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Base Building

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Post  Alex Kubacki on Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:08 am

After 7 marathons in 12mos I've taken about 6 weeks to recover. I've done nothing but easy runs with a handful of some slightly faster runs. I haven't gone longer than 10. I'm going to do a 12 this weekend.

Beginning next week I'd like to do about 8 weeks of base building before beginning a 16-week cycle for Bayshore. I haven't really done base building before. Is there a structure to it? Is there a percentage of miles to marathon training average you should do? Should speed runs be more like fartlek training or structured tempos/intervals/etc?

Thanks for any insight.
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Base Building Empty Re: Base Building

Post  Schuey on Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:52 am

Alex when I think of base building I think right off the bat as doing as much as possible in terms of mileage. Reason being is that for me base building should be mostly easy miles. Which in returns means the body is not being as beat-up as it would from doing more high intensity training runs such as Tempo and interval workouts.

Also the other thing that come to my mind is Arthur Lydiard! Which I have found has been great to follow for base building. Here is an example of what Lydiard recommends for base building with the time period being as long as possible before going into the other phases of actual training:

Now you will notice that this is all based on time but I have come up with a formulated chart for myself at different aerobic paces from easy to moderate to put it into mileage. Also wether the effort is easy to moderate all always attempt to run the aerobic runs at a steady pace. Another words if I'm running for an hour I want to run both 30 mins halves in the same time and finish my run at the same place I started it. If I get back to my starting point before I hit an hour I know I ran the second half of the run to fast and if I hit an hour before I get back to the my start point I know I ran the second half to slow. All about even effort throughout the whole run and by the way i feel that by doing it this way it also helps teach you a sense of effort and how to pace yourself.

Monday: aerobic run 1 hour
Tuesday: aerobic run 1 1/2 hours
Wednesday: Easy fartlek run 1 hour on hills if possible
Thursday: Repeat Tuesday's workout
Friday: jog(recovery) run 1 hour
Saturday: aerobic run 2 hours or more
Sunday: Repeat Tuesday's workout

He also has a lighter base building plan:

Monday: aerobic run 1/2 to 3/4 hour
Tuesday: aerobic run 1 hour
Wednesday: Repeat Monday's workout
Thursday: Repeat Tuesday's workout
Friday: Repeat Monday's workout
Saturday: aerobic run 1 to 2 hours
Sunday: aerobic run 3/4 to 1 hour


Now you could start with the second plan and then work to modifying the time in proceeding weeks. The one thing that I would definitely add in is the Fartlek workout. The good thin about the fartlek workouts is that one it helps add a little spice to the base building and helps remind the body and mind how to run faster but controlled. It is also a great workout to do during base building which will help be a great segway into doing the more traditional tempo runs as the training phase moves from base building into the next phase. I think that doing tempo runs all the time is not good but it is necessary to have some form of speed play in training so that you don't injury yourself when moving back to Tempo's and then into intervals.

Just my 2 cents on what has worked for me.
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Base Building Empty Re: Base Building

Post  Mike MacLellan on Fri Dec 09, 2011 12:24 pm

The key to "true" base building is that none of your runs should be at all strenuous. And I mean at all. Fartlek would be better than hills in early base, hills can come later in base.

Also, YOINK. That's the sound of me stealing that second plan for easing into my next training cycle (which looks a lot like the first plan, actually).
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Base Building Empty Re: Base Building

Post  Dave Wolfe on Sat Dec 10, 2011 6:49 pm

@Schuey wrote:

Also the other thing that come to my mind is Arthur Lydiard! Which I have found has been great to follow for base building. Here is an example of what Lydiard recommends for base building with the time period being as long as possible before going into the other phases of actual training:

Now you will notice that this is all based on time but I have come up with a formulated chart for myself at different aerobic paces from easy to moderate to put it into mileage. Also wether the effort is easy to moderate all always attempt to run the aerobic runs at a steady pace. Another words if I'm running for an hour I want to run both 30 mins halves in the same time and finish my run at the same place I started it. If I get back to my starting point before I hit an hour I know I ran the second half of the run to fast and if I hit an hour before I get back to the my start point I know I ran the second half to slow. All about even effort throughout the whole run and by the way i feel that by doing it this way it also helps teach you a sense of effort and how to pace yourself.

Monday: aerobic run 1 hour
Tuesday: aerobic run 1 1/2 hours
Wednesday: Easy fartlek run 1 hour on hills if possible
Thursday: Repeat Tuesday's workout
Friday: jog(recovery) run 1 hour
Saturday: aerobic run 2 hours or more
Sunday: Repeat Tuesday's workout

He also has a lighter base building plan:

Monday: aerobic run 1/2 to 3/4 hour
Tuesday: aerobic run 1 hour
Wednesday: Repeat Monday's workout
Thursday: Repeat Tuesday's workout
Friday: Repeat Monday's workout
Saturday: aerobic run 1 to 2 hours
Sunday: aerobic run 3/4 to 1 hour


Now you could start with the second plan and then work to modifying the time in proceeding weeks. The one thing that I would definitely add in is the Fartlek workout. The good thing about the fartlek workouts is that one it helps add a little spice to the base building and helps remind the body and mind how to run faster but controlled. It is also a great workout to do during base building which will help be a great segue into doing the more traditional tempo runs as the training phase moves from base building into the next phase. I think that doing tempo runs all the time is not good but it is necessary to have some form of speed play in training so that you don't injury yourself when moving back to Tempo's and then into intervals.

Just my 2 cents on what has worked for me.

Peter Snell (Lydiard's strongest runner) said years later, that a weekly tempo workout even during base-building is a good idea. But fartlek is similar to tempo work just a bit more unstructured. My neighborhood lends itself to hill circuits but I wouldn't go out of my way to find hills if I was a flat lander.

Miles and lots of them -- doubles if you have the time and energy.
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Base Building Empty Re: Base Building

Post  Dave-O on Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:04 am

@Mike MacLellan wrote:The key to "true" base building is that none of your runs should be at all strenuous. And I mean at all. Fartlek would be better than hills in early base, hills can come later in base.


Not to pick nits, but I disagree with this statement to a certain extent. I wouldn't say every mile needs to be "easy" in a base building phase. I think of a moderate aerobic run - like 10 miles at about 30 seconds slower than goal MP - to be somewhat strenuous. Its certainly more difficult than what I consider a recovery run.

In general terms, you should run as many miles as possible at a pace slower than tempo pace. I even think 1 tempo/fartlek run can be included each week during base phase with still keeping the integrity of the goal in tact.
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Base Building Empty Re: Base Building

Post  Alex Kubacki on Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:22 pm

Thanks for the responses. Two followup questions:

1. Do you do strides during base building or is that part of the fartlek/speed once a week thing and you don't start them until the cycle?

2. Would you cap the long run at a certain distance? It's not marathon training yet. The only reason I'm asking is between base building and the cycle could you overdo it with too many long runs and burn out before you toe the line?
I'm just asking as I don't know.

Thanks again.
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Base Building Empty Re: Base Building

Post  Julie on Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:14 pm

I don't know that I'd cap it but I'd make sure you're running at least 12-16 miles each weekend for your long run. That's just what I do in base/maintenance cycles, though. I'm definitely not an expert.
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Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:21 am

As for the long runs, I think Julie has it right. When I'm base building, I don't stress my body with runs over 15-16 miles. I also do not think a longer run is necessary during this period as this period is to build your endurance and get used to running again without too, too much stress. Now each of us is different, and someone of Dave's or Schuey's caliber might not be as stressed by longer runs.

As for striders, I think it is good to incorporate a few striders after an easy run 1-2x per week. It helps with leg turnover and I think they assist me in staying injury free.

Just my 2cents.
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Base Building Empty Re: Base Building

Post  Mike MacLellan on Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:40 pm

Agree with Michele. For me, a 15-16 miler would normally be just a shade over 2 hours during base. I think time might be just as important as miles at this point, since 2 hours on your feet is still 2 hours on your feet regardless of speed. And yes, strides or hillsprints - I really liked the latter for building up quad strength and stabilizing muscles. Build to 8-10x 8-10sec on a STEEP hill with 90-120sec recoveries (walking, until you're completely fresh).
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