marathon, which was an outlier):
10/6/12 – Marine Corps Half Marathon – 2:35:36
11/22/12 – Subaru Distance Classic – 2:36:20
10/5/13 – Marine Corps Half Marathon – 2:32:34
3/30/14 – Tour de Pain Extreme – 2:27:53
1/17/15 – ZOOMA Florida – 2:31:35
2/15/15 – 26.2 with Donna Half Marathon – 2:26:21
While there is a 10 minute improvement from my slowest time to my fastest, my PR is still a full 20 minutes slower than what Jeff Galloway predicts it should be. Something isn’t adding up.
Now, before you say anything, I fully admit that at times I’ve been sloppy with my mid-week training and speed work. Some of my running friends have been tremendously successful with this program and have achieved PRs that I can only dream about.
When I don’t stick with the schedule, I don’t make progress. BUT. When I don’t make progress, I’m not motivated to stick with the schedule. See where I’m going here?
I’ve plateaued. And as a general rule of thumb, when you reach a plateau, it’s time to try something different. So that’s what I’m doing by switching to the Maffetone Method.
If you want to follow along, I’m trying to track my daily progress on Instagram. I’ll report on my progress here as well.
I’m always open to your feedback & suggestions, so if I’ve missed something here, please let me know! I’m figuring this out as I go. Thanks for your support!