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.
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 two or are returning after years off, finding a base building training plan is a great way to start off your return to the sport.
Creating 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 training comes from Arthur Lydiard.
Winter is my favorite time for base training and maintenance running. The cold weather and extra hours of darkness provide me with the perfect setting to shorten my runs and decrease their frequency. While I don’t want to completely lose fitness this time of year, I’m not never very motivated to complete hard workouts or long runs either.
During maintenance training, my goal is to maintain running fitness without pushing myself too hard. I love heading out for short, easy runs to enjoy the weather and return home with enough time and energy to remain active throughout the day.
Beginner and seasoned runners alike can benefit infinitely from taking the time to build a solid running base.
So how do you build a training base?
Base building is often a frustrating time for runners. Short runs feel like more of a challenge than they should be, but even so, it’s tempting to increase mileage or ramp up the intensity too quickly. Many runners fall into the trap of attempting too much too soon, only to wind up injured shortly afterwards.
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.
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.
Here are a few tips for running base training.
- 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.
- Make each run easy and enjoyable.
Following a structured plan while building a running base help you increase mileage slowly and avoid the temptation of doing too much too soon. For many, base building may be frustrating because they want to get more exercise than just a mile or two on the roads. If this is the case, fill your extra time with other cardio workouts.
Related: 14 Workouts Runners Will Love
Mixing up your workouts during maintenance running or base training is a great way to increase your fitness even faster. Alternate days where you run or complete and indoor workout. Throw in some strength training and cross training to help build your running endurance even quicker.
If you’re taking a break from running during the holidays or winter this year, understand that returning to running will feel more challenging than when you left off. If you’re setting some new, lofty running goals for the new year, plan ahead and allow yourself time to build a running base before diving into your training plans.
To do so, I’ve created this 12 week base building training plan.
>>Download the Base Building Training Plan HERE!<<
This training plan contains 3 runs each week, beginning week 1 with very low mileage and gradually increasing as your fitness improves. Each running day is followed by a cross training or rest day – there are 12 cross training workouts included to help you build a strong training base and 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. After a break from running, returning will be easier than ever with this Base Building Training Plan!