A proper base training phase is more than just long, easy mileage.
Base training is not a new concept for most experienced runners, but it is one that’s often misunderstood. Perhaps you’ve read about it in a running magazine, or someone in your running club recently used it as justification for their poor performance.
“Oh, I’m in my base phase,” he explained. “So I don’t have any speed.”
While most runners think they’re well versed in the ways of base training — believing it is a period consisting of just long, easy miles — very few actually understand what it is and how to implement it correctly into their training program due to these long-standing misconceptions. In the last decade or so, however, a new appreciation for how the body adapts and responds to training has emerged that has reinforced some of the original, yet continually misunderstood principles behind base training.
In the following pages we’ll take a historical look at base training and dig deeper into how the concept is understood today. Also, we’ll look at some of the common misconceptions of base training, how these misconceptions came about, and examine solutions to help runners maximize aerobic development in the base phase.