What is Base Training
During preseason, a common phrase you’ll hear thrown around is base training. So what is it? In a nutshell, there are two main types of training: aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic training focuses on improving cardiorespiratory endurance. Anaerobic training focuses on increasing muscular strength and your body’s ability to buffer lactic acid in the body. So when we are base training, we are trying to keep our body in an aerobic state. Anaerobic training is still important to the endurance athlete, but for the sake of discussion, we will keep this to the base training and talk about anaerobic training in another article.
Your body needs to be trained to deliver sufficient oxygen to meet your active tissue’s needs over a prolonged period of time when training for an endurance event. The more oxygen your body can circulate, the longer you can exercise without fatiguing. Training your body to deliver more oxygen to the active tissues is called increasing your aerobic endurance. During the early phases of your training season, you should work on consistent running at or below your ventilatory threshold. In layman’s terms: run slow enough that breathing is easy, to the point that you could hold a conversation with someone throughout the duration of your run. This pace is commonly referred to “conversation pace” and you will see that the majority of your runs during a base training phase will consist of conversation paced runs.
During a well laid out base training phase, your splits become more even, you don’t “bonk” as often, can run stronger uphill, feel overall more comfortable and can move into training to increase other important areas like speed and strength with less likelihood for injury.