ATC 261: Is Fat the New Tire Size, Does Racing Hurt MAF, Can MAF Make You Scrawny, How to Train as a Blue Collar Baller, and more!

May 25, 2018


This episode is brought to you by Generation UCAN Superstarch, the incredible fuel of choice for endurance athletes and health enthusiasts looking for burn more fat for fuel, optimize sports performance and keep blood sugar in check. EP fans get 15% of UCAN, shop now. You can also use the code “enduranceplanet” if you’re shopping at for that 15% discount. Join the revolution. You can burn more fat for fuel. Oh, and be sure to check out the UCAN bars with peach and also another flavor with coffee beans for an added kick!

On this episode of Ask The Coaches, with Lucho and guest coach/host Brock Armstrong we answer the following listener questions:

— Lucho’s Twitter feed including pictures.

David asks:

Hello – Haven’t heard Lucho nerd out on bike stuff in a while. So, here’s one for him – what do you think of the 650B all-road bike phenomenon? Are the days of skinny road tires on their way out? Curious on if anyone in the endurance planet family has considered/participated in a gravel race, such as Rebecca’s private Idaho, or Dirty Kanza? Thanks!

The coaches say:
– With fatter tires on smaller wheels, the 650B standard gives the same rolling size as regular 700C wheels with more cushion and grip.
– I would use it for daily rides but not for racing (unless on gravel)
– If you have the money, why not?
– Would worry about where the breaks would hit the rim. Kind of need disc breaks.

Hilary asks:

I am a 48-year-old female age group trail runner who has been running various distance events including marathons and 50Ks during the last 5 years (prior to that I most ran road HMs).

I’ve been plagued by nagging tendonitis issues (hip flexors, piriformis, peroneal tendon, and plantar fasciitis on the right side) on and off for the last few years. It culminated in a rough spring in 2017 where I couldn’t run, but last summer I lost about 25 pounds, reduced my inflammation with a low carb paleo-ish diet, and along with a lot of PT managed to get back slowly, first to walking and then running, and finally building back up to training for distance events.

As I ramped up the mileage in preparation for a hilly 50K in March though, I was a bit less strict about diet and the injuries started coming back again with the increased mileage (the biggest week was 48 miles). The 50K itself was rough–cold, wet (rain, sleet, snow, wind), super muddy conditions that led to my feet being numb for the whole VERY LONG 8.5 h and cold and swelling induced nerve damage (no feeling in some of my toes for about a month).

I took a couple of weeks off (except for one 15K race) and have decided to go back to more strict paleo eating and am committing to MAF training for a while to try to deal with the chronic inflammation. So far the MAF training has been humbling (I can run most days but there are some days when it takes me 2 miles of mostly walking to get my heart rate into a range where I can run).

My question is can I still race every 2-4 weeks and still get the benefits of the MAF training, or am I basically shooting myself in the foot by doing any racing? There are a couple of race series I am participating in this year and I’d like to keep earning points! If so, is it better to race longer races at lower heart rate or shorter distances at higher heart rates?

As an example, my heart rate during the hilly 15K race I did two weeks ago (after only one week of MAF training) was about 22 bpm over MAF on average whereas the crazy muddy, windy, rainy, sleety 50K (prior to any MAF training) was about 10 bpm over MAF on average. My ultimate goal is to try to get to a 50 miler before I turn 50! Thanks for your help!

The coaches say:
– You have to enjoy your training and your racing. We can’t tell you which is more fun for you.
– What is a “short race” in your opinion? 5K would be ok.
– Sounds like an anti-inflammatory diet is best for you. Check out this site for some info outside of paleo

Suzanne asks:

Hi Brock and Lucho,

Love the podcast and although I miss Tawnee (please give her my best wishes), you guys are doing a great job and are fun to listen to. It’s also cool to hear from a fellow western Canadian! I’m hoping you can give me some guidance.

Quick background: 38yr old female; have been consistently exercising for 5-7hrs/week for 20 yrs- mostly running with a running group and doing weights a couple times/week. I’ve done several half marathons ranging from 1:50-2hrs finish time. I have an auto-immune disease and made the connection that the training I was doing was overstressing my body. Over the past 2 yrs, I’ve gotten away from training with a running club and have been focussing on the MAF approach. For the past 6 mo’s, I’ve been only doing MAF, hoping to build an aerobic base to build upon.

The good: I haven’t had any injuries, I am sleeping well and don’t feel exhausted after these slow jogs the way I did after some of my previous training runs. My MAF pace is super slow and barely improving (13-14min/mile pace) but I take a few fewer walk breaks and can breathe through my nose better than I could when I started.

The bad: I feel weak and scrawny and am not sure whether I should continue to devote this much time to MAF. I’m having to avoid all kinds of cool trails and beaches with hills nearby just because I know I won’t be able to keep my heart rate low. I miss running with friends. I miss the strong feeling I got from doing things like hills and weights.

My goals: To be fit and healthy without overstressing my body. To be able to compete in a 10-15k race a few times a year and not totally suck. To run with friends once every week or two (which doesn’t work when trying to control heart rate). To build back some muscle that I feel I’ve lost over the past couple years. side note – osteoporosis runs in the family and I’m trending towards becoming more skinny with age…

So I guess my big question for you whether you have some advice on how I might restructure my training to achieve my goals.

The coaches say:
– You have to enjoy yourself or what is the point? If you miss running in a group, there is your answer.
– There are other ways to build your aerobic base, not just MAF.
– Deviating from MAF does not equate to overstressing your body. You can train hard and smart.
– Being strong is going to be protective beyond anything a MAF run can give you.
Get-Fit Guy episode about supercompensation.

Dane asks:

My name is Dane and I am 31 years old. I’ve been racing triathlon for 7 years with the main focus on off-road/ Xterra. I have had great results over the years. My best race was winning the USAT Cross triathlon National championship 2017.

I have been self-coached from day one and most of my workouts come from a Friel book. I generally get in 3-4 runs a week (20ish miles) with at least 1 MAF run (6:20-6:40 pace) and 3-4 rides (80-110 miles) a week. I am a UPS Driver and get plenty of wind sprints and weighted 3rd-floor stair climbing in when delivering averaging 25k-30k steps a day.

I rarely get “recovery” workouts due to the demand of my job. My training volume is much lower than other top amateurs in the sport, however, I do feel like I’m still getting faster.

Should I be getting more active recovery workouts in or is my job doing the trick? Would upping my mileage/volume be beneficial for a “blue collar baller” like me?

The coaches say:
– Totally stealing that expression! Blue Collar Baller is awesome!
– Where is your weakness? Concentrate on that.
– Your job sounds ideal for someone who wants to keep their training volume low.
– What is your swim training like?
– Active Recovery or Recovery, in general, is a sliding scale. It is different for everybody and especially every fitness level.

Add your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.