The Argument for Building a Base For Running (Now)

It doesn’t take a genius to know that we are in the middle of a pandemic.  Lives lost, businesses closed, and livelihoods broken—sports and racing fall in the least of priorities with that.

So? So, many fall races have already been canceled. While there are still many big fall races that haven’t been canceled…it’s more or less, “they haven’t been canceled yet.”

The Argument for Building a Base For Running (Now)

So Why Build a Running Base Now? Why Not Run Fast Workouts and Get in “Your Best Shape Ever”?

This post isn’t meant to be negative but a more realistic approach to running. Virtual races are awesome, but they can never be the same as in-person events. Plus, there is controversy on “should virtual races count as PRs”? To be honest, no one cares more about your running than you, so only you decide. Anyway-

As someone who loves racing for the social aspect, running virtual races doesn’t push me the same way.  Here are a few tips for running a faster virtual race.

This is the argument for building a base during the pandemic. Maybe all of the summer and maybe even all of 2020.

This isn’t the argument to never take a rest day or run 100-mile weeks, but it’s the argument about focusing on building a strong, consistent base.

What is Base Building?

Like building a house, laying the foundation for running is one of the most important things you can do for your training cycle. Whether you’re a new or seasoned runner, it’s essential to put in those easy miles.

Building a base is essential for everyone. If you skip a base, you might find yourself injured or overtrained quickly. Many injuries, like stress fractures or muscle problems, occur over time. They aren’t typically an injury that “happens out of nowhere.”

If you skip base building, you might feel great at first but be injured later. 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).

Why is Base Building a Good Idea Now?

Summer is traditionally a build your base, increase your running mileage, and endurance period. The weather is hot and humid and racing requires a lot of extra planning, fuel, and hydration.  Even if the world were “normal,” there wouldn’t be a lot of races happening in June, July, and August.

Now, we also have no idea when races when will happen. There might be a few in the fall; there might not be. We just don’t know. Our bodies can only take so much training in a year.  If you consistently build mileage, when the time comes, your body will be ready for faster workouts and speed. If you go all in now, you could end up burned out or injured by the time races come back.

My good friend Jen M. said, 

This might not be relevant to actual running, but it can be applied there. At the end of the day, we are all trying to survive the pandemic.  Whatever you choose to do, make sure you are enjoying your workouts. If you need a change, try something else like cross-training, strength training, or even rest! There is plenty of stress out there already and working out should not be one of them.

Here Are A Couple of Articles That Can Help You Learn More About Base Building:

What is “Base” Training?

What It Means To “Base Build” And How To Do It

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport.

Questions for you:

What is your running look like right now?

Have you been doing virtual races?