Why Base Building is So Important for Running

Right now, I’m running easy.  As I mentioned in my recent training log, I’m building a strong foundation and base. Base building is important for running and training. It takes time, it’s unglamorous, but it’s also necessary to stay healthy.  I planned to begin base building two months ago, but life happened.  Oh well, better late than never.

Why Base Building is So Important for Running

So What is “Building a Base” and Why is Base Building Important for Running?

Like building a house, laying the foundation is one of the most important things you can do for your training cycle.  Whether you’re a new or seasoned runner, base building is important for running.

Personally, I will spend about a month running easy and building mileage. I don’t care about pace, just that I’m getting out there.  During base building, I’m not pushing it or doing workouts.

Base building is important for everyone.  If you skip building a running base, you might find yourself injured or overtrained. Many injuries, like stress fractures or muscle problems, occur over time.  If you skip base building, you might feel great at first but be injured later.  Injury prevention is a huge reason base building is important for running.

While running, you should be able to talk and have a conversation during the entire run (which should be anywhere between 75-85% of your total effort).

Base building is important for running, but the goal isn’t speed; it’s building aerobic fitness.  In the last 2 weeks, I’ve worn a GPS watch once (for distance measurement).  I’m fairly certain most of my runs average anywhere from 9-10 minute pace, but I don’t find the need to track every mile. In fact, I couldn’t care less about pace.

How I’m Planning to Build My Base:

For the first two weeks (last week and this week), my runs will be almost exclusively easy.  Base building is important for running but pace is not. Just time on your feet. The only goal is to dedicate 45-60 minutes of just getting out there. A stopwatch works well and can help you track time versus mileage.

For the following two weeks, I will continue with 45-60 minute runs, but I will also include a longer run that will peak around 10 miles. After a few weeks of building back mileage, I might jump into a local 5k to test my fitness.  This could actually be at the end of this week or maybe next.  Will I PR?  No. Will I get a good indication of where to go from there? Yes.

This isn’t a training plan, and I’m not a coach.  Base building is important for runners.  Without a strong base, you’re more susceptible to injury.


The point of base building isn’t to race mileage or run your fastest mile.  It’s to lay a foundation so you can incorporate speed work.  Without a strong base and foundation, your training will crumble. Base building is important for running for so many reasons, the most important being injury prevention and to set yourself up for speed later.

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Questions for you:
How long do you typically build your base?
Do you prefer longer easy runs or short, fast workouts?