Start building your base now for faster race times this Spring. Base-building is the first step towards peak performance. A good running season starts with a strong aerobic base.

 Base miles set the tone for the rest of training because it teaches the body to burn fat. As runners gradually increase the long run, they build aerobic strength, which pumps blood more efficiently leading to more power and speed. A strong aerobic base decreases the risk of injury later on by strengthening muscles and connective tissues. Together, this all prepares the runner for more strenuous training and racing later in the cycle.

 Ben Rosario, the head coach of Northern Arizona Elite, states, “Aerobic endurance is the key to everything else in running. You can’t get the most out of the hard repeats, hill workouts, and tempo runs until you’ve built the base to handle them.”

Many runners find base-building to be their least favorite part of training, but the mental focus it takes to find enjoyment in long, slow runs will pay o on race day. A race takes extraordinary discipline and mental toughness, and if you’ve done it in training, you can be confident about reaching your race day goals.

 Building your base means long easy to moderate runs where your heart rate is 60% of your max heart rate. Your weekly mileage gradually builds in distance, including a long run. This doesn’t mean cutting out all speed work; it is okay to incorporate some strides and strength work, but your major focus should be on building endurance at an easy pace. The pre-season or base-building period is the perfect time to add in some upper/lower body and core workouts. Building full-body muscular strength will help you maintain good running form and prolonged endurance throughout training.

 As you start dreaming of race day, get out the door and log some long, slow miles for a while. Be disciplined by building the strength and endurance you need first, and then the speed will come when you need it most. Happy Running!

Rachel Randall is the go-to girl for all marketing, media, and events at Fleet Feet Sports. She has run more marathons that she can count, including the 2017 NYC marathon in November.

Do you have questions about getting started or finding a plan to work for you? Stop in and talk to anyone on our staff. We’ll be happy to help!