Do you ever feel like a crated puppy or a penned up race horse? This is how I’ve been feeling lately. The weather has been sunny and warm, I joined a new running group, I’m learning tons of new trails……..I just want to run!
Although, I crave to go out and run for hours each day, year round, I know that this type of training is not healthy and will most likely lead to an injury. Instead, I am using a cycle of different phases (Base, Build, Race, and Recover) to help me train for my “A” race (main race).
This first phase is known as the BASE phase. During this phase, I am running at a very easy (zone 2) pace, the mileage is very low (this is driving me crazy!!!!), and I am working on strengthening my body during this time with core exercises and yoga. This is also the time that I’m teaching my body to use fat as an energy source. It’s really a time to just sit back and enjoy the sport without working hard (the pro….. workouts are short and easy. I don’t tend to restrict myself from treats. The con……I feel like a sloth). Don’t get me wrong, I am very dedicated to this phase and won’t miss a workout unless I absolutely have to. This phase will last for 7 weeks. And next week is my last week in this phase…….yahoo! I say that, because I really love running and I would like to run more than this phase calls for.
As I was reading more about the base phase, I came across an article that describes the base phase…….“The base phase develops endurance, the foundation of any distance-running plan.” (Training Phases, an Article in Runner’s World)
And, I also came across a great description and explanation of the base phase in a blog entitled, “daily mile, a community blog.” Someone by the name of Caleb M. wrote an article about the base phase. This is the image he used and what he wrote about it.
“See the bottom there? (There’s) A nice big base of aerobic fitness. It’s kind of a big deal for a whole host of reasons:
- Improving your running economy
- Improving your cardiovascular endurance
- Building general strength
- Preparing your body for speedier workouts closer to race day”
By Caleb M. (daily mile blog)
So, the wider the base, the bigger peak you will have (faster times). It’s definitely worth creating a plan for a base phase, even if it takes a lot of discipline to go short and easy during this time. Plus, if it prevents injury by giving me time to strengthen my body, I’m not complaining. No one wants to get injured!
If you look back at my 2010 year, it’s a good example of someone not having a base phase and what can happen when you don’t take time off from racing to let your body rest and then resume with a conservative plan( base phase). I guess I missed the lesson on all these different phases. For some reason, I thought I could race and race and race and race.
This is what this year’s base phase looked like. Not a lot of mileage and most of the runs were at a very easy pace. Each week also included about 20 miles of cycling.
Now that I’ve almost completed the base phase, I can say………Let the BUILD begin!
Do you want to read more about the BASE phase? Here is a great article: