It’s been at least a year since I have not focused on LHR training. Life happens, other activities seemed more fun and interesting to do, or life gets really busy overall. What I realized recently is that have I remained consistent on my LHR training, no matter what sport I do, I will be performing better than how I am performing now. I can say that even though I am involved in multiple sports, I find myself as out of shape or not in performance condition because of the effort that I have to put into each and every performance. When my heart rate increases significantly while on Zone 3, I know I am not being efficient when it comes to energy expenditure during a physical activity.
When we speak of LHR training, Maffetone Method comes up. One of the primary objectives of the Maffetone Method is to “train slow to get fast”. I will not do a lengthy discussion of the Maffetone Method, but you can read it from here, WANT SPEED? SLOW DOWN! : https://philmaffetone.com/want-speed-slow-down/
- Build a great aerobic base - foundation of good endurance
- Heart monitor can help significantly in tracking your progress during LHR training
- 3-6 months (or longer) to build a great aerobic base using the LHR training and before benefits can reach a normal plaeteau
- Not adding anaeorobic work to the plan before one reaches the plateu
- Use the 180 Formula to determine your Maximum Aerobic Heart Rate NOTE: This is different than Maximum Heart Rate or the highest limit of what one’s cardiovascular system can handle during physical activity
- Modification of your MAHR based on physical fitness categories provided by Maffetone
- Avoid excess mental, physical, chemical stress and increased release of cortisol (stress hormone)
- Monthly self-assessment during LHR training using HR monitor and 180 formula as references and guides of your progress
- Train slow, go low, get fast!
- It can be a frustrating process most especially for people wanting to get faster
With any training method, one must be flexible and mindful of one's physical fitness and performance goals when building a training plan. No training method is a be-all-end-all. Training plans must be personalized and tailored to fit a person and / or athlete's needs and goals.
For example, my weekly training would look like this:
- 2 days of training within Zone 2 and/or 3 with strength training and conditioning
- 1 day of training within Zone 4, 5, or 6
- 1 day of Zone 1 (active recovery)
- 1 day of Rest
- Zone 1: Active Recovery
- Zone 2: Endurance
- Zone 3: Tempo
- Zone 4: Lactate Threshold
- Zone 5: Super Threshold
- Zone 6: Maximal
This is important for me: A week before my performance day (race, etc.) I stay between Zone 2-3 and only do an activity within Zone 1 or active recovery 2 days prior performance day.
Notice that part of my week includes anaerobic work involving mental, physical, chemical stress. This is outside the Maffetone Method. It is important for our bodies to develop and adapt to anaerobic thresholds so we can perform when we need to perform. The key here is neuromuscular adaptation.
Myonuclei acquired by overload exercise precede hypertrophy and are not lost on detraining
Human Skeletal Muscle Possesses an Epigenetic Memory of Hypertrophy
How to play like a pro: The neuroscience of muscle memory
For my upcoming duathlon at the end of this month, I know that I am not even close to peformance condition. After all, I have not been training for it and have been very inconsistent with my training plan and load. However, I know that the experience would allow me to determine areas to work on as well as how I should be building my future training plan and load while preparing for interruptions (such as holidays, work, personal commitments, etc).
I am not advertising for Dr. Phil Maffetone's program(s) but it is something worth looking into and sharing.
Additional read: https://strengthrunning.com/2015/02/maffetone-method-and-base-training/
Rest like an Athlete