Holding High HR/Speed Question | 80/20 Endurance

Holding High HR/Speed Question

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    My A-race is the NYC Marathon this year (11/7) I’m looking to break 3 hours for the first time. I’ve completed a TON of MAF training over the years and my MAF range is 145-153 (I’m 34) which is typically in the mid 7min pace range or there abouts – which is similar to my 80/20 talk test pace as well. I find it hard holding race-pace, or race-pace -20 seconds for an extended period of time however. For example at around 6:30 pace, my HR will be around 158-162bpm depending on conditions, but I can typically only hold that for 20-25 minutes throughout a progression run, or throughout a series of drills (2x 20mins w/5mins Z2 recovery for example). I actually find it hard to get my HR above 165. Do I need to work on the mental side of racing? Have I overtrained MAF?? Any favorite drills to improve that ability to hold these higher-end paces come race season??

    I’m using 80/20 advanced program and absolutely love it and have recommended it to several friends. Thank you guys!!


    I’m sure that one of the experts will chime in on this. But if possible, I might suggest training by power or pace. Or at least doing the 30 minute best effort run to determine your LTHR.

    With MAF being based on a generic formula, it could be off depending on the individual. For me, MAF is way off. For example, my average heart rate for my last marathon was MAF + 32 and this wasn’t even difficult until the last 3-4 miles, though I never had to slow down. So oven MAF + 20 feels like something I could do all day without getting tired.

    If your MAF range 145-153 and you have trouble even getting your heart rate above 165, I would question whether this is a good range. It could be that you have a lower than average working heart rate, meaning that MAF would have you pushing too hard. This could explain why you’re having trouble holding your MAF pace – 30 for very long.

    If you were to train by power or pace, your 30 minute best effort would be the top of your zone 3. So all of your threshold runs would be efforts that you could hold for at least 30 minutes.

    I’m not claiming to be the perennial expert and I could be wrong, but this is the first thing that comes to mind.

    Matt Fitzgerald

    I second your advice, Alan. Heart rate really should not ever be used as one’s primary intensity metric for efforts above Zone X.

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