You may be asking yourself today “How do I develop a successful running base, so I can run faster for a longer period of time?”
Great question! In this post I aim to get to the heart of the matter as I share with you exactly what you need to know instead of bullshiting your way to starting line, like most people do.
Be a Morning Runner
Put running first on your daily agenda. “People who start to run early in the morning get the feeling of accomplishment so much before others have even stepped out of bed. The early morning rush of endorphins will help energise the rest of your day. Make sure you don’t forgot to log those few miles for the day using your favorite running app. I like to use Strava, but there are many to choose from inside the Google app Play Store.
Make it a good Habit
It’s best to take running slow to start with. So start with one or three days per week, so you have enough recovery time. To help stay motivated, make sure you get to bed on time the night before an early morning shakeout run.
Day before Training & Racing
The day before a race is something you want to consider seriously! Lay all your clothes, shoes, water bottle and gells out the night before a race. This includes any reflective gear to eliminate excuses and get out the door quickly. Make sure you have well hydrated yourself the day before so you can run to the toilet before heading out.
All habits may feel like a shock to start with, so resetting your body clock in the morning might require a little longer than most to sink in (3 – 5 consistent weeks). Start this habit in the spring, when the weather and darkness are less likely to interfere. I. E. (Morning runs aren’t always right for everyone, so re-evaluate after a month or two)
Build Strength Regularly
Building muscle improves your health, reduces injury risk, and improves your running performance, which is always worth it for the long-term. Across 26 studies of endurance athletes, strength-training programs (either plyometrics or heavy weights) boosted fitness, increased efficiency, and reduced runners’ times in 3K and 5K races.
Because people are at different levels of strength (age & ability) it’s best to develop your own strength six exercises. Start with two for each of your major muscle groups (upper body, core, and lower body), with one working the front side (say, planking) and one the back side (bridges).
A classic example of strength training with weights in the below image.
Percy Cerutty and World Champion Miler – Herb Elliott (Training in Portsea, Victoria, Australia)
You can work strength into your daily workouts! A good example would be, run two miles or 5 kilometers, then do three sets of 15 one-legged squats, mountain climbers, planks, and push-ups. For best results, strength-train later in the same day as your more intense or longer running workouts, allowing a full day of recovery in between hard sessions.
Start Cross-Training Today
Triathletes are pro’s when it comes to cross training because they have to do 3 sports! (Swimming, cycling & running)
Once you have a steady running habit, workouts like swimming, cycling, and rowing can boost your fitness. These are low-impact forms of exercise and can help regenerate muscle soreness from previous intense workouts. By engaging different muscle groups in the body, this may align muscle imbalances you may have and yield a stronger, more well-rounded running physique.
Treat cross-training like an aerobic recovery day; schedule it after hard running days and keep your effort level low enough to carry on a conversation.
Tempo Runs/Hill Workouts
By adding at least one tempo run and hill run workout to your training schedule your threshold and endurance will improve on a monthly basis.
How do you know what your tempo pace is? The best way to calculate your tempo pace is to first run a 10km race or time trial and then add 15-20 seconds onto the average kilometer rate for that race. For example, say I completed a 10km race in 40min, my average pace would be 4:00/km.
Now that I know my race pace is 4:00/km for 10km, my tempo pace would be 4:15-4:20/km because I have added the 15-20 second gap. This will help you run at a medium to hard effort during your training so you don’t get bogged down with just slow running.
There are 2 apps that I love to use to help me know what paces I should be training at! They are McRun and Pace+, which can be installed on your phone for easy access. The McRun is a paid app for a small amount of about $5.00 to purchase, but the Pace+ is free. Knowing your pace zones between easy and hard efforts is key to building a solid base for the future of your running.
Eat More Healthy Vegetables
Diet is still an important part to recovery and fueling your body, so it can’t be overlooked.
High-quality carbohydrates are needed to power your workouts, and their antioxidants help you recover more quickly. Vegetables are essential for a runners diet, which also keep you regular and the benefits last long after you cooldown. Each daily serving of veggies may help reduce your risk of early death by about five percent, according to a study from BMJ.
Dynamic Stretching Warm Ups
Dynamic movement stretches are designed to take a joint or a muscle through a challenging and repetitive motion, moving a body part further with each repetition. Reducing hip stiffness prior to starting a run or ride will reduce the risk of the dreaded overuse injury. Dynamic stretching is ideal prior to exercise to prepare the joints for movement and muscles for optimal activation.
Running Naked Helps
No, I’m not talking about that kind of naked, LOL!
I am talking about running without a GPS watch or music player while you run.
By ditching the GPS it will help reconnect you with your natural pace and breathing rhythm. You will gain a feeling of what conversational pace feels like and how your breathing should sound like when feeling more relaxed. By running without these distractions you will appreciate your surroundings more! This kind of running is best suited for a recovery run or easy long run. If you even know the amount of miles you covered, you can always log it down as a manual entry in your favorite running app.
Add a Long Run Each Week
Efforts of an hour or longer build will help boost endurance, grow capillaries that carry nourishing blood to your muscles, strengthen bones and ligaments, and prepare you for races of any distance. New runners first need to focus on running regularly, three or four times per week and then building up to an hour on one of those runs.
Designate one day a week as your long day, even if that means 30 minutes of run/walk instead of your usual 15. By adding 10% extra distance to your long runs each, you will improve your endurance over the next few months of running.
Recover Well with Sleep
Building a solid base also means getting the right amount of sleep!
Recovery is important factor to consider with any form of base training. Everything throughout the day can seem much worse when you don’t have enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep permeates your running, your work life, your family and even other relationships. You need to let your body and mind recharge, repairing the damage done from hard training. This will help release human growth hormones and strengthen connections between nerves and muscles.
A good sleep pattern you will help maintain muscle glycogen storage, reduce injury risk, moodiness and even heart disease. Most people need six to nine hours per night!
Develop Mental Strength
Never underestimate the power of your mind and body connection. What you tell yourself in training and on race day is what your body will believe. So many races come down to mental toughness–and if you’re not training your brain along with your body, you should start now.
Work On Your Strengths
You may be working too hard on your weaknesses! I found that the key to successful running can be more complicated than just trying harder. You should work on your weaknesses, but recognize there are limits to how much better you can become. Say you’re a better hill runner or longer runner then other people you know; You need to find ways to optimize those particular areas in your training so can become the master of that. It’s those 1 or 2% forms of optimization which can make the difference on race day.
More mileage doesn’t necessarily mean better racing! Smart training leads to smart racing, which equals personal bests.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this post on how you can develop your base running so it can make you a fitter and stronger runner. If there are any points you would like to add to this post, feel free to comment below and I’ll get back to you.
If you have other techniques you have recently used to develop your base to a whole new level, let me know! Cheers, Julian