Base Training - 2011

I have repeatedly referred back to my post from 2007, The Point Of Base. Despite being written more specifically for Ironman training, the main points I still think are completely relevant. It is why my Base training is not just about lots of slow kilometers. There's a little more to it. Some of the overall goals of base training include:

  • to develop the aerobic engine

  • increase exercise tolerance

  • enhance fuel metabolism

  • develop ability to go the distance

Overall I still summarise the main goal as:

To develop a well balanced athlete capable of optimally

responding to the stress of competition specific training

To achieve that goal this year, I need a little more detail.

First up I need to better define the goals of this period.

  • Make running for 3 hours comfortable

  • Become efficient and relatively fast at low effort levels

  • Develop the strength and structure to handle the next phases of training

They are still pretty general, and not very measurable. They need to be more objective.

Run For 3 Hours Comfortably

I will define this as being able to hold an intensity in the middle of my aerobic conditioning range (HR 132-154) which I will explain better at a later date, for the full three hours while easing into the run over the first 10-20 minutes. I would like the pace of this easy run to be around 5:00/km. The other criteria will be that I don't have an obvious slow down towards the end of the run (slight negative split would be ideal), it doesn't become a struggle and should leave me feeling quite capable of a moderate effort session the following day.

Efficient And Relatively Fast At Low Effort Levels

I am using the Maximal Aerobic Function (MAF) test. Measured over a 8.4km mainly flat course, with some undualations. It is the same course I have used over the last few, I now start and finish at a different point along route since moving house. While I don't completely agree with all the reasoning and recommendations behind the MAF test and training, it does provide a good reference point. Essentially it should still indicate my average pace at an intensity that should be at the top level at or just past where lipid (fat) utilisation is maximal. A more thorough explanation of this concept can be found in Training And Fat. While there is a bit more to a successful marathon beyond just getting good at running quickly at this intensity, there isn't a successful marathon without that ability. The hope is I can get the MAF pace down to 4:15/km or faster.

Strength And Structure To Handle The Next Phases

There are quite a few elements to this goal. It means I need to set up my body to be able to handle and respond positively to the loads I am going to throw at in the Threshold and Specific phases of training. For the most part I believe I know my body and how it deals with training. Despite not listening to it many times in the past, I still think I can keep on track here. So by the end of Base, I will expect to be able to perform the following:

  • Be able to run 3 hours comfortably, and be able to back up 1 hour runs the next 2 days

  • Be able to run every day, without accumulating fatigue that feels like it requires 2 or more days recovery

  • Perform sprints and short fast running that has my legs feeling eneregised and not hammered

  • Feel comfortable at both aerobic conditioning and threshold intensities

  • See improvement in strength in the gym without it dropping the standard of my key runs

Now I just need a to get the structure down, do the training and details should follow naturally.


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