Tag Archives: base training

Marathon Base Training : Training during restrictions

I’m gonna take you through my current marathon base training.

There’ll be a few tips on how you can apply it to your own program.

What Is Marathon Base Training?

Most people think it’s lots of slow training. Keeping down the intensity and pushing up the volume.  Lots of long slow distance work. To a point for some applications that might be the case. For me the point of base training is a bit different.

The Point Of Base Training

The point of base training is to develop a well conditioned athletes capable of optimally responding to the demands of competition specific training.

Previous post here: Base Training For Runners

Training To Train

Sounds complex. Basically it’s training to train.

Training to train is getting fit enough to handle the really hard training that makes up your competition specific work. The better your base the harder you can train further down the track. The more gains you can make as you get closer to racing.

Marathon Base Training Outline

I set up my training in four to five day blocks. At the moment given my circumstances, doing a lot of extra work hours. In this new world of corona virus my work is flat-out. Extra night shifts and extra hours. I haven’t really got a pattern. So only looking 4 to 5 days ahead seems to be the best approach at the moment.

In those 4 to 5 day training blocks I’m trying to include:

  • a long run
  • a tempo run
  • strength (running specific)
  • strength (other stuff)
  • easy runs

How these sessions fit into those days will vary with each block. It’s about the best fit each time. I’m gonna try and separate the tempo and the long run with 1 or 2 days in between. I could start with the long run. It could be the second session, or be the 4th. Whatever is the best fit in amongst the rest of life.

Keeping  tabs on recovery and if needed I’ll stick in an extra easy day or recovery day between the training blocks. It’s a work in progress. These times are uncertain at the moment. At the moment I’m still able to run outside. That may change in the not-too-distant future. Isolation or lock down may get stronger. So this plan though allows me to adapt to the ever changing constraints forced upon us. It also is a good setup for other situations as well.

Tempo Run

The tempo run is just my little bit of introduction into something a bit faster or a little bit harder. I’m going to keep it within a heart rate zone between 75 to 87%. Not too concerned about exactly where I sit in that range. Just going to run out on feel. Keep it at a steady consistent effort. An introduction to get my legs and Achilles tendon used to something a little bit faster. Pushing it any quicker than that will leave my Achilles tendon at risk. Faster running at this stage still leads to a bit of a flare-up. The basic approach with these tempo runs is to start out at 20 minutes and each time around will add about five minutes.

MAF Test

About every 2 to 3 weeks I’m going to replace that tempo run with a MAF test. It is the Phil Maffetone test where he’s talking about maximal aerobic function. For me being 42 years old 180 minus 42 that gives me a heart rate of 138bpm. The point for me is to run 8km at exactly that heart rate.

As my training progresses I should be able to maintain that exact same heart rate. How much I slow down from the start to the end of the run should reduce while the average speed of the run should improve.

I’m not following the Meffetone training program. I’m not limiting my training to below that heart rate. As such it’s a good reference point that I can go back over the years for my own training. It will give me a good guide to where my basic fitness sits.

Long Run

Probably my favorite run is the long run.

The aim is to get in about two hours and maintain a heart rate between 65 to 75% of heart rate max. Pacing I don’t really care about. I’m hoping to keep an even pace from the start all the way to the end nothing much more complicated than that.

About every second long run I aim to increase the time out by 10 minutes. On alternative long runs I’ll stick to two hours. Giving the pattern of:

2:00, 2:10, 2:00, 2:20, 2:00, 2:30, 2:00…

Hopefully I can progress safely with this format. As long as the Achilles isn’t flaring up I should be able to.

Strength Training For Marathon Base

For strength training I’m going to do one key session. This is the session that I have will make sure I include every training block. It’s my run specific strength training. Currently  concentrating on the calves, hamstrings and glutes. Predominantly leg work with core strength stability training. This is the primary strength training session. I will always include this. Skipping an easy run if needed.

A second strength session is listed as other. This covers everything that isn’t directly run specific. It can be just some fun stuff, upper body work such as  overhead presses, pull-ups, more core work. Basically anything in order to stay fit for the rest of life and work.

Easy Runs

Easy runs are dotted in between the mix of training. Ideally I’ll be running between 60 and 90 minutes, but I know how time pressures are at the moment. I’ll be happy with anything between 30 and 90 minutes.

Before a 6 a.m. work start I’ll be getting up at 4 a.m. giving about 30 minutes to fit training in. The pace of these easy runs is purely based on intensity.  I’m going to keep the heart rate between 55 and 75% of heart right max.  These easy runs will feel excruciatingly slow. They are so slow that I’ve turned off the pace data fields on my Garmin. I don’t need to know my pace. This helps with the intensity discipline that will allow me to get the ongoing training done. This is why including a semi-regular MAF test means I’m able to keep track of improvements around that first aerobic threshold. Improvement here I can indicate I’m setting up a good base.

Marathon Base Training Summary

The plan is pretty simple:

4-5 day training block to include:

  • long run
  • tempo run
  • strength training
  • easy runs

This simplicity makes it easy to adapt according to different roster cycles and other commitments of life while I’m still able to run outside.

It’s quite doable nothing overly hard in the training. What becomes hard is being able to maintain that consistency over a long period of time.

Keep on running.

Base Training For 100km Trail Race

How do we get maximum benefit from base training for 100km? What is the Base of training?

