Why Building a Base 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. It takes time, it’s unglamorous but it’s also necessary to stay healthy.  My plan was to begin base building two months ago, but life happened.  Oh well, better late than never.

So What is “Building a Base”?

Like building a house, laying the foundation is one of the most important things you can do for your training cycle.  Wheather you’re a new or seasoned runner, it’s important to put in those easy miles.  Personally, I will spend about a month running easy and building mileage. 

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.

Building a base is important 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.  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).

The goal of base building 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:

Thinking out loud, for the first two weeks (last week and this week), my runs will be almost exclusively easy.  The only goal is to dedicate 45-60 minutes getting out there.  Confession: I use my Fitbit start/stop watch on my runs, and it works well. The GPS is mediocre, so I don’t pay attention to it. (Fitbit told me I ran 8 miles at Broad Street in 2016 and I can assure you I’m not a cheater).

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 probably not.  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 most runners.  Without a strong base, you’re more susceptible to injury.

In take away, 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.

Relevant Running Related Articles:
How Easy is it to Get Out of Running Shape?
Why a Running Break is Necessary
Why You Should Take a Rest Week

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

Advertisements

Workouts: Uncomfortable Zone Week 2

I’m in the uncomfortable zone part 2…

Last week, I opened my training blog that I was uncomfortable with running and this week I feel the same.

I mean being uncomfortable in the best way possible.  I’m slowly starting to feel good with running. Of course, I don’t want to jynx myself, but I’m starting to regain confidence.

I haven’t picked out any goal races but have picked out a few races in the future I might sign up for.  Of course, two weeks hardly justifies ready for anything.  I don’t expect to PR for several months, but each race will serve their purpose as a workout towards future goals.  Two years ago, I raced my way into shape and enjoyed that concept.  It led me to my still standing, Carlsbad half marathon PR.

Moving forward, this week I felt mentally good.  Physically, my calves have been noticeably tighter in the last week, and I’ve tried to make time to see my PT/ART specialist: Dr. Kemonosh (and no, they are not paying me to say that).

Monday: 45 minutes easy/15 minutes core
Tuesday: 45 minutes easy
Wednesday: 45 minutes easy
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 45 minutes easy/ART Dr. Kemonosh
Saturday: 45 minutes easy/15 minutes core
Sunday: 70 minutes easy (8.5 miles)

Between: 33-35

Obviously, this is a quite boring training log.  I’m not going on pace, time, or even distance.  I’m not doing workouts and didn’t race. I would rather be boring and healthy versus exciting and injured.  Not that you can’t be interesting and healthy, however, building mileage is usually boring.

Getting back from April has been a slow progression with running.  This has been the first time I’ve attempted to really come back from a break and not felt good.  It’s also the first break I’ve had not related to an injury.  Typically coming back from any injury, when I begin running, I feel great.  This hasn’t been the case.  It’s taken a lot longer to adjust to running and I’m still adjusting.

Progression:

Week 1: 31-33 miles

Week 2: 33-35 miles

Other than that, not too much going on with training.  Life itself has been going well.  I’m still busy with work, but that will slow down soon as a couple of projects I’m working on finish up in the next couple of weeks.  As that slows down, my Running Store job will pick up with cross country, marathons, and fall training.  It will still open up some morning time to run as well.

Posts from the Week:

Reflecting on 7 Years of Blogging

Visiting the Thomas Edison Historical Park

Questions for you:

Do you normally follow the 10% rule when building mileage?

How long does it usually take you to get back into shape?

How Easy is it to “Get Out of Running Shape”?

I am not in peak running shape.  In fact, I am still a healthy and active person, but I’m not “in shape” right now either.  Thinking out loud, one could argue being “in shape” is actually just a gray area.  Just like fast and slow, elite or not.  One person’s “in shape” is another person’s out.

It takes a long time to lose running fitness.  You don’t lose fitness with a day or even a week off.  In fact, the benefits of rest far outweigh any small consequences.  You could argue the benefits of taking 1…2..or 3 months off of training too.

This is the longest I have taken off from seriously running since starting in 2011, and I’m okay with that.

So Back to the Question: How Long Does it take to Lose Fitness?

Something I learned a while ago is there are two “types” of fitness:

  1. Aerobic fitness which is essentially your endurance!
  2. Structural fitness which is the ability of your body to withstand the impact of running. (Essentially why you can’t go from not running to running 10 miles all of the time without an injury…)

Both are equally as important, but they are both different.

Aerobic Fitness:

For most runners, it takes between 1-2 weeks of full rest (doing zero things) to lose fitness.  Doing any cardio whether it’s biking, elliptical, swimming…whatever will keep your aerobic fitness going.  Since I’ve been doing random things, I haven’t lost 100%.  To be realistic, I’ve probably lost about half.

There are many factors of how fast you lose your aerobic fitness.  For instance, the longer you’ve been doing something, the longer it takes to lose that fitness.  Someone who ran for a month and stops, loses fitness much faster than someone who has been running for a decade.

