This is my "Maffetone Method as understood by Chaser Williams" post. Hopefully I will be able to us it to not only explain to others what, in my opinion, the Maffetone method does and how it does it, but maybe manage to sort out a few things in my head as well.
I had a large post already halfway wrote up on this topic, but lo and behold, it's disappeared on me... Grrrrr...
Phil Maffetone has been an endurance coach and nutritionist to longer than I've been around and has trained several dozen world class endurance athletes. He suggests that rather than getting energy through ingested foods and sugars (Ie Gu's Shot Blox, energy drinks, etc.) and training in an anaerobic state we instead burn stored fats as energy.
The advantages to burning stored fats as energy are endless. It's readily available (especially on a fat ass such as myself), there's no chance of your stomach not agreeing with it and giving you GI issues (aka diarrhea), and its a much more efficient way of getting energy.
In my own little warped mind I've looked at it like this...
Using Ingested sugars as energy is like using high octane race fuel in a car. It burns much hitter and faster and is good for short bursts of energy and speed, but in the long run your engine will break down and wear out, eventually leading to engine failure.
Using stored fats as energy is like using a higher grade diesel. You can get much higher performance over the long haul and not worry about your engine breaking down.
To me, ultra running is all about efficiency. If your not running efficiently, then your going to wear out quicker and run a higher risk for injury. If your not burning energy then your going to be more susceptible to crashing and not obtaining your goals. My hope is to become as efficient as I possibly can.
Since I've started the Makers Diet I've basically started eating as Mr. Maffetone suggests, and I've found running to be easier than its probably even been before. I'm having no issues running long on a fasted body, then not eating for an extended period of time afterwards. If I can run a 50k fasted with no energy to burn except for my stored fats the. I feel very confident going into the realms of 100k's and 100 miles.
I hope this helps clarify a few things about Maffetone. I had a much longer, in depth post wrote up, but it disappeared somewhere I to the chasm of the World Wide Web... Yay...