Why All Runners Need a Base-Building Phase

One workout that will greatly help both beginning and advanced runners is a running-in-place workout. This workout, which can be done once a week during your base-building phase, is most easily done on a track because accurate distance measurements are important.

  • Warm-up: Jog slowly for 1 mile
  • Run in place for 6 to 8 seconds. When running in place, keep shoulders relaxed, let arms swing naturally, and make sure your feet land straight under your chest
  • Stride for 100 yards
  • Walk 100 yards
  • Repeat the cycle of run-in-place, stride and walk for 30 minutes
  • Cool down for 1 mile
  • Can add 5 minutes each week as you progress

This workout will teach your legs to land underneath you. When you are running, think of Sir Isaac Newton: "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." When running with your feet landing directly under your chest, the force you apply to the ground will be pushed back up into your thighs and through your core. This results in a more powerful push-off for your running stride.

More: 5 Steps to Proper Running Form

Sample Two-Week Base Build 

Week One

  • Monday: Run 35 minutes
  • Tuesday: Run-in-place workout described above for 30 minutes
  • Wednesday: Rest day
  • Thursday: 1-mile warm-up, 6 x 200 yards with 100-yard walk for recovery, 1-mile cooldown
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: Run 45 minutes
  • Sunday: Rest day

Week Two

  • Monday: Run 40 minutes
  • Tuesday: Run-in-place workout for 35 minutes
  • Wednesday: Rest day
  • Thursday: 1-mile warm-up, 8 x 200 yards with 100-yard walk for recovery, 1-mile cooldown
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: Run 50 minutes
  • Sunday: Rest day You can see (above) the slight progression of time and intervals.

The main factor that will determine your base-building workout is the type of race you are planning to run. For example, a 5K base-building program will be different from a 10K. You can talk to a running coach, read articles or talk to other experienced runners to help you decide what base-building program is right for you. 

Remember: "No pain, no gain," should not even be a thought during your base training. 

More: 3 Ways to Build an Injury-Proof Foundation for Running

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