What is a running base & why do you need one? I shared how I approach base training, but still avoid training burnout!
Before my training kicks off for the Boston Marathon in January, I’m working to build some base mileage so I’ll go into training a little better prepared to help avoid big jumps in mileage. (And hopefully avoid injuries as a result!) I’m feeling so good and so happy with my running lately, after being in a major funk with injuries most of the summer.
A running base is foundational level of mileage to prepare you for the intensity of a progressive training plan, including increasing mileage and intensity. Basically, you’re getting your body ready for the harder stuff, to help you prevent injury, burnout and to allow you to push harder.
It depends on your goal race and training plan, but it can be anywhere from 6-12 weeks. My Boston Marathon training plan last year had me start with a base of 30 miles per week. I was already at that mileage so I didn’t purposely build up to it. This year, coming off a plantar fasciitis injury and some sacrum problems, I definitely need to build a base. I’m doing about a 10-12 week build-up, hoping to be consistently at 40-45 miles when training kicks off.
While there are formal training schedules to build a base before marathon training, I’m not doing anything structured. I’m just increasing my long run by 1-2 miles each week and increasing one of my mid-week runs by about 1 mile. That keeps it simple and it also helps me avoid the mental burnout of being on a structured training plan for too long. (My Boston Marathon training plan is 18 weeks.)
Here’s what the first five weeks of my informal base training schedule looks like. I run 5-6 days a week and started with my long run at 9 miles. Midweek runs vary from 4 miles to 7.5 miles.
You’ll see how it gradually increases and ebbs and flows just a bit. I track nearly all my runs in Strava so I can look back at my training log and avoid potential pitfalls, like increasing my mileage too quickly or not taking enough recovery days.
M – 4.4 miles, 7:27 pace
T – REST
W- 7 miles, 7:42 pace
Th – 6.2 miles, 8:03 pace (including 3 miles of fartleks with Kelli)
F – 4.1 miles, 8:21 pace + short weightlifting session
Sa – 10.6 miles, 8:31 pace with Kelli, Clare, Carrie and Christian
Su – 4.5 miles, 8:07 pace
How I’m Feeling: Really good! My plantar fasciitis is a little more finicky than it’s been for the past couple weeks, so I need to continue to do all the things that helped it improve in the first place. I’m also trying to strength train 2-3x a week (on my own, not Crossfit, for various reasons)