MAF Experiment-Final Update

MAF Update:

I am two races into the summer and I thought I should wrap up my MAF experiment with a final update.  Waiting for two races allowed me to see if there were patterns in performance, and there are!  I have increased my personal bests at each race, one by 2:00 and one by 1:30.  Based on those results, I consider my year-long venture into MAF training to be a success.  I will definitely keep some form of MAF training in my offseason work to continue to improve my base training.  To have been racing triathlons for more than ten years and get faster as I get older says something about the effectiveness of this type of training.

I have been adding more speed work in as I ramped up for racing and during the training time between races.  During the strict MAF training time, I was amazed at how fresh I felt despite the volume.  Now that I have added more speed work in, I have noticed a bit more soreness creeping in.  My hips have required more attention to stay loose.  The soreness is not an injury, just a result of the intensity.

Typical week’s work during summer block of training:

Tuesday- Tempo run

Wednesday- Interval bike

Weekends (rotated with two runs and one bike, or two bikes and one run)

Friday and Saturday- One hour MAF run or bike (1- minute hill repeats off the bike)

Sunday- Interval bike or track workout

Nutrition Highlight:

There are a lot of energy gels out there that people use during races.  I have posted before about how I prefer to use my own products because I know what I am putting in my body.   For the past number of years, I have made my own gels (see recipe below), and this year I threw in a Medjool date with each gel.  I take my gels at different parts of the bike course, usually finishing the last one with a couple miles to go before the run.

To make my gels, I start with a liquid travel container purchased from Target.  I make enough coffee to fill the two containers I will use for the race.  In a glass container, I mix the coffee with a tablespoon of honey, a tablespoon of molasses, and some salt.  In each travel container, I put in ½ tablespoon of chia seeds.  I add the coffee mixture to the travel containers and shake to mix the chia seeds.  They will clump if not mixed well, so I shake them every few minutes for a little while after making.  I usually make the gels the day before to give the chia seeds time to make a gel.  For the race, I put a container, and a date, in a small Ziploc baggie.  They are easy to throw into the back pouches on my race top.

Workout Highlight:

I have mentioned it in a highlight before, but it is worth repeating that adding a Garmin watch this year has been wonderful.  It is great to be able to program a workout on my phone app or online and have it pushed to my watch.  During the workout, the watch will tell me if I am in the zone I want to hit or not.  It buzzes my when I reach my distance or time, and when my rest period is finished.  This makes the workouts so much easier than when I would write them on my hand in pen before I went out (Yes, I did do that!).

Wisdom of the Week:

Play the long game, or “patience is a virtue.”

I used to take September through November off from structured training.  To do this MAF thing properly, I decided to start a run block right after my last race at the beginning of September.  Everything about this MAF experiment has been about “the long game.”  I used to do the “time crunched” thing.  That was all about shorter, high intensity work to build fitness.  While that did work just fine, I hit a point where that work was taking a toll on my body.  This year-long process has required patience on my part.  Results were not immediate.  I was not completely gassed after sessions like I was with the intervals.  Seeing the race results, I can see that trusting the process and having patience has paid off.

That’s just a bit of my experience.

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