7 Running Experts on the Art of Base Building

Base Building Tip No.4: Tempo Runs
Matt Fitzgerald

"Tempo runs are sustained efforts at or very near anaerobic threshold intensity. They're a very effective means of increasing anaerobic threshold pace, and an even more effective means of increasing the amount of time you can sustain this pace before fatiguing.

"The basic tempo run format is about 20 to 40 minutes of running at a comfortably hard pace sandwiched between a warm-up and a cool-down. When tempo runs are first introduced in the training cycle, they should be short—20 minutes or little more. Gradually increase their duration from one session to the next."

More: Base-Building Tips from Matt Fitzgerald

Base Building Tip No.5: Chunk It Down
Christie Aschwanden

"Periodization divides a training cycle of, say, 16 to 20 weeks into phases, each with a specific goal, so you don't have to do every type of workout all the time. The phases allow you to combine the benefits of different workouts that collectively add up to peak conditioning. And they build variety into your training, which limits your chances of hitting a plateau or suffering from fatigue or injury.

"Nearly every elite runner uses periodization. The number, type, and length of phases can vary, but programs typically include a base, a preparation, and a peak period that lasts four to eight weeks, with each phase building on the previous one.."

More: Base-Building Tips from Christie Aschwanden

Base Building Tip No.6: Slow Things Down If You're a Newbie
Josh Clark

"If you are a beginner runner, you may want to hold off on introducing speedwork into your routine. You should have an established base of at least 20 miles per week before incorporating these "quality runs" into your schedule.

As with all your runs, you should start and finish your specialized sessions with easy running, preferably longer than the typical ten or fifteen minutes you might do before your normal training run. With all of these workouts, you're pushing your body close to its limits, and it's unwise either to start or stop suddenly.

More: Base-Building Tips from Josh Clark

Base Building Tip No.7: Keep Your Fartleks Fun
Don Kardong

"Fartlek, or speed play, is variable-pace running that emphasizes creativity. During a 30-minute run, choose objects to run to telephone poles, trees, buildings, other runners, whatever.

"Make choices that mark off different distances so your pickups vary in length from 15 to 90 seconds, and modify your pace to match the distance. If you're with a group, take turns choosing, sometimes revealing your choice ahead of time, sometimes not."

More: Base-Building Tips from Don Kardong

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