Base Training: Phase 1

Now that the Race For Life 10K is done, I don’t have any more races planned until the Brighton Half Marathon in February. This will be my first half marathon and I want to get the training right so, rather than jumping straight into a late summer or autumn 10K (which is very tempting right now), I’ve decided to focus on base training for the summer months.

What Is Base Training?

The idea of base training is to build a strong foundation before the race specific training begins. The main objective is to get into a regular running habit and build up some distance, as well as working on pace and technique.

I’ve planned out my base training in three phases, each with a specific focus: phase one is all about getting out there and running regularly while working on maintaining a steady pace to build up aerobic endurance; phase two will introduce some hill repeats to build up strength; and phase three will include running longer intervals to further improve endurance. Each phase will last for four weeks, with three sessions every week, except for the fourth week where I will reduce the training load to encourage recovery.

It’s all a bit of an experiment really, but with more than six months to go before my next race, now seems like the best time to try something new.

Today’s Run

2014-07-07_OverviewSo, with my new training schedule in place, I headed out this morning for my first run, a 30 minute easy run at a pace of 6:45. As I’ve been doing a lot of run/walk/run recently, I figured that setting myself a fairly easy pace would give me the confidence to keep running and not take walk breaks. And it worked!

I managed to run the whole 30 minutes without any problems. In fact, the only problem was keeping the pace down.

The old me wouldn’t have worried about this and would have changed her mind about the purpose of the run half way through, ditching the 30 minutes to push for 5K and a PB. But today I didn’t do that. Today I stuck to the plan and tried to keep the pace slow and easy.

Why did I do that? Well, I figured that one of my problems with sticking to a training plan is that I tend to push too hard on most of my runs, resulting in fatigue, slow recovery and having to skip a run or two to build my strength back up.

So, although today’s run wasn’t fast, it wasn’t about being fast. It was about laying the first brick to start building a solid foundation and a regular running habit before the hard training begins. Let’s hope it works!

Do you include a base phase in your training? What types of workout do you use in your base training? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


6 thoughts on “Base Training: Phase 1”

  1. Way to think about your base training as the strong foundation that will get you to the end of 13.1 miles [half marathon distance]! I have run 5 half marathon races [and plenty more training runs of that distance or more] in the past two years and especially this spring. The trick is to avoid going out too fast to burn yourself up in the early miles so that you have enough left in the tank to give the later miles. I always try to maintain a consistent pace throughout, yet I know some prefer to strive for negative splits — a faster last half than first half of the race. Good luck with your training!

    1. Thanks LeAnn. I’m really going to have to work on my pacing for this one as I have a tendency to go out too fast – not such a big deal for shorter races, but for 13.1 miles it could be a disaster if I don’t learn to rein it in.
      Still, there’s plenty of time to practise between now and February. 🙂

  2. Wow, this is a great plan to build up speed and endurance for the actual Half training! I’ve got about 3 weeks before my Half training starts so I’m doing what I call ‘maintenance runs’ until then. And just today I did exactly what you said…I started too fast and I paid for it in the back half. I may have put a few hill repeats into my ‘maintenance runs’ since that’s what gives me the most trouble.

    Thanks for the great ideas…Go YOU!!!

    1. Thanks Sharon. Those maintenance are so important, not just for keeping things ticking over, but also in terms of trying out new things and without the pressure of the training plan.
      Hills give me a lot of trouble too. I love running up and down them; just can’t keep it going for long enough to get to the top. 😉

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