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Drills : The Foundation of Your Running
Unless you are a sprinter, base running drills
should be the core of your running program.
Base running is any type of "easy running."
It is literally the foundation of your running.
Compare it with a house:
strong foundation, the walls will start to crumble sooner or later
until, eventually, the house breaks down.
Have got the speed, but not the strong
Then it will not take long before you are out of breath
and eventually, have to slow down or stop.
That's why you will read in every running book, on every
running website and forum advice like:
"First build up your base"
"Base first, speed second"
"If anything, do your base running"
"The first four years of your running life, only
build your base"
So, let's explore base running a little bit more.
What is it exactly, why should you do it, what types of different base
running activities can you do, etc. Read on to learn more!
By the way... if you don't want to read, why don't you check out the
What is Base Running?
Base running is running slower
than tempo speed.
You are not or hardly building up any lactic acid
in your running muscles.
It's all about running easy.
The pace at which you'd be able to have a conversation, or even slower
It's almost completely aerobic running.
Why Exactly Should I Do Base Running ?
Well, with every heart beat your heart pumps blood through your body.
This blood contains oxygen, which is necessary for
the muscles to function.
When you are base running you train your heart, so that it will pump
more blood through your body with every beat.
So, more exercise = stronger heart = more blood
through your body = more oxygen delivered to your muscles
And, as science found out, the great thing about base running drills is
that they will do many good things for the running muscles as well.
Easy, slow enough running helps your muscles to:
increase the number of units which can process
learn to burn fat more efficiently
receive and process oxygen better
deal better with lactic acid
Base running = good for you!
And if you don't want to take my word for it, listen to Lorraine
Moller, winner of the bronze medal in the 1992 Olympics marathon in
Base Running Drills
Base Running Drill #1 : Long Slow Run
I, like most runners, do a weekly
long slow run on the weekends. Depending on where I am at
in my running program this is a run in between 90 minutes and roughly
Speed can be markedly lower than easy running, but can be easy running
pace as well. If you go by heart beat, you'd be running in Zone 1,
about 50 beats lower than your maximum heart rate upto Zone 2, about 40
beats lower than your maximum heart rate.
Running Drill #2 : Easy Running
This is the pace at which you
could maintain a conversation. In heart rate monitor
training you'd be going at about 40 beats lower than maximum heart
Base Running Drill #3 : Recovery Running
When your legs are tired from a hard workout the previous day, or
earlier that day, it is good to still go out and log some miles.
Running a bit has been proven to help against muscle soreness and you
add another few miles to your weekly total.
Speed is far
less important than just going out there and put yourself
through a few slow miles.
Also note that cross-training
is a good way to recover from a hard day of running.
Base Running Drill #4 : Steady State
Funnily enough you don't see many
running websites or running books nowadays which mention steady state running.
It is a pace in between
easy and tempo running. About 35 heart beats slower than
your maximum heart rate. Close to half marathon pace / marathon pace
for many runners.
I strongly believe that as a runner you should try to cover all running speeds
in your training. Each speed delivers its' own benefits. Steady state
running should be part of your running program.
Base Running Drill #5 : Including
And then there are also workouts which combine different types of
An example is the progressive
long run, in which you increase your speed as your long
Not technically a base running workout, but it combines easy running
and steady-state running with even faster running.
Many elite runners do these types of runs. They may do a two hour run
and start at a very slow pace and progressively build up the speed. The
last few kilometres may go as fast as 5k pace!
I like to refer to these workouts as RTYP-workouts: Run Till You Puke!
In marathon preparations it is good to do plenty of marathon pace runs.
At the start of your marathon running program you may do about 8 mile
marathon pace runs. Then build this up slowly over time to about 16
General rule of thumb is that if you can do a 16 mile marathon pace
run, and you have done all the other training, you should be able to do
the full marathon at marathon pace.
And then there are endless variations in which
you include some faster running in your long run. The general goal is
to combine the benefits of long runs with sharpening your race pace and
mental attitude. Running
fast with already tired legs is physically and mentally demanding.
1) TLT - Tempo-Long-Tempo: do a 15 minute tempo run,
60-90 minute long run, then finish with a 15 minute tempo run.
Long run with 3 x 3-6 minutes fast running inserted somewhere. Make
sure to include plenty of easy running between the faster parts. You
don't want this to become a full-blown interval session.
And I am sure you'll be able to think of a few variations yourself as
I hope this explanation about base running has made it clear to you why
base running is so important and how you do your different base running
Base running is super important. Other types of running are important
as well, so don't forget to visit these
pages as well:
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