October 23, 2019

Week 3 Recap of 3-3-3 Training

That's a lot of 3's!

I wanted to get this posted on Friday, but I have been SO BUSY and so stressed out that I haven't had a chance to write at all. Cross country season is now over, as of last night, so I feel like I can breathe a bit easier now. I loved it, for sure, but it wiped me out for the last few months. I'm going to write about that in a separate post. For now, I just wanted to do a (hopefully quick) recap of my 3-3-3 training last week.

(The 3-3-3 training is simply a way to get back into the habit of running regularly again. Run 3 miles, 3 days a week, for 3 months. It's simple and I'm hoping it'll get me back in the habit!)

I've been doing MAF training (maximum aerobic function) by using my heart rate to dictate my pace during my runs. After week two, I mentioned that I read that Dr. Phil Maffetone, who developed the MAF method, said that you don't have to subtract a heart beat per minute every year that you are older (the formula is 180 minus your age). I assumed that since I'm 37, my MAF rate would be 143, and then on my birthday, it would change to 142, etc.

However, Dr. Maffetone said that if the heart rate you've been using has worked well for you, then there is no need to change it just because you are 37 one day and 38 the next. When I trained for my 10K, I was in the best shape of my life, and I was using the MAF method (along with the 80/20 method). My MAF heart rate was 146 back then, so I decided for week 3 to try using 146 bpm as my MAF rate. (He did say that if the rate you are using stops working, then it needs to be adjusted)

I am very surprised at what a big difference it made! I was able to run (slightly) faster but it felt much more comfortable on my body. Before, at 143 bpm, I felt awkward and literally couldn't run any slower. Those three little beats per minute kept my body from feeling so awkward, and I was also able to get into a good breathing rhythm. It felt much more natural. So, I'm going to stick with the 146 bpm for now and see if it works out.

(The goal for MAF training is to keep your heart rate low as you train aerobically, and then as you get more fit, you'll be able to work harder--and run faster--at the same heart rate.)

Anyways, here is the recap of my runs:


Monday was my last "official" practice with the cross country kids. We had a race on Wednesday and on Saturday, so Monday was it for the season (until yesterday's time trial, which I'll write about in another post). So, I decided to run with them during practice (they think it's fun when I run with them, probably because they can lap me about 18 times, haha).

The first two miles I ran by myself (the opposite direction of the kids, so I would pass by them frequently to see how they're doing or tell them to get moving!). Then for the third mile, Harper asked if she could run with me, and I said sure. Then the other kids started asking, and soon there was a whole group of us running. I felt like a mama duck with her ducklings--it was so fun! I had to keep herding them back onto the grass (I ran on the road, because I am NOT used to off-road training).

So, the first two miles show a consistent pace and heart rate. Then when the kids started running with me, it went all haywire. I was talking and they were talking (which meant a higher heart rate, so I had to keep slowing down). That's why the third mile is a full minute slower! But it was worth it.

Where it says "spm" on the left, it just means "steps per minute". Mine are nowhere near ideal right now, but that's because I've been running so slowly. It should be closer to 180. But I don't pay any attention to that, anyway.

We finished the practice with a 200-meter jog on the grass in bare feet. The grass felt SO GOOD on my feet! I'd like to end all my runs like that (well, at least in the fall). 


I ran outside for this one, too. And I decided to take Joey with me. Whenever he sees me getting my shoes on, he looks at me expectantly, waiting for me to say, "I'm sorry, not this time" or "Wanna come with me?". He knows what each phrase means. I felt sorry for him, so I took him with me.

He was an angel! I was so surprised that he didn't totally mess up my rhythm constantly. I think my heart rate monitor beeped only twice (indicating that it was over 146 bpm) during the run. If Joey would act like that every time, I'd take him with me on all my runs!

This is what my attempted selfies with Joey turn out like:

Thankfully, he's not a licker (I don't like dog kisses), but he likes to smell my face so close up that I can feel his tiny chin whiskers tickle my skin. So my face is always scrunched up in our photos, haha.


Since Joey was so good on Wednesday, I decided to take him with me again on Friday. He definitely wasn't an angel this time, but he's gotten so much better over the last few years (when we first got him, it was SO hard to run--or even walk--with him).

There were a lot of dogs and cars and other things to distract him on Friday, so my rhythm was off. My heart rate monitor beeped at me several times, but I was able to slow down quickly enough that it didn't affect my overall rate much.

Joey is very good when I say, "Leave it!" when he sees a dog or a rabbit or even a wrapper on the ground. But when there are so many distractions, I'm constantly saying, "Leave it!" which makes my heart rate go up anyways.

I'm pretty convinced that my first mile with Joey is my fastest because that's when he pulls on the leash the hardest. I have a hands-free leash that I LOVE (Amazon affiliate link) but no matter what, when he's running faster than me, he's going to be pulling me along. Having him pull me is the equivalent of having a tailwind--giving me an advantage.

The second mile is when he gets the most distracted (probably because we go through a neighborhood and there are dogs and people around). And then the third mile is slightly faster because it's a lollipop route, and the third mile is just the reverse of the first.

It's still too early to see if I'm making any progress, but I've done three miles, three days per week, for three weeks in a row now :)

The MAF formula is meant to go by current heart rate (not average heart rate) so my average will almost always be lower than 146. Basically, as soon as it hits 147 bpm, my Garmin beeps and I know to slow down a bit. I just try to get as close to 146 without going over as I can. I also don't look at my watch while I run; I just listen for the heart rate beeps.

I may write another post today while cross country is still fresh in my memory. But I at least wanted to get this posted before the end of another week of training!


  1. I used to run with my black lab (Rita) when she was younger. Every time I'd tell her "you wait here and I'll come back and get you and we'll go for a run" So smart, she knew what I meant. Now she's 12 1/2 years old and has trouble walking. It's sad but I keep giving her Glucosamine and it does help. She still thinks she's a pup though, she just can't run anymore. The memories of those runs are clear in my mind, wanting to chase squirrels, running too fast for me, then stopping to sniff whatever was on the ground. Joey is very lucky and cute.

  2. I have a German Shepherd puppy that will literally pull my arm out of socket for a squirrel. I got a prong collar. I can now walk her and only hold the leash with 1 finger. Both of us are happier on out walks. Just a thought to help you will the pulling.


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