This is the most important phase of training.

Here we complement the post Training For 100km Trail Race: 16 Week Overview by diving into the details of the 8 week base phase.

What is Base Training?

The point of Base training is to develop a well balanced athlete capable of optimally responding to the stress of competition specific training.

All peak training is dependant on the quality of base training.

Base training is where the majority of fitness gains are made. These gains are dependant on a consistent and progressive workload. This training may not be the coolest type of running. Without it we gives ourselves a higher chance of failure.

Consistency and Progression

If I could pick one element to focus on it would be maintaining consistency.

Doing what it takes to keep up a solid work load each week is paramount. I will back anyone who can put in moderate running every week over someone with a few big sessions but gaps in between.

The biggest killer to consistency is intensity. Beware pushing the pace. Err on the side of too easy and cover the distance. Allow your body to back up training days. Pushing on your limits forces more down time.

Progression in training should come from gradually extending out the running volume over the weeks. Nothing crazy, but keep running further.

Over time your normal running pace is likely to get faster for the same effort level. Let it do so, but make sure it is the same effort level. We shouldn’t be forcing the speed higher.

What About Speed In Base Training?

Speed is an extra in a 100km race.

Too much emphasis on speed work or high intensity running will take away from the race. Especially during base training for a 100km trail race.

We still need condition the fast twitch muscle fibres and connective tissues.

A good approach is incorporating a few strides in 2 easy runs a week. Run for about 10 seconds building to a moderate and comfortable sprint 2 to 6 times.

Strength training should form part of base training.

Lifting some heavy weights will stimulate the tendons and fast twitch muscles. While giving the body reprieve from the high impact of high intensity running.

Keep it to 2-3 sets of 4-12 repetitions. Avoid going for lots of repetitions (20+). Aim to address the main muscle groups and any area that you are lacking in.

Strength training doesn’t have to be complicated. I have more detail in Basic Strength Training For Runnering.

Base Training For 100km Example

The plan versus reality doesn’t always match.

For me the structure of a base training week would look like this:

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Long Run 30-42kmEasy 40-90minTerrain Run 3 hoursEasy 40-90minTempo Run 14kmEasy 40-90minEasy 40-90min
WeightsWeights

If you are using this as an example to follow you may want to change around the days. For me each week will vary because I do rotating shift work and don’t follow a normal weekly pattern.

I try to avoid scheduling the bigger runs on weekends as my kids have their sport on these days. There is an element of creativity that goes into finding ways to fit it all in. That is worth a post all on it’s own.

See you in the next post as I break apart more of my training.

Base Training For Runners

Base training for runners is more than lots of easy kilometres. Focus goes a long way. We need a good working definition of base training.

Definition

The point of base training is to develop a well balanced athlete capable of optimally responding to the stress of competition specific training.

Manage The Load

Care needs to be taken not to provide too great a stress. Too much intensity or high load can lead to:

  • increased injury risk
  • reduced immune response
  • early peak in fitness

No one wants to be injured or sick. An early peak in fitness can be costly for race day. Usually an early peak doesn’t reach the same heights as one you build up to properly. There is usually a performance slump following a peak performance.

Easy Miles

Lots of easy miles is the most common approach to base training for running. If that is all a runner does in base training it neglects other important requirements needed to develop a well balanced athlete.

A balanced athlete is better able to handle the specific harder competition training.

Low intensity training does not develop:

  • the different fast-twitch muscle fibres
  • specific neuromuscular recruitment patterns for fast running
  • connective tissues ability to handle high loads of fast running

Low intensity is important as it does develop

  • ability to tolerate higher training volumes
  • increased capillary and mitochondrial density in muscle
  • ability to recover from harder training

Most of your running in base training should be easy. It does provide most of what we want from base training. It doesn’t give us everything.

Include More

The solution is to include all fitness requirements throughout base training. Include some fast high intensity running, mix in strength training and some form of plyometric training. Enhance static and dynamic flexibility. Develop all aspects that contribute to aerobic performance including pure endurance, speed and tolerance at around anaerobic threshold and ability to handle VO2max paces.

The trick is to be careful with the loading of both individual session and a full week’s impact. A good rule of thumb is a session shouldn’t take more than one day to fully recover from. You should feel capable of repeating the session 2 days later. Keep the volume on high intensity training relatively low. A little bit goes a long way.

This doesn’t mean all runs and training will feel easy. Expect to be hurting during some training. You should still be extending yourself. Remember the key to base training is while you are pushing out your boundaries, you are shouldn’t be exceeding them by too much. We are aiming to push up our fitness set point to a new level.

We still need a good dose of easy running. This provides many of the benefits we are chasing while allowing us to recover quicker. Easy running should be the majority of training. It is the mainstay of base training. We need to leave room for some other training.

How do you fit together your base training for running?

Base training for runners is more than lots of easy kilometres. Focus goes a long way. We need a good working definition of base training. Definition The point of base training is to develop a well balanced athlete capable of optimally responding to the stress of competition specific training. Manage The Load Care needs to be taken not to provide too great a stress. Too much intensity or high load can lead to: increased injury risk reduced immune response early peak in fitness No one wants to be injured or sick. An early peak in fitness can be costly for race day. Usually an early peak doesn’t reach the same heights as one you build up to properly. Plus there is usually a performance slump following a peak performance.