Building Your Base

Everytime I run a race I always vow to myself that I will not lose my fitness base, I will not lose my fitness base. And what do I always do? Lose my fitness base! Then I have to start all over when I sign up for another race. Since I am considering a marathon this year, I am going to focus on building up my running base so that I am in a good place if when I start training. The two races I am considering are not until the Fall and Winter, so I have to work on my base. I think this will be a good way to ease into marathon training so I do not shock my system.

Last summer, I pulled an intermediate marathon training plan out of Runner’s World when they hosted their first Marathon Challenge. It looked like a solid and realistic plan, so I saved it for a rainy day. Part of the Marathon Challenge also touched on building your base. The importance of building your base is to get you used to being on your feet. Here are some of the tips included in the article:

Treat hard days—hill workouts and long runs—with respect. Take it easy the day before, eat and sleep well the night before, and rest or jog the day after.

Find a hill that is too steep to run easily, says Yasso. Pick a variety of hill workouts to incorporate into your routine to keep your mind and muscles engaged.

Experienced marathoners should do long runs at one to two minutes per mile slower than marathon goal pace. Beginners should go as slowly as your body dictates. Walk if you want to. Your goal is to make it to the end without feeling utterly exhausted. Don’t increase weekly mileage by more than 10% while building a base. This will prevent injury, over training and exhaustion.

Jack Daniels, a coach and exercise physiologist in Flagstaff , Arizona, recommends putting off workouts if you’re feeling tired. “The most important thing is to recover,” he says. “If you’re tired on a workout day, there’s nothing wrong with moving it to another day.” I believe it is always important to listen to your body over a training plan.

“When you deviate from your plan, it’s not failure,” says Jeff Brown, a psychiatrist from Harvard Medical School who works the Boston Marathon medical tent. Yasso has seen runners circle a parking lot until their GPS devices signal they’ve hit exactly 10 miles. “That extra three-tenths of a mile is just not going to make a difference,” he says.


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