The fundamentals of BASE training

Updated: Mar 3

Base training is generally the first phase of any training plan, this is what helps prepare the athlete for the rest of the plan, all challenging sessions that lie ahead.

For me this is a key phase, this is what really sets up the athlete for the next phases. The 2 many points to the BASE phase is:

1. sets up building a good aerobic capacity, increase their endurance levels.

2. an increase in muscular strength which helps prevent injuries.

Good Aerobic Capacity

Building a good base comes with plenty of easy paced running. During this phase you can be expected up to around 65% of your training is going to be complete in your easy running zone. Please have a read of a previous blog Life in the Slow Lane for more on that.

Any base period should include three components: Gradually increasing mileage, the ever-important and the holey grail of endurance running is the long run. The long run is so important and prepares the body early on. The benefits:

  • Denser mitochondria (the “energy factories” of your cells)

  • Denser capillary networks to deliver oxygenated blood

  • More mental toughness and resolve

  • Improved muscular strength

  • Enhanced running economy (efficiency)

  • More energy efficient

  • You’ll race faster!

This phase doesn't have to all be about running slow as mentioned add a quality session into the mix: tempo, hills, and fartlek running which is run at a comfortably hard pace. I like to throw in a session like this every 7-10 days.

During this phase you will run a lot of strides at the end of your session, this is really classed as a workout session, for me, I class strides as a drill exercise. complete these a couple of times per week after runs and then a fartlek session every 10-14 days just to get the leg turning over a little differently.

Increase Muscular Strength

Strength work comes in the form of running hills and strength training itself. I will also try getting my athletes to weight train during the base phase. These workouts don't need to be complete in the gym but in the comfort of your own home.

Start by adding in some bodyweight exercise and core work, These sessions arent about 'beasting' yourself, as this will affect your ability to recover time for your running. Strength training is supplementary work for your running.

Remember with hese key factors you now have all of the ingredients to plan an effective base training season:

  • Gradually build your mileage and long run

  • Run strides or hill sprints regularly

  • Complete an aerobic workout every 7-14 days

  • Run a faster fartlek workout every 10-14 days

  • Include strength training to prevent injuries and tune the nervous system

This type of workout will certainly help reduce the risk of picking up injuries, if you want to learn more or if you are interested in coaching then please drop me an email or complete my coaching request form.


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