Base Training



  • Tiny Toes, keep at it. Base training is a medium term thing i.e. it should be done for several months. Most runners base train through the winter months in order to build fitness / stamina etc for the following spring.

    I have been doing it for 6 weeks now and am starting to see quite significant results. I read somewhere that 'noticable' changes in the bodys composition take about 3 weeks to occur, significant changes take about 6 weeks (depending on the amount of training you do of course!). Hope this helps?
  • Tiny,
    If you need to lose any weight NOW is the time. You are teaching your body to utilise fat as its primary fuel and so, despite the miles, your carbo requirements are low - lower than you probably realise. An 1hr of running is approximately 1000cals - eventually your body will burn as much as 70%+ of those cals as fat at these lower HR. So only 300cals are carbs. The goal os simple - view carbs as your fuel source - make sure there is ALWAYS JUST enough fuel in the tank and make sure the tank is NEVER empty. By never running out, you have none of the Atkins effects and the Basal Metabolic Rate will not decrease (despite low cals), by never having MORE carbs than you need the fat burnt will not be replaced. Remember, excess carbs = fat.

    Re. HR - you need to teach the body to run,not walk - give yourself 5bpm extra to get you running. When your HR goes any higher, walk until the HR drops to 120 and then run again, and repeat for duration of "run" - that will give you more running minutes than otherwise and will ensure that the time walking is spent at a HR that high enough to be burning some decent cals.

    Hope this helps. All the best.
  • Have just found this, really really good thread. I'm really slow anyway but since joining a club and other group who go faster felt I had to struggle on. getting the heartmonitor and planning this properly now plus son recovering from broken leg doing GNR with me next year will get all this sent.
    Many thanks.
  • Thanks Chaos, Knghty and Pantman, I'll keep at it.

  • I'm going to go against the majority here and say if you are starting out, unfit and overweight then you should forget about heart rate and just run. WHilst I think PantM is right on many things I think he has got it a bit mixed up in terms of weight loss - sorry PantM but you did bring it up :) - basically you don't burn more fat exercising at low heart rate - you just burn a higher proportion of fat (ie 70% of not much is less than 50% of a lot). There is a thread on this elsewhere so I wont push the argument because it would take over this thread.

    If you have a period of running and pushing yourself you'll lose weight and get a faster fitness boost that would then allow you to start your base training at a higher level.
  • That's what I'd heard too Popsider.

    I did however do my first base training run today - on the tready so I could tweak the speed. Quite hard to keep within a narrow band but managed to stay within 137-140 (my max) for 98% of the time.

    It felt a lot easier, almost not like a training run. I keep thinking of "no pain, no gain" and thinking there's not a lot of pain in running at that pace.
  • Popsy struggles with his maths ;-) so here it is just one more time...
    1) You DO burn up more cals and even fat in a higher intensity session - agreed.
    2) If you burn 1000cals and it is 70% carb cals then you have lost 700cals of carbs that MUST be replenished to train again and 300 fat cals that do not.
    If however you burn 70% fat then only 300 cals of carbs need to be replenished.
    The difference here SHOULD be clear - carb cals MUST be replaced and so cannot be viewed as weight loss as such.
    This in turn gives the OPTION to eat less carbs and maximise weight loss. Crabs should be viewed as fuel - see previous post.
    3) Just as metabolism continues to be higher after exercise, so the type of metabolism continues after exercise - you will be a better fat-burner at work, play and sleep.
    4) An efficient fat metaboliser has a very low carb requirement - hence the negative effects often associated with low carb diets have far less weight (no pun intended) as the body does not REQUIRE many carbs.
    5) Low intensity, fat burning, base building running can be, and should be, repeated day after day - high intensity exercise cannot, and must not

    Summary - although high intensity exercise will burn more fat in a sinbgle session, a fat burner can train more often, with less injury and illness risk, will burn more fat during the rest of the day will get fitter more easily enabling longer sessions burning even more fat. A fat burner trying to lose weight should recognise that their carb requirement is far less than the high intensity exerciser and so can eat far less without it affecting their ability to train. The high intensity guy does not have that option as he needs to replenish his carb stores for the next high intensity session which should only be every other day at best and even then may be too much. And when most trying to lose weight are newbies to running, well... this IS the base thread...

    This is why I managed to lose 4+lb of FAT every week for 10+weeks - impossible with higher intensity exercise.

