Running Base Building: Printable 12 Week Base Training Plan

This 12 week running base building plan will help you build an aerobic base for running. Download the training plan for free and learn how to build a running base to stay healthy, strong and injury free! #runningbase #basebuilding #basetraining

Updated: July 24, 2020

Whether you’re toying with the idea of running a marathon someday, or are simply getting started running, base training is a key component of every runner’s training schedule.

What is running base building?

Many runners mistakenly assume that base training involves running very low mileage with the goal to simply keep running. A common misconception is that building a training base requires low effort and easy runs completed consistently.

Related: How to Build a Solid Running Base

While consistency certainly plays a key role in building an aerobic base for running, most successful base training plans are anything but laid back.

Following a running base building plan is an excellent precursor to achieving any running goal. Building a solid running foundation is the best way to set yourself up to accomplish your biggest goals.

Running base training is essential for every runner.

If you have taken a break from running, whether it be just a month or multiple years off, finding a base building training plan is a great way to begin your return to the sport.

Establishing a foundational base mileage will help you avoid injuries, develop a strong aerobic base, and maintain strength as you transition to more formal training.

A popular method of running base building comes from Arthur Lydiard.

Arthur Lydiard, a former New Zealand running coach, became popular in the 1960s as his athletes started to win more and more Olympic medals over a short period of time. Much of his training philosophy is still popular today – especially his belief in the importance of base training for runners.

According to Lydiard, base training serves to build an aerobic base for running. In its first phase, base building helps improve a runner’s aerobic capacity.

This period of 10-12 weeks helps increase various components of your running performance – everything from the strength of your muscles to the communication with the nervous system.

Lydiard base training serves as the foundation for many runners today.

This 12 week running base building plan will help you build an aerobic base for running. Download the training plan for free and learn how to build a running base to stay healthy, strong and injury free! #runningbase #basebuilding #basetraining

How do you build an aerobic base?

Whether you are returning after a break from running or are just getting started for the first time, base training will help you gradually increase your mileage and fitness without getting injured.

Following a running base building training plan will help you build an aerobic base to set yourself up to run longer distances, hit a PR, and stay in peak shape.

As you begin base training, you’ll want to start small. Find a distance that you can comfortably run and begin by repeating that distance multiple times.

Increase your base running distance slowly.

Running base building is a gradual process. In general, you’ll want to increase your long run by about 1 mile every one or two weeks. Once you’ve started building your running base, you can add 1 or 2 more runs a week every couple of months. Gradually add 1-3 miles to week day runs every few weeks.

After the initial mileage building phase of base training (about the first 4 weeks), it’s time to throw in some periods of higher intensity. Begin incorporate short, intense efforts, such as fartleks, hill sprints, strides and more.

Download the free Running Base Building Training Plan to get started!

Taking the time to build a training base is essential for any runner prior to increasing mileage speed. Download this FREE base building plan to increase your fitness and build stamina before starting a training plan. Start running for the first time or get back to running after taking time off with this base training plan! Use it as a running maintenance plan or to improve your fitness before training for a 10k or half marathon. #runningbasebuilding #runningbasetraining #trainingplan #runningmaintenance

Advantages of running base building

When we set big goals for ourselves, we often want to do something drastic right away to make progress towards achieving them.

Signing up for a marathon and then heading out for a two mile training run feels almost pointless. Deciding to train for a 5k PR by starting with run at a slower pace than usual feels contradictory.

Running base training forces us to start small, build gradually and really spend time creating a foundation. While these training strategies might not sound the too appealing amidst the excitement of committing to a new goal – they certainly pay off in the long run.

Following a base building running creates a strong foundation.

Taking the time to build a training base helps improve muscular strength to prevent injuries over time and create the power necessary to run longer distances and faster paces.

Running base training has also been shown to increase the body’s ability to deliver oxygen, encourage optimal communication between the brain and nervous system, and enhance capillary capacity.

Your body will eventually adapt to the mileage, requiring very little energy and reaching a high level of efficiency. In addition, you’ll gain a hefty amount of mental strength.

Download the free Base Building Training Plan to get started!

Taking the time to build a training base is essential for any runner prior to increasing mileage speed. Download this FREE base building plan to increase your fitness and build stamina before starting a training plan. Start running for the first time or get back to running after taking time off with this base training plan! Use it as a running maintenance plan or to improve your fitness before training for a 10k or half marathon. #runningbasebuilding #runningbasetraining #trainingplan #runningmaintenance

Misconceptions about base training

Many runners, both beginners and seasoned alike, mistakenly assume that building a training base means running a lot of slow, easy miles. They set out to run the same speed over and over again each week, only to discover that their fitness remains the same.

In order to create a successful running base, you’ll need to mix things up during base training. Spend the first two to four weeks running easy miles, and then begin to add some variety.

Another common misconception about running base building is that it only takes a few weeks. Most runners are surprised to find that building an aerobic base can take quite some time – usually around 8 to 12 weeks.

Base building is often a frustrating time for runners. Beginner runners often struggle to feel like they’re making progress when only running a few miles a week. Seasoned runners might find it tempting to increase mileage or ramp up the intensity too quickly.

This 12 week running base building plan will help you build an aerobic base for running. Download the training plan for free and learn how to build a running base to stay healthy, strong and injury free! #runningbase #basebuilding #basetraining

Tips for running base training

Building a running base is all about increasing your aerobic fitness slowly and methodically. As many runners quickly find out, building a training base is a process that takes time. It’s impossible to jump from 1 mile to 12 overnight, no matter how long or far you used to run.

