MAF training for Spartathlon

I first discovered MAF (Maximum Aerobic Function) also known as the Maffetone Method a few years ago. Created by Dr Phil Maffetone it advocates slowing down to improve your effectiveness in using the body’s stored fat as a fuel for endurance events. By running at a low heart rate (generally 180-age) your body is not forced to burn carbs as fuel. When I first tried this I found I couldn’t run quicker than 9:30 mins / mile without my HR going over 135. However after two months of almost exclusively running slow with a heart rate monitor, I was running at 7:45 mins / mile at the same 135 heart rate. Since then I have regular included month long blocks of training into my plan that focus on low HR. Only when I am aerobically fit do I start to add speed work and hill reps to build strength.

Phil Maffetone also writes a lot about diet. If you are training your body to be an efficient fuel burning engine, you also need to provide it with the right raw materials. I’ve always been a bit of a ‘foodie’, and I think I eat a good and well balanced diet, so in the past I have always skipped over diet recommendations.

4 mile MAF Test - 4th July

4 mile MAF Test – 4th July

However this year, with the thought of running 153 miles clearly in my mind, I have gone back and read some of the comments about nutrition, and decided to undertake the Two Week Test.

This is not a diet, but a test, to see how you react to different foods. It starts with a two week period where you eat zero sugar and no processed carbohydrates: no bread, pasta, rice. No starchy vegetables like potatoes or legumes. After the two weeks you can re-introduce these foods and see how they make you feel.

I’ll miss eating bread and pasta, and since I don’t suffer with random weight gain, bloating or any other GI issues, I’m not expecting to make too many long terms changes to my diet, but it will be an interesting experiment, and I’ll record my thoughts and findings here, along with a diary of what I have eaten.

One good thing – While a Gin & Tonic is banned because of the sugar in the tonic, a dry martini is fine!

Monday 4th July 2016

Breakfast: Omelette with cheddar cheese and red pepper

Lunch: Salad of mixed green leaves, blue cheese, left over rare roast beef, walnuts in a mustard dressing (home made with no sugar)

Dinner: Grilled lamb chops in a tandoori paste with a red onion and pepper curry.

Snacks: whole almonds

Tuesday 5th July

Breakfast: scrambled egg with smoked salmon and chives

Lunch: grilled chicken with green salad

Dinner: chicken breast stuffed with mozzarella and prosciutto with a raw courgette and fennel salad. Glass of Albariño.

Snack: olives and feta in olive oil

Wednesday 6th July

Breakfast: chia seeds soaked overnight in coconut milk.

Lunch: meze of aubergine, red cabbage and chicken salad

Dinner: smoked haddock on a bed of wilted greens with a poached egg. Glass of Sancerre

Ran twice today, before breakfast and again at lunchtime. Energy levels feel fine, but wanted some cake after my lunch.

Thursday 7th July

Breakfast:Ham and Fried eggs

Lunch: Sashimi

Dinner: BBQ – burger and salad

It was the company summer party today, so hard work to stay off the beer. However the white wine and then straight gin (Bathtub) helped. 

Friday 8th July

Breakfast: Spinach and cheese omelette

Lunch: Thai style prawn stir fry

Dinner: Homemade lamb burgers and aubergine parmigiana. Cheese and homemade sesame biscuits (no flour).

Despite the slight hangover, felt good today. No cravings or dips in energy, and I even managed a pre breakfast run.

Saturday 9th July

Breakfast: Fried egg, sausages, bacon, mushroom and tomatoes 

Lunch: Scotch egg, salad, cheese, olives

Dinner: Take away curry- Chicken Shaslik and Sag paneer. No rice or naan bread.

Sunday 10th July

Running the North Downs Marathon

Breakfast: spinach and bacon omelette 

Lunch: ham and cheese omelette and about a pint of tomato juice, plus a packet of peanuts

Dinner: BBQ burger, chicken kebab and sausages with various salads- squash, celeriac, fennel etc.

The marathon was always going to be a challenge as I was planning on taking only water during the race. I managed to finish without breaking into the emergency gel, but felt decidedly wobbly, so ate everything I could find in the golf club bar at the finish. So a rather odd selection for lunch!

2 responses to “MAF training for Spartathlon

  1. Pingback: North Downs Marathon | David in Royal Tunbridge Wells

  2. Pingback: Two week test part II | David in Royal Tunbridge Wells

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