Not so long ago I gave up on radio and started listening to some running podcasts during my daily commute. One of those podcasts is Talk Ultra, hosted by Ian Corless. In Episode 81 - Murphy Polyakova Zahab Laithwaite Marc Laithwaite talks about the Maffetone training method.

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I’m always interested in new training methods and I wanted to share this one with you.

Building an aerobic base

To build aerobic base athletes will generally do long and slow distance to gain specific benefits. Those benefits are:

  1. Conditioning
  2. Metabolic Adaptation

But how do you define your aerobic zone. One of the most used formulas is the Karvonen formula

# Karvonen formula
220 - age = maximum heart rate

Based on your maximum heart rate you can define your zones. The Maffetone formula is similar like the Karvonen formula.

What’s the Maffetone formula?

# Maffetone formula
(180 - your age) = x BPM

x stands for your maximum heart rate for your aerobic base.

The formula is meant as a tool for runners who don’t have access to personal trainers and vo2-max tests or other advanced metrics and tools.

Not a lot of people are fans of methods based on calculations with numbers from statistics because we’re all unique. In the article at they explain everythig very well why this is a good formula. E.g. there are exceptions and extras you have to take in consideration when you were injured in the last year or when you weren’t. And Laithwaite also says that when you know your exact aerobic zone (e.g. after taking a VO2-max test) you should use that number and not use the Maffetone formula.

There’s more …

That article is actually the first in a series of articles by Marc Laithwaite for This is the full list (for now) of articles.

Here’s an older post (not part of the series) on Paleo, Maffetone & the Method

One more thing.

Here’s a list of my favorite ultra/trail/… running podcasts.