Here are a few base building tips for runners.

  • Start out small.
  • Repeat the same distance before increasing.
  • Increase distance in small increments.
  • Don’t increase distance until you are comfortable where you are.
  • Mix up your schedule with other workouts.
  • Speed up the process by completing other forms of cardio.
  • Give yourself plenty of time.
  • Understand that you can’t gain fitness overnight.
  • Find a way to record your progress.
  • Increase frequency before distance.
  • Plan far in advance.
  • Take a break when you need to.
  • Don’t be afraid to walk.
  • Focus on consistency and small efforts repeated over time.

Base training requires more patience and perseverance than nearly any other phase of running. However, taking the time to building a running base – or just continue with maintenance running in the off season – help prevent injury and set you up for a strong season of running.

When to use a base training plan

Following a structured plan while building a running base provides beneficial structure for runners of all ability levels. Most importantly, it helps avoid the temptation of doing too much too soon.

So when should you use a running base building plan?

This 12 week base building training plan is adaptable for beginner and seasoned runners alike. Here are some examples of a few times you may wish to follow it during training.

Using a base building running plan is an excellent way to set yourself up for success. Taking the time to establish a running base will not only help you prevent injuries, but it helps avoid overtraining, burnout, and provides beneficial structure when increasing mileage.

Base training requires planning, preparation and dedication. If you’ve got time and want to nail your running goals in the future, base building is a really effective way to do so.

Try this 12 week base building training plan.

>>Download the Base Building Training Plan HERE for free!<<

Taking the time to build a training base is essential for any runner prior to increasing mileage speed. Download this FREE base building plan to increase your fitness and build stamina before starting a training plan. Start running for the first time or get back to running after taking time off with this base training plan! Use it as a running maintenance plan or to improve your fitness before training for a 10k or half marathon. #runningbasebuilding #runningbasetraining #trainingplan #runningmaintenance

This base training running plan contains 3 runs each week, beginning with very low mileage and gradually increasing as your fitness improves.

Each running day is followed by a cross training or rest day to avoid burnout. Included, you’ll also find 12 cross training workouts to help you build a strong training base and start or get back to running quickly.

Base training and maintenance running are essential for every runner. It’s important to take breaks throughout the year to avoid burnout and injury. Whether you’re just getting started, want to create a foundation to achieve some lofty goals in the future, or are hoping to safely return after a break – base building will set you up for success.

More running base training tips

Taking the time to build a training base is essential for any runner prior to increasing mileage speed. Download this FREE base building plan to increase your fitness and build stamina before starting a training plan. Start running for the first time or get back to running after taking time off with this base training plan! Use it as a running maintenance plan or to improve your fitness before training for a 10k or half marathon. #runningbasebuilding #runningbasetraining #trainingplan #runningmaintenance
Taking the time to build a training base is essential for any runner prior to increasing mileage speed. Download this FREE base building plan to increase your fitness and build stamina before starting a training plan. Start running for the first time or get back to running after taking time off with this base training plan! Use it as a running maintenance plan or to improve your fitness before training for a 10k or half marathon. #runningbasebuilding #runningbasetraining #trainingplan #runningmaintenance
Taking the time to build a training base is essential for any runner prior to increasing mileage speed. Download this FREE base building plan to increase your fitness and build stamina before starting a training plan. Start running for the first time or get back to running after taking time off with this base training plan! Use it as a running maintenance plan or to improve your fitness before training for a 10k or half marathon. #runningbasebuilding #runningbasetraining #trainingplan #runningmaintenance
Taking the time to build a training base is essential for any runner prior to increasing mileage speed. Download this FREE base building plan to increase your fitness and build stamina before starting a training plan. Start running for the first time or get back to running after taking time off with this base training plan! Use it as a running maintenance plan or to improve your fitness before training for a 10k or half marathon. #runningbasebuilding #runningbasetraining #trainingplan #runningmaintenance

7 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I’m getting back into running after having done a marathon in 2015, going back to shorter distances and kind of sporadically signing up for races. I want to run the 2020 NYC Marathon and want to give myself plenty of time to build a base and be ready for marathon training well before it starts. I really, really like your plan and can appreciate that it starts with super low mileage. Thank you for creating this!

    1. Thanks for sharing, I’m so glad you are finding it useful! I will be using this plan at the start of 2020 as well to get back to running again postpartum. The NYC Marathon is an awesome goal and it sounds like you are already well ahead of the game with your training plan! Good luck with your training in the New Year and I hope everything works out so you are able to run the marathon 🙂

  2. Thank you SO much for providing this plan. I have been dealing with some tendinitis in my knee, and I have been waiting patiently for it to subside. This meant stopping running from December, and not running again until late January. I have started adding in 5-10 minutes of running before my workouts, and now feel like I am ready to start building up again. In the past I have tried to come back way too quickly, but I am tired of injury and want to do it responsibly 🙂 I can’t wait to use this plan as a guide!

    1. I am so glad you found this plan helpful! Ugh, returning to running after injury can be so incredibly frustrating – I completely feel your pain. It sounds like you are recovering smart though! Hopefully this plan is helpful for you as return – good luck and enjoy!! ?

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: