It’s all about that base – thanks Meghan Trainor! Right now, ‘tis the season for base building. Building a strong base is the best thing you can do for your spring PR’s. If you read my overview on training seasons, you learned about the importance of using this time to increase your aerobic fitness.
While we are building aerobic fitness, we are preparing the body for harder workouts that are coming. As our lungs are getting stronger, our muscles and tendons are getting stronger too. The temporary cut back in intensity for the seasoned runner will provide the much needed mental and physical recovery.
So What is the Goal?
For a seasoned runner between cycles, we want to decrease training intensity and weekly training volume. We want to allow for a full recovery once you have peaked in a training cycle. This brief period of downtime (4-6 weeks) will allow your body to reset. It will decrease your risk for injury and burnout.
Any type of race specific quality workouts should be removed from the training plan. At least 80% of your running during this phase should be easy, conversational pace. A maximum of 2 quality sessions can be completed per week but they should be at a MODERATE intensity. This is not the time to run your fastest 400 meter repeats.
Your first quality session will be your long run for the week. For half marathoners, this run can be between 6-10 miles. For marathoners, this run can be between 6-13 miles. Your long run in this phase of training should ALWAYS be run at an easy conversational pace. You second quality session if you choose to do one can be a fartlek run or a moderate steady state run.
Fartlek’s and Steady State Runs
Your first option is the fartlek run. I believe that these should be run as the translated name implies – Speed Play. That means unstructured. No intervals. Go out the door and pick random landmarks and vary the speed between easy and moderate. Find a friend (or a few) and take turns “leading” at a different pace. The only goal with this run is to get your legs turning over.
Steady State run – This would be a 20 minute run sandwiched between a warm up and cool down. It would be run at a moderate effort which would be between current half marathon to marathon pace (not future goal pace!).
How can you judge what a moderate effort is without using pace to define it? Use this rate of perceived effort chart.
Or use the talk test. If you can have a full on conversation, that is an easy pace. If you can speak a full sentence at a time that is moderate. If you can only speak a few words, you are in the hard effort range.
The next best thing that you can do as a runner is strength training! Sometimes it may be hard to keep up with strength training during a tough running cycle but this is the time to work on muscle imbalances while creating good habits. Body weight and/or light free weights is all that you need. If you have a mini band or a sling shot you get bonus points!
I would recommend working on a strong core and glutes. Your core and glutes control a lot of running related motions. When they are strong, you become a more efficient and faster runner. Here are a few of my top recommendations for quick workout routines:
Meet Lea Genders:
I found Lea through Instagram. We have come to find out that we have a lot in common from interests to our Pittsburgh and Dallas connections. She has her own fitness business and I really like the format of her workouts. Here are two of my favorites:
Nike + Training Club App
Here’s the rundown of my fav routines from the app:
Ab and Butt 2.0
Cut to the Core
Lifted by Lunges
Oiselle’s Dirty Dozen Core Workout