LTHR zone 2 or MAF | 80/20 Endurance

LTHR zone 2 or MAF

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    On Tuesday I start my Triathlon journey whit the 80/20 Program and I’m really looking forward to it!
    I’m a little in doubt though?

    I’m planning to do an LTHR test tomorrow (not in a Lap but the guided Garmin LTHR one)

    Should I use the zones based on my LTHR or should i go for the MAF method?
    based on the maffetone method my zone 2 is 148bpm.

    is one better than the other?


    MAF and 8020 are not the same, though of course there are similarities in that they both advocate a high volume of easy running.

    However, from my personal reading around the subject, MAF appears to be a fairly arbitrary number, with a set of arbitrary adjustments. It has no real science to back it any more than the 220 – your age is your maximum heartbeat ‘theory’ – I know for a fact that mine is at least 20 beats out on that front alone.

    Everyone has a different heart beat, max heart rate etc, and therefore different lactic heart rate, although of course it will be a bell curve and a lot of people will fall only a standard deviation or two from the mean.

    If you’re committing to 80/20 then you should set your 80/20 zones based on your personal LTHR that is empirically tested by you, to make sure they’re right. That way your speedwork will be correctly targetted.

    I’m not sure how much difference there is between the Garmin LTHR test or the ones suggested by Matt and David which you can find here
    but I imagine they’re not a million miles away from each other (maybe Matt or David will jump in and correct me here 🙂 )

    So it’s not really about one being better than the other, as they are different systems. I’ve never done MAF, but I know a lot of people like it, and I know quite a few people migrate here as they get bored with always running slowly, and want to get some speedwork in, while maintaining a lot of easy running volume.

    So I’d say, go for this, and don’t try and mix the two. However, if tired at any point, feel free to use Z1 instead of Z2 on any easy runs, as the division between the zones of easy is a best guess, it is not empriral, but the LTHR is. The important thing is getting your LTHR established, so you can work your zones from that.

    Good luck with the training 🙂


    I would tend to agree on this. In my opinion, the MAF formula might be applicable to a lot of the population. But it’s not for everyone. I’m 48, which makes my MAF heart rate 132. According to my last LHTR test, the bottom of my (80/20) zone 1 is 131. So ever for super easy aerobic runs, MAF leaves a lot of unused capacity on the table for me. When I’m doing a recovery run, my heart rate is pretty much peaking around 130 for the first mile. Then it generally averages between 132 and 136, and peaks between 140 and 145, depending on the temperature and duration.

    If it’s already easy enough that you could probably keep it up all day, I don’t see much point in slowing things down even further.

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