Maffetone’s 180 rule



Dr. Phil Maffetone is famous for introducing the ‘180 rule.’ His philosophy focuses on your heart rate and staying in an aerobic (fat-burning) state for your workout. (180-Age) gives you your target heart rate zone for maintaining an aerobic exercise. Of course when jumping in a higher heart rate zone you switch to anaerobic and begin to burn muscle. His famous training article ‘Want speed? Slow down!’ is fundamentally different from what any athlete would expect when seeking to run faster. When the novice thinks he must run faster he doesn’t immediately think of building miles and heart rate zones but usually gravitates toward thinking he needs to spend a lot of time on a track somewhere. Although speed training is still important the running philosophy suggested by Dr. Maffetone suggests focusing on diet and spending most training runs following the ‘180 rule.’ Of course when you begin to get into shape you find that you can run at faster splits within a lower heart rate zone. It’s amazing how the body adapts to training and prepares for a longer race.

Today on a training run I decided to put the 180 rule to practice. I noticed immediately that I had been jogging too slow. After my warmup I increased the speed to 7.5. I noticed after 2 miles that I had to lower the speed to 7.3-7.1 and then finally to 6.9 to stay within the 180 rule throughout my 4 mile run. I’m interested to see how slow I will have to train running up hills to maintain this heart rate with hill repeats and anaerobic workouts on the track.

Another suggestion by Maffeton is taking a MAF Test once a month to measure your aerobic progress. I hope to implement this on my first track workout this weekend.

This week I began looking for a running club to acquire more knowledge about running and pick up tips from other runners. After all you don’t learn everything by yourself. I got on the New York Road Runners website and found a club within a bike ride from my apartment. Witold Bialokur started his running club in 1983 and had many great years in the 80s with many famous runners. He recently ran a 7 min mile at 81! It should be a fun time on the weekends with this crew and learning from those around me.

Training is on!


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