    This is a classic example of the science being right and the application being VERY wrong.

    If you want to lose weight, base training is WHEN to do it and base training is HOW to do it. View carbs as fuel - ALWAYS have enough - NEVER have much more.

  • WWWFR - the whole point is that running for x minutes becomes easier with base - so run more days or run x + 5 or 10 min - use the opportunity to build up the mileage...
    With this type of training you can run a higher mileage with less injury risk. Each run may feel easy, but consider the week more than the day.

    Popsy - Also higher intensity sessions, as well as not being better for fat loss in the LONG term, would also not "a faster fitness boost that would then allow you to start your base training at a higher level."
    More likely, it would cause over training in an undertrained individual, give an initial large increase in performance followed by a very long plataeu/crash - performance would then have to go BACKWARDS as the body starts base training. It would also increase the risk of illness and injury.
  • Hmmm.. i think Pants has the technical physiological edge to a large degree but as happened to me there is definitely room for a phase in which you just go out running for its own sake, establish a few early PBs, have a laugh and so on without caring about your ultimate efficiency. I was lucky enough to get to a 3:14 marathon on this, others might not be but that's not important.

    However now that I have the running "bug" I am prepared to get down and do the base training to REALLY improve. The base phase is v.important but the bug-catching phase has to come beforehand!! Nowt to do with fat-burning...
  • no pops i agree, more on the psychological aspect

    saying 'i have run for ten years and i am prepared to take 12 weeks a year out for base training' is one thing, but trying to convince beginners to do the same thing is more likely to see them bored, p*$$ed off with the whole thing and rediscovering their ass groove on the sofa
  • Totally agree with you on that one Chaos - if you haven't been bitten by the bug you probably won't be here on the base training thread!
  • Yes, I was thinking that after the session and again today - I feel I could go and do another decent length run, so in that sense it helps a lot.

    I have the "Lore of Running" on order and I'm looking forward to reading more of the science on this.
  • pops, I am not that much of a beginner really, just abit slow. I have been running for three years now, I haven't raced much - about 10 10K's, couple of 5k's and only 3 1/2's, but I have been putting on weight since starting running and am now overweight - started off just under 9st, now am 10.4:( probably because I was running too hard in training for my standard and eating too many carbs. I need to give this base training ago as I am not really getting anywhere with my old type of running, but I haven't been that structured before in my running. I'll give base training a go for a few more weeks as I really haven't got alot to lose.

  • "1) You DO burn up more cals and even fat in a higher intensity session - agreed.
    2) If you burn 1000cals and it is 70% carb cals then you have lost 700cals of carbs that MUST be replenished to train again and 300 fat cals that do not.
    If however you burn 70% fat then only 300 cals of carbs need to be replenished."

    But you burn MORE FAT IN TOTAL at HIGHER intensity - that is the relevant point. Forget the proportion of fat burnt - by your own argument if you burn more fat you are able to lose more weight.

    "3) Just as metabolism continues to be higher after exercise, so the type of metabolism continues after exercise - you will be a better fat-burner at work, play and sleep."

    Where is the research that says this though?

    "5) Low intensity, fat burning, base building running can be, and should be, repeated day after day - high intensity exercise cannot, and must not"

    Yes of course - if someone is going to put a lot more time in running steady instead of the occasional fast run they may lose more weight. But for any given amount of time you are best to exercise at the maximum intensity YOU CAN SUSTAIN if all you are concerned about is weight loss. If you have 15 hours a week to run then yes - the maximum you can sustain probably will be low intensity - if you have 5 hours it wont be. I've checked this out with a dietician and sports scientist (my brother works in a sports science dept. at Canterbury) so I'm not just making this up.

    Base training to run better - great, as some kind of weight loss tool - no, any kind of running will work and higher intensity will work better.

  • Regarding fat burning, I have another couple questions that maybe someone could answer.

    I went to the Cycle Show yesterday and heard something interesting about fat burning. Basically they said that if you are doing low-intensity base exercise in the morning, you should head out before you have anything to eat. Apparently your body gets triggered into fat-burning mode overnight and any food will make your body switch more into carb-burning mode.
    Does anyone know the validity of this statement? I heard it from two separate sources: a sports scientist from Science In Sport (who should know what he was talking about) and 'the great' Joe Beer from Trainsmart (VO2/LT testing company).