It’s also important to note you can’t be in peak fitness forever and you shouldn’t try too.  If you never take time off, your body will get hurt, and you’ll be forced to take time off.  Which leads us to structural fitness!

Structural Fitness

We all know I’m injury prone, so this is the fitness I care personally more about.  You can regain your aerobic fitness with proper training and build up.  You cannot recover your body once you have permanently damaged it.  Structural fitness is what keeps your body healthy and injury free.  It can take months to years to gain this type of fitness, but at the same token, it can take months to years to also lose it.

When you don’t use certain muscles, your body loses them.  (This isn’t limited to running.)  As many readers know, I swam for nearly 15 years before starting running.  If you asked me to swim now…well…LOL.

Even if you choose to stop running entirely, doing a little bit of strength can keep those muscles stronger.   When returning to running, it’s important to watch and monitor your body.  Don’t go out for a long run your first week back.  Don’t jump into old training methods and don’t expect your body to be as strong for the activities you were once doing.

Ease slowly into running to build strength as well as function in your muscles.  It can be difficult (yes even for me!), but it definitely keeps you more injury free.

In short, fitness isn't built in a day and it's also not lost in a day.  Your fitness journey spans the course of your life and it's important not to get caught up in a single week, month or even year.

Related Posts:
Racing My Way to Fitness
Quick Core Ideas for Runners
Five Tips for Coming Back after an Injury
The Importance of Easing Back into Training

Questions for you:
How often do you take rest periods?
When was the last time you fully rested? 

July Workouts

Where to begin about July?

Maybe with a LOL.

Weekly workout logs are one thing but reflecting upon a month of no real “training” is weird. Am I a runner? Am I a running blogger?  Do I just Instagram?

In June, I had all of the intentions to start running again.  Life happens and that went on the backburner.  Am I cool with that?  Yes, my body is just resting from heavy training a lot longer than I ever imagined.

At this point, I’m barely able to keep record of my own training log.  My running might be like a bad train wreck you may or may not be able to look away.  That’s cool though, I’ll get back to serious training and crushing PRs at some point soon in my life.  While I said this last month, I do anticipate August to be busy and September, not as much.

Moving forward, the month of July was laid back as far as training went.  I ran when I could.  I was able to run more outside than I previous ly anticipated but nothing more than 5 miles.  In fact, I think the last time I ran more than 8 miles in a row was before April.

First and foremost, I am happy.  Life is going fine and I’m enjoying everything that has kept me busy.

Something I did not anticipate, is it is hard to explain not wanting to run.  When I tell someone I’m not running, they immadiately ask if I’m injured.  Followed with am I pregnant. I’m not injured, pregnant, or whatever else.  I

I’m not injured, pregnant, or whatever else.  I prioritize other things and when I’m not busy volunteering and working, I’m living life.

I could wake up at 4, go for a run and be out my door between 5-6.  Be gone for anywhere between 10-14 hours.  Then come home and do it again.  But honestly, that doesn’t sound pleasent and I still wouldn’t be training well.  So I choose not to.

July Stats: 
Miles Run: 90 (about, my Garmin is now on 3 months of not being charged)
AlterG Miles Run: 30
Cross Training Sessions: 4
Favorite Workout:
Hiking Stairway to Heaven

Posts from the Month:
How to Choose the Best Running Shoes (For You!)
Hiking the Stairway to Heaven
Staying Fit While Not Training
Brooks Ghost 10 Shoe Review
Staying Prepared on Long Days
Running on the AntiGravity Treadmill

Personal: 
Flying through NYC
27 Facts about Me

Goals of August:

I posted on twitter but I want to jump into a local 5k this month.  I haven’t picked one out and I don’t expect any miracles but I would like to just run a race and get my feet back in the water.  Now, that I’m more aware of my schedule I also plan to consistently run.  I’m hoping I can begin to build a base.  My goal is to run 45 minutes/5 miles most days.

Questions for you:
How was your training in July?
Are you getting ready for anything? 

 

Workouts: I Did Them…

Another week of workouts of down…

And another week of summer in the books…

I feel like this summer is the most “nonsummer,” summer I’ve ever felt.  I have yet to go to the beach and have yet to do anything all that “summery” minus (hiking).  I guess that is adulthood.

This week and the next two are going to keep on picking up with work and life.  I won’t be able to do a lot of new and exciting fun stuff, but I will be working and hopefully getting a few runs sprinkled in.  The month of August is going to be busy in general.  I’m okay with that though.  Like the last 5 weeks, I’ll do what I can do.  Text can’t always paint the right story, but I’m not bitter about not running, I just can’t run right now.

I keep blogging because life isn’t always about cranking intense miles.  Life also isn’t about running high mileage and it’s also not about taking a 100% break.  As competitive runners, you can run less or low mileage and be fine.

Monday: 4 miles easy
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 4 miles easy
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 1 hour Alter G
Saturday: 4 miles easy
Sunday: 6 miles easy

In all, I felt good.  I’ll have a full month of workouts recap tomorrow.

Posts from the Week:
How to Choose the Best Running Shoes (For You!)
Hiking the Stairway to Heaven

Questions for you:
What was your best workout last week?
Are you training for anything? 

