I've decided to give Base Training a go...

Alright, here's the idea:

Starting Monday, I have exactly 24 weeks until my next key race (Moray Half Marathon, September the 5th). After a little bit of research, I've convinced myself that it's worth giving Base Training a tryout.

I'm planning on setting aside 12 weeks for this base phase, building up from about 45 miles next week up to about 65 miles by the time I'm finished (currently, I average about 50 mpw). Once that phase is over, I'd add tougher sessions like tempo runs and intervals, while decreasing mileage to compensate for increased training stress.

Once the race is 2 weeks away, I'll cut back on mileage, and hopefully smash the 1:30 target I've set myself (current PB of 1:33:45). 4 weeks after that is the Scottish Kilomathon, so I'd try and keep myself in race shape until then, then really cut back on mileage for a while before starting to base train beginning November for next year (and a hopeful first marathon).

What do you think? Is this a good idea, or am I being too ambitious?


  • Pammie*Pammie* ✭✭✭
    Good idea

    Really i think everyone should do base training. Problem is when you mention Base Training some people think its all slow miles not always the same

    Build up the miles up to how much you desire or can do before starting the specific work towards your goal. I would though even in the base phase to do some strides a few times a week and maybe even a weekly session like a fartlek session or a run faster than easy but keeping it aerobic

    Good luck
  • Thanks for the comment Pammie.

    Yeah, I did hear about doing strides a few times as week as well, to keep the leg turnover going and keep you somewhat sharp, which I'll factor into my weekly plan. A light fartlek sounds good as well.

    I have a 10k mid May (about 10 weeks in) that I'd like to do reasonably well in, but it's not my focus to be honest so I'm not targeting it for a serious time.

    I'm still only a wee child though (not even 20 yet image) so I need to be conscious of not doing too much - mileagewise - too young.
  • Definitely a good idea.  I am thinking though that instead of reducing the mileage when you add in the tougher sessions, add them in gradually and keep the mileage (which hopefully you will have adapted to).

     I'm currently starting a bit of a base phase and do one or two runs with marathon or half marathon pace each week.  As the mileage increases I will keep this upper aerobic work but once I reach my mileage peak (depends but i'm aiming for around 70) I will evelop the sessions gradually harder, incorporating 10k pace and then maybe 5k pace - target distance is 10k.

    You may want to extend the base phase to something like 16 weeks base (with steady/ marathon pace runs once or twice a week)/ 4 weeks with half marathon pace development/ tempo runs/ 2 weeks with tempo/10k intervals/ 2 weeks taper.

    My plan is something like

    50 miles this week
    55 miles next
    60 miles
    easier week with 10k race
    65 miles
    70 miles
    70? miles
    easier week

    70+ miles
    70+ miles with 10k pace work
    70+ miles with 10k pace work
    70+ miles with 10k + 5k pace work
    easy week followed by 10k race

    Then I have exams and away to Africa so the running will take a bit of a dip then!

    I have a feeling it may be difficult make this progression as my previous plans at mileage building haven't been entirely successful (life getting in the way/ tiring myself out) but that's the plan anyway!  Left a bit of leeway in the buildup as I know things never go according to plan!  Probably will do another 5k or 10k race somewhere in there...

     Apologies if this was a bit of a hijack but just throwing out my ideas!

  • Duckinator, I think what you are planning sounds spot on. Being careful and methodical are two things that I lack, and I wish I had your patience.

    Doing the odd low-key race is a good idea, do the odd 5k or 10k, and try not to worry about the time too much.

    On the mileage front, I dont think 65 miles is excessive, even at your age. Most young 800/1500m runners I would say are doing around that kind of mileage, especially in the winter.

    I wish you luck and im sure you will smash your pb! 

  • Jason - interesting reading - do you think that a 6 week harder section would be enough? Seems to me that the base is dis-proportionally large, or is that the idea?

    Moraghan - that's also really interesting - I haven't heard of splitting the base section up into 3 parts like that. Does that tend to give more benefits than a standard base?

    Martyn - thanks for the support. I imagine the first few weeks are going to be quite frustrating, but I'm determined to make this work and not give into temptation, as I've heard good things about this approach.

    With regards to mileage, the only way I can find out is by running that distance, and seeing if I can or not.
  • MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭
    To a certain extent it's semantics, but at the very least I think it's good practise to change the emphasis on training every 4 weeks or so.
  • Moraghan, I'll dig into it tomorrow morning and see if I have any questions.

    Sport Relief mile tomorrow afternoon and then it begins... image
  • Ok, so Sport Relief mile didn't quite happen, but I used today to work out my rough pacing.

    I'm going to be working by heart rate - rather than pace - for Base Training, so my pace is probably going to fluctuate from day to day depending on how I feel, if I have a cold, weather conditions and so on. I've taken the "pace" field off of my main Garmin data field (which normally has total time, pace, distance and HR in %) so I don't get obsessed with how fast I'm going each day.

    I'm going to be running at a maximum of 70% WHR, which for me works out at 153bpm - 78% of my maximum heart rate of 195bpm. Running today, I ran 5.06 miles today in 41:01, sticking at 78% MHR, which worked out at 8:10/mile pace. This will be my benchmark for testing improvement over the next 3 months.

    It all starts tomorrow. I might try and use this thread as a sort of update so I can keep those interested in this up-to-date with my progress.

    Does anyone have any comments or suggestions?

  • MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭
    I wouldn't do all your running at 70% whr.  At the very least you should be doing strides twice a week.  There is also no harm in doing one of your runs a bit quicker up to about marathon pace.  You can get away with this sort of schedule while still increasing your mileage, as long as you listen to your body.
  • Had a skim through the first few pages Dan, looks quite interesting. By his reasoning (HM pace is 1 mile pace + 45 sec), I'm dreadful aerobically. Oh well, this is why I'm doing this I suppose.
  • Dr.DanDr.Dan ✭✭✭
    I see you've popped up on the Hadd thread on Fetch! image
  • Indeed I have. Just stumbled across it and I'm still reading the 173+ pages of previous posts.

    Anyway, update. I'm running about 30 sec/mile slower than before (ran for an hour today at 8:38/mile), keeping my heart rate below 75% of my max. It feels strange right now, but over time (hopefully) my pace will improve and I'll be able to run faster with less effort.

    I've turned off all pace and distance fields on my Garmin, and I'm running by time rather than distance. My reckoning is that as my pace improves, so will my distance. It seems to be accepted that an hour is a reasonable time to base train each day.
  • I did precisely that from October through to January. Slowed my runs down by a good 30 seconds and only did 1 run per week I would class as challenging aerobic, nothing like tempo though. So worked out as 4-5 60 minute runs, 1 90-120 minute run and 1 run of higher aerobic. Although this is not a perfect base schedule by any means, being fairly new to running i've improved more during that time than a whole year of intervals and fast pace work through most of 2009.

     During that time I PB'd in a 5km race and have since with 6 weeks of threshold training knocked 85 seconds off my 10km PB. It's definately worth the time and dedication if you want to see real long term results.

  • Dr.DanDr.Dan ✭✭✭

    I've spent the last 2-3 months base training and building up my mileage ... virtually no quality sessions ... but nevertheless I managed to knock over 2 min off my 10K PB on Sunday. At 43 years old I find this is the best way for me to train ... it makes me faster but also reduces injury.

  • I have 9 weeks until a low-key 10k race in Aberdeen. I'm using that as an indicator to see how much I've progressed. There's a beachfront 5k a few weeks later that I might do just to keep the ol' leg turnover going as well.

    I was planning on only doing this for 12 weeks, but if my progress is good I might just do this all the way up until September.
  • BadbarkBadbark ✭✭✭

    After a disappointing Dublin marathon I base trained through November to mid January five days a week but added one tempo session a week. My 70% WHR pace has increased from 9:40 min/miles to about 8:10 min/mile pace and I just ran a half marathon almost 5 minutes faster than my last year.

    Base training rocks!
  • MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭
    Don't neglect your speed during base training folks.  It's a nice complement to your easy miles and MP running.
  • When you say speed Moraghan are you referring to strides?
  • MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭

    Strides are included in that but I would also include a session of more focused 100m fast relaxed runs once a week.  No lactic, no anaerobic stress - just smooth, fast, good technique runs with full recovery.

    For runners with a few miles under their belt and who have been doing strides a session of 10 * 100m is good.  If you are a short distance specialist a walk back recovery is fine, a marathoner may jog 300m round the track and repeat as they are usually gluttons for punishment!

  • Thanks Moraghan, I'll try that 10*100 at some point. I'm gonna use th rest of this week and next week to ease back into training after the half, then I'll start including them 3 or 4 times a week.

  • MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭
    Not the 10 * 100m 3 times a week - just once!  Strides on a couple of other days is a good idea though.
  • Oh, I've got you now image
  • At what point of a steady run would you include the strides?
  • MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭

    Doesn't have to be a steady run, could be an easy run (just so as we're clear!).

    It's really up to you.  Not until you are fully warmed up, which means at least 10 minutes of easy running.  You can do them early in the run guaranteeing quality, late in the run getting some leg turnover whilst experiencing some fatigue or you could spread them out throughout the run.

    You could change it up from each run.  Early in a base it's not a bad idea to spread them out throughout one of your longer easy runs (I don't mean your long run).  This could be the beginnings of a quality session - a sort of diet fartlek.  In this run you may run a stride every 5 minutes once warmed up, which in time might mean 10 or so throughout the run and  / or go a bit longer for each stride.

    The options are many as long as you obey the cardinal rules (keep em relaxed, no lactic etc).

  • I'm now a week into base training and I thought I'd give a small update.

    Currently, I'm finding this quite interesting yet frustrating. I did a long run on Saturday (I was travelling to London Sunday) and due to 30mph winds I averaged over a minute slower than my previous 'easy' pace.

    It's also interesting in that I'm seeing how little things make a difference to paces. I went out for a few drinks one night last week and ran in the morning (not exactly 100% fresh, if you know image) and due to dehydration my HR was quite elevated.

    Running much slower than I have been accustomed to has been quite odd but I'm getting into it now. I'm not feeling much fresher and I have much more energy than I normally would do after a 50 mile week.

    I'll start to add strides as soon as the weather clears up - I'm currently at home in Aberdeenshire and right now (as I type) we're in the middle of a snowstorm.
  • I'll be watching this thread with great interest aswell, as I'll be starting next week.

    Good Luck The Duckinator!

  • Oh, hello Boosh. You've just popped up in the Fetch thread haven't you? image
  • I have!! Unfortunately, I have nothing useful to contribute to this thread, so I'll be watching, and most probably asking a ton of inane questions! 

    The weather looks awful up North, hope you get loads of treadmill running in. Hope it doesn't extend down to London for the Marathon. image

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