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You be the Coach: How Much Base Training is Enough?

Are you familiar with periodization? It’s a geeky term that simply means training should have several different periods leading up to a goal race.

When I explained how to plan a running season, I briefly outlined what it looks like in graph form in this video:

The first phase of most training cycles is what many coaches call base training (also known as fundamental or introductory training).

Base training has two primary goals:

  • Build the aerobic base (i.e., your endurance) with a focus on increasing mileage and long run distances
  • Get the runner ready for more difficult, race-specific training later in the training cycle

Ultimately, base training is preparatory. It’s like learning how to read before taking a standardized test – it’s simply a necessary foundation.

I cover these concepts in much more detail in this article about the Maffetone Method.

Today, I want your opinion on scheduling base training.

Does Base Training “Carry Over?”

Recently Mark sent me an email:

I have a question about base training and the broader training cycle. My goal is to build a strong, solid base of miles for a couple of months before a 10k goal race. I’ll then have 6-8 weeks of highly specific training for that race, then a taper before the race.

Do I need to “re-base” a few months again before targeting a new race a few months after the goal 10k? Or would my “base” carry over into the next cycle?

This is a great question. And the answer can go in quite a few different directions.

I’m purposefully leaving this open-ended because the variety of answers will be much more valuable to Mark and the entire SR community.

So… what do you think?

Leave your response below in the comments. I’ll (try to) respond to as many as I can with my thoughts as well!

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