How to Choose the Best Running Shoes (For You!)

As someone who works in a running shoe store, I can tell you I’ve personally fit about 1000 people for running shoes, and I’ve watched hundreds more be fit too.

Searching for your own personal shoes can be tough.  What do you look for?  How do you know when they are “right”?

When searching for running shoes, I always advise people to get fitted at their local running store.  Thinking out loud, people that work in a running store have seen dozens of brands, styles, and companies. Plus they know shoes well.  That being said, you know your feet.  You know what feels most comfortable.

Most people come in and have no idea what to look for in a running shoe. 

The short answer: Does it feel good? 

Yes, then it’s the right shoe for you.

No?  Then it’s not the right shoe for you.

The Long Answer:

Here are some important details you should look for in shoes.

Size (Length): 

I cannot emphasize this enough.  Do not buy your shoes too small.  During the day, your feet can swell and lengthen anywhere from a half-full size.  This is magnified during running!  Always make sure there is a thumb’s width of space between your biggest toe and the end of the shoe.

Yes, your feet lengthen over time and age so make sure you get your measured frequently.  After putting your shoes on, make sure you can wiggle all of your toes.  If you can’t the shoe is too tight or too narrow.  This brings us to point number 2.

Size (Width): 

The width of a shoe is one of the most underlooked aspects of a shoe.  Most running specialty stores carry at least wide if not double wide!  Do not be scared to go into a wider shoe.  If you are getting holes on the side of your shoe from your pinkie toe, this could be a sign the shoe is too narrow.  Having extra room is always better than not enough.  I never knew I needed a wide until working at the store.  Now, I love it.

Heel: 

In any running shoe, your heel should feel both snug and secure.  It should never feel tight.  If you feel as though you are “slipping,” lace your shoe to the final eyelet. This will you’re your heel more into place.  Some shoes are cut lower than others but make sure you’re comfortable in the cut of the back too.

The heel should never feel tight, but there can be a little bit of movement.  If the heel feels uncomfortable in the store, then it won’t feel good while running.

Feel:

You can be fit into the appropriate shoe but it doesn’t feel good, it doesn’t.  How a shoe feels to you is one of the most important aspects of the shoe.  You want a shoe that feels natural.  You don’t want a shoe that “you’ll have to get used too”.  Don’t get a shoe to alter to your stride because that can create many more issues.  Running Stores recommend taking the shoe for a quick run in the store.  That initial few steps often can tell you an immediate yes or no.  Also, most running stores have an exchange policy to work with you.

With so many different shoes out there, it can be hard to figure out which one is “best for you”.  Remember, there is no right or wrong answer but only what feels good and keeps you injury free.

Other Running Store Topics:
Thoughts While Working at a Running Store
How to Get the Most Shopping at a Running Specialty Store
Should You Wear Running Shoes Outside of Running?
How to Find the Perfect Pair of Running Shoes
There is no Perfect Running Shoe

Questions for you:
What is your current favorite running shoe?
When was the last time you bought running shoes?

Workout Log and Rambles

Another week of boring running in the books…

That’s one-way to start a post right?  If you live on the East Coast, you know last week was extremely hot and humid.  I would love to tell you I missed seriously training in the weather, but I didn’t.  Training in the 90s doesn’t appeal to me.

On a life standpoint, I do feel like the heat really takes it out of me. During the last few years, I used to be fine in the heat, but this summer I’m exhausted almost every single day I come home!  I’m thinking about joining the local neighborhood swim club for the month of August, just so I can soak up some Vitamin D while being lazy in the evening.  (That should go in a training log right?)

To be honest, each week I contemplate not writing a training or workout log.  I’m not exciting, I’m basically running easy, and nothing is ever eventful.  Heck, I’m not even cross training much right now.  I feel like maybe I should even give up for a while on the runner and healthy living and blogger track.  It doesn’t help that many runners only post training on Instagram anyway now.

But here I am, still blogging.  Which is probably where I will stay. I’m still busy with work, volunteering, and life.   This post probably takes about 30 minutes at the most so somehow I keep writing it. Plus it’s not like I’m running while eating breakfast…

Enough of my rambles:

Monday: 30 minutes running
Tuesday: 1-hour AlterG (75% body weight)
Wednesday: 30 minutes easy
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 30 minutes easy
Saturday: 1 hour AlterG (75% body weight)
Sunday: 30 minutes easy

I could tell you that cross training is important and doing strength good will keep you injury free, blah blah blah.  I know these things, but right now I’m not prioritizing any of it.  As I mentioned on Thursday, I’m trying to do something active most days.

Don’t get me wrong, I am loving life, but running is just not a priority right now.  

Posts from the Week: 
More Hiking and Running
Flying around NYC
Brooks Ghost 10 Shoe Review
Staying Fit while Not Training

Questions for you:
Why do you blog?  I ask myself this often.  In the last 6 years, I think there are still maybe 2 bloggers I follow that still blog.  It’s not my full time, and I’m not even that exciting.
How was your week of training?