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The 180 Formula

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Training for Endurance


Run Faster, Run Longer and Train for Endurance with The 180 Formula


by Davide Butson-Fiori


I’ve been using the 180 Formula ever since training with Dr. Phil Maffetone for my very first triathlon 15 years ago. Fifty triathlons later, I have reduced my resting heart rate and run faster and for longer periods, all because of this highly effective training formula.



So how does it work? The 180 Formula provides the particular heart rate, which, when not exceeded will give you the optimal aerobic benefits. Its been tested time and again by beginners and professional athletes, and it works much better than other method out there.


Before I go into the specifics, let me just provide information about why the two other popular measuring techniques, the 220 Formula and the Talk Test, will not provide accurate results.


The Talk Test assumes you are exercising within your aerobic range if you can comfortably talk to an exercise partner during a workout. This test is obviously unreliable, and in fact results in the person making less of an effort, resulting in a mild anaerobic state.


Many people are familiar with the 220 Formula, where you subtract your age from 220 and multiply the difference by a figure ranging from 65 to 85 percent. This assumes that 220 – your age is your maximum heart rate, but in reality, even if you push yourself to the point of exhaustion – which is not recommended – many of you won’t get this number. A third find their maximum is above this number and a third will be below. The multiplier, which ranges from 65 to 85 percent, also adds to the inaccuracy.  Do you use 65 or 75 percent? How about 80 or 70 percent? Without a more precise indicator, you are leaving your training heart rate to a very wide range, and your fitness to chance.


The 180 Formula provides a more scientific, sensible and proven method that considers both your physiological and chronological ages.


According to Dr. Phil Maffetone, to find your maximum aerobic exercise heart rate, subtract your age from 180. Then find the best category for your present state of fitness and health, as follows:


a. If you have a history of a major illness, are recovering from any surgery or hospital stay, or if you are taking any regular medication, subtract 10.


b. If you have been exercising but have an injury, are regressing in your efforts (not showing much improvement), if you often get more than one or two colds or bouts of flu a year, have allergies or asthma, or if you have not exercised before, subtract 5.


c. If you have been exercising for at least two years and four times a week without any injury, and none of the above items apply to you, subtract 0.


d. If you are a competitive athlete, have been training for more than two years without any injury, and have been making progress in both training and competition, add 5.


For example, if you are 30 years old and fit into category “b”:180–30 = 150, then 150-5 = 145 beats per minute.


The result is your maximum aerobic heart rate, which means that exercising at this level will stimulate your system better than overdoing it, which will only lead to more sugar burning and less fat burning.


If you exercise regularly, it may seem too easy to work out at your maximum aerobic hear rate, but you have to keep at it. In just a short time, the exercise will become more enjoyable and that you need more exercise to maintain that rate. In other words, as your aerobic system builds up, you’ll need to move faster and increase your efforts to attain that rate.


Circuit25 incorporates this powerful training technique to transform weekend runners into marathon finishers and propelling 30-minute joggers into 90-minute runners. Log on to www.circuit25.com to learn how the 180 Formula can work for you.


To learn more about the 180 formula and training for endurance read “The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing ” by Dr. Phil Maffetone famed coach of Mike Pigg and Mark Allen



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The 180 Formula

Circuit25 incorporates this powerful training technique to transform weekend runners into marathon finishers. It also propels 30-minute joggers into 90-minute runners. Download here for your copy of the 180 formula.