    Also, after spending saturday ogling at new racing bikes I went out enthusicastically on a long 3hr ride yesterday. I was very good and kept my heart rate below 145 for most of the duration. I didn't feel any lactate build-up at all and felt strong for the whole session.
    However this morning my legs ache like hell. I cycled into work then went for a run, and felt like my legs were full of lactate for the whole time. So can anyone tell me what to do in this situation? I always made sure my heart rate was below 150, no laboured breating, etc. So should I slow down enough to ensure there is no lactate build-up, or ignore the burn while keeping my HR low?
  • MinksMinks ✭✭✭
    OK, so does this mean that if base training I can't just stuff your face with carbs as I've been doing? Wouldn't say I overeat in any way but I certainly don't aim to eat less carbs than I feel like. I'm only 7 stone anyway, so I don't particularly want to lose weight - so the question is will this happen anyway if I'm base training because this type of training necessarily burns fat rather than carbs? If I get any smaller I'll end up having to wear kids' clothes!

    I want to base train to improve my running, but I don't want to lose weight (or gain it either).
  • Minks - If you don't want to lose weight - keep stuffing!
    Mogs - That aching is not lactate but sore muscles that got shredded by 3hrs of riding. Keep riding (increases blood flow), but keep them shorter till soreness gone.
  • All my knowledge of base training has been picked up here, am running at 180-age (about 10min/mile pace) and started 10 days ago, the last 2 weeks have been 40m/wk with the aim of getting to 50 on 5-6 runs per week.

    Q. Do i need to just runs lots of miles at <142bpm or need to elaborate with slightly higher intensity sessions?

  • All depends what you are trying to achieve and how long you are prepared to set aside, Bod.
    Ultimately, yes. You'll need to do higher HR aerobic running. But if you are willing to take the time out and are wanting to do well and are preared to put the time in, then this type of running is the best way for getting the mileage up.
  • Pantman

    Initial targets are Sub 4 marathon and sub 1:45 half, with current pb's of 4:42 and 1:52 respectively and am dead serious in acheiving them but not in becoming an 'elite' runner. I can commit 1-1.5 hrs/day, double that on Sundays for the foreseeable. My racing is limited to halfs in Nov and Dec. Am happy to run harder if necessary but have tried to start off just getting the mileage up.

    I recall you saying you were coaching someone for a sub4 marathon, I guess I want a specimen week, I have read Hadd but worry how one translates ~100mpw training for the sub 6min miler to 8-9min miler on 50mpw.
  • The way to translate it is to run by time. I am coaching by the 4 stages I laid out earlier on this thread. The athlete in question is looking to complete stage 1 in November and just hold it there till Christmas as she has not got a history of higher mileage.
    I am looking to hit stage 1 this week or next and hold till end of October. I will cover many more miles per week (and am doing extra am jogs), but the time run at this point in the main run is the same.
    You are welcome to join the club, follow the training (would fit into the time schedule you say you have) and run a good autumn marathon. E-mail me if you want.
  • MinksMinks ✭✭✭
    PM - can I join the club and follow the training? What do I have to do? Do I have to physically go somewhere (i.e. the club) or can this be done via email? At this stage I'm willing to commit to up to 1 hour a day, 5 days a week, and up to 2 hours on a Sunday. Is this enough at present?

    To give you some history, my recent race PBs are: 5K - 24:11, 10K - 51:34, Half Marathon - 1:51:03 (so not that inconsistent really). I currently train by weekly mileage, and am at 20-25 miles a week in 4 sessions.
  • I was chased by a dog yesterday while doing my base training and still stayed under my target HR!
  • LOL - bet the dog wasn't!
  • Minks - e-mail me
  • PM, did you get my email? Due to boss coming in I hit x button just after sending it so not sure if successful??
  • Yep - got it. Reply tomorrow.
  • MinksMinks ✭✭✭
    PM - you have mail.
  • Did first base training run today. I went out for 30 mins and tried to keep my heart rate between 135 and 145 bpm. I ran/walked 4km. I'm going to keep to 30 mins a day untill I can do more running than walking :-)
  • tois does sound interesting
    But i have one MAJOR problem
    I have only just won the psychological battle that has forced me to have walk breaks
    Yesterday i ran slowly for 110 minutes
    If i follow this type of training, im afraid ill have to walk again, and its been SO hard to stop doing so
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