Back to the basics with Base Training…
This fall, I am enjoying building up my endurance and stamina. Taking a season to train without the pressure of looming races is actually very enjoyable, now that I am over the strange feeling of not gearing up for a specific race. I have my sights set on races in the spring and summer. My goal is to see improvements in my racing, after taking this time to increase my mileage and build my strength.
Base Training Focus
1. Increase Volume: I am making slow and steady increases in my mileage. Over the summer my mileage dropped as I increased my cycling and swimming in preparation for the Half Ironman. It is important to stick with the 10% increase rule: do not increase mileage more than 10% per week to prevent overuse injuries. Every fourth week, level off your mileage – no increase for a week (or even pull back in distance a bit during that fourth week) to allow the body to fully recover and rebuild, before increasing again the following week.
I have been steadily increasing my weekly distance from a low of 35km (the week after my target race) back up to 75km. This week my goal is 8o km. I am feeling great and glad to be getting more runs in again.
2. Weight Training: Base Training is a great time to focus on improving strength; this results in increased power for running and reduces the risk of injury. Focusing on core strength is huge for injury prevention. My staple exercises are planks, squats, lunges and abdominal exercises. I am also gaining upper-body strength from swimming.
3. Strides: Strides are speed pickups of short distances – usually 150m to 200m (max.). The idea is to teach your legs to turn over quickly and get ready to do later speed work. Simply adding 8 – 10 strides in the middle or the end of an easy run is a great way to prepare your body to run quickly.
4. Stretching: I want to develop a steady stretching routine for injury prevention! Yoga is the most enjoyable way for me to stretch, and ideally I would love to do a class per week. This has not been happening this fall yet. Goal: work on stretching in the coming weeks. I need more ideas to fit stretching into my life: stretch while watching a show; stretch while watching kids at swim practice… when else could I stretch?
A solid base of steady running is essential for marathon training, and a spring marathon is calling to me! It might be time to do that distance again. I had thought maybe my marathon days were over, but I am getting the urge to run another one!