Run Session

Friday Fartlek Run: MAF Test

This session is a great way to assess your Maximal Aerobic Function and how efficient you are.

The MAF Test can be accredited to Phil Maffetone who coached Mark Allen who won the Hawaii Ironman six times. Although I don’t prescribe his 180 Formula, I still use the concept of monitoring the consistency of your pace whilst running at a heart rate (HR) in your aerobic zone. To get the benefit of this test you should do the test regularly (every 4-6 weeks) and record your results.

Each week I will be posting the Friday Fartlek Run Sessions that you can do to enhance your running. Fartlek is a Swedish term that runners often use and it means speed-play. See a previous post about training intensity (levels) to know how hard to work.

MAF Test

  • 10min Warm Up Level II;
  • Run 3 Miles at Level II;
  • 10min Cool Down Level I-II;
  • 10min Stretching

Prior to doing this test, you need to determine what your aerobic HR is. You can use Phil Maffetone 180 Formula or you can use any other way to determine your aerobic HR zone. If you work with me, I’ll set the upper limit of your Endurance HR Zone.

The warm-up should be done at an intensity that is steady but not overconsuming at Level II for ten minutes. This session can be done either on the road, trail, or track.

Run three miles without exceeding your maximum aerobic heart rate. Record your mile splits and keep a record of them.

The Cool Down is at a low intensity, jogging for a minimum of 10 minutes.

Finish with 10 minutes of stretching to assist with the recovery.

Now that you’ve got your results you can do two things:

  1. You can compare your last mile to your first mile. The closer your last mile is to the first mile time-wise, the greater your consistency and ability to continue running at that pace well past the 3-mile mark.
  2. You can compare your split times to previous times you have done the test. As your efficiency improves so too will your times. This will indicate that you are burning more fat as the efficiency of your aerobic energy system has been enhanced.

Here is my Strava file from when I did the MAF test:

For more information about training like this get hold of Dr. Maffatone’s book, The Endurance Handbook: How to Achieve Athletic Potential, Stay Healthy, and Get the Most Out of Your Body.

If you would like further advice feel free to contact me.

I am the Head Coach & Director of Qwik Kiwi – Endurance Sports Consultant.

I specialise in assisting first-timers and recreational athletes to achieve their sporting goals. I can be contacted at and 021 348 729.

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Download the Garmin (.FIT) files for this workout for FREE

If you enjoyed this workout, here is a similar session I published 6 months ago.

Friday Fartlek Run: 400’s

For more great workouts see Coach Ray’s eBook: ‘Top 10 Workouts from Coach Ray – The Ten Most Popular Training Sessions from”.  Use the workouts within the eBook to enhance your fitness.

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