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Training slow to get fast

By May 24, 2015November 13th, 2023Exercise

Training slow to race fast really does work. Just ask ultramarathoner Tracy Hoeg who uses the MAF plan to set personal and course records.

In late 2014 the 35-year-old endurance athlete and physician/scientist was once again injured from her speed-focused training regimen. She took up 180 Formula training and just eight months later shattered the women’s record at the Gold Rush 50K by a whopping 39 minutes. Her time over the rugged course, which includes includes 2,383 feet of elevation gain in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in Northern California, was 4:36:55. Recently new to Sacramento, California, after living and working in Denmark for seven years, Hoeg is no stranger to ultra-distance runs. She ran on the American trail ultra running team in 2013 and qualified to run on the Danish trail ultra running team 2015. Additionally, she has worked both as a race physician and athlete consultant for almost a decade.

She said she was battling with a nagging case of plantar fasciitis when she heard about Larisa Dannis’s success with Dr. Phil Maffetone’s 180 Formula on Ultrarunner Podcast. She found almost immediate success with Phil’s methods and began blogging about it. She had already been following many of the dietary recommendations for some time so that aspect of her fat-burning program was already in good shape.

Subsequently Dr. Maffetone contacted her and helped fine-tune her training even further.

Now she doesn’t run intervals, has cut back drastically on her racing and is as strict as possible about keeping her heart rate within the MAF training zone. The result has been training times that get faster and faster at her MAF heart rate, and three personal records in races.

“Now it seems like every time I race I can easily beat my previous records,” she says. “It has completely changed the way I train and I feel more energetic.”

And what’s even better — the injuries are gone.

“I hadn’t expected it to work this well. I was scared about not running intervals — like a lot of people are — but I’m thrilled because training is fun and I’m getting faster,” Hoeg says. “I can’t remember the last time I have been injury-free for so long and this is probably the major reason MAF training works for me.”

For more about Tracy’s success with the MAF 180 Formula and MAF program, visit her blog at

By Hal Walter
MAF Senior Editor