Base Training

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21/09/2003 at 20:05
I've just re-read all the postings on here.

What I want to know is why, after running for 4 years, I've only heard of this method since Pantman and Two Ton joined the forum?

I've been taking RW for most of that time, read plenty of useful articles, many of them several times over in different issues, but nothing on base building.

Even in the more `serious' British Runner, we get Horwill telling us to train less, albeit with some scientific theory and successful stories behind it. But no base building advice.

Having heard of base building and talking to more experienced runners at our club, they confirm that Oct, Nov, Dec in each year would involve little or no racing and hard training but getting in the miles in preparation for a spring marathon.

Thanks to Pantman and others for all the info. If RW wanted to improve their website they'd stick a link onto this thread and commission an article to counteract the rubbish of `Running less makes you faster'.

I'll go for a lie down now:)
21/09/2003 at 20:51
I'd like to have a go at this, but I notice that racing isn't really included. Would it work if I still raced once a month?
21/09/2003 at 22:20
Hilly, I think it would work better than doing the normal 3 speed sessions per week. I'm planning to just base build and do the odd race (well 4 in the next 3 and a half weeks).
22/09/2003 at 09:18
Agree with you there BR. A lot of the running books out there - e.g Bob Glover and the like - barely mention base training. Tim Noakes book was really the first place I found out about it.
22/09/2003 at 11:22
I'm also surprised that RW haven't done anything on this. I've been buying it for a couple of years now but there has never been an article on it as far as I recall.

Some running books allude to it rather than refer to it specifically, but the first time I've had in-depth discussion about it is on this thread ... just to reiterate others who have said what a good thread this is: I wholeheartedly agree. I think now that some of us have started base training it would be interesting to keep this going to see how we all get on.

I still have to buy a HRM but am planning to get the Windsor half (this Sunday) out of the way and resolve my foot problem first, which may involve needing to take a week off after Windsor to let the foot recover properly.
22/09/2003 at 12:58
periodisation has always been more of a cyclists' thing (and by extension, a triathletes' thing) than a runners' thing BR, for some reason

in runner's world's defence, on the 'train more run less' stuff, bear in mind that the majority of its business [probably] comes from couch potatoes with good intentions - that article seemed to say 'for absolute novices, moderate training is as good as harder training'... this actually seems logical to me

the article SHOULD have concluded 'but of course this ONLY applies to absolute novices like the people in this study'

22/09/2003 at 13:01
minkin - periodisation takes discipline and a long term view... RW's 'off the shelf marketing' is aimed to grab the attention of people who would rather 'run better by training less' or 'lose weight by eating more'

(personally i thought that one was the worst waste of column inches ever - eat bulky foods so your stomach feels full!)
22/09/2003 at 13:48
I hear what you're saying, Andy, and you're quite correct in saying that most people who start buying running magazines are beginners or couch potatoes with aspirations, so the magazine needs to market itself towards those groups.

However, I don't think it would do any harm for RW to attempt to strike more of a balance by keeping its dedicated and regular readership happy with a few more 'serious' articles aimed at those who are in it for the long haul.

And it wouldn't do any harm to emphasise to new runners the benefits to be gained by a long, steady period of building base rather than going straight into the types of programmes usually outlined in the magazine which incorporate several different types of training in one week - the approach that new runners tend to think they should be aiming at without having really conditioned their bodies fully to the rigours of running.

I've certainly been guilty of trying to fit in all the 'recommended' sessions each week without really having a clear idea of why I'm doing any of them or how they fit together into a whole package.
22/09/2003 at 14:19
Do lots of slow miles to get fit. Do some faster aerobic work to get faster. Do anaerobic work as the icing on the cake. Add a few smaller articles on alactic speed work, peaking, trials & tapering, race day tips. That's one issue!

The reason they do it the way they do it is £££££££££ - pure and simple.

Break's my heart to see 10-12+min/milers thinking they should be doing speedwork "'cos it's in the schedule".

It just won't do to say "it's a beginner's mag" as the advice is even WORSE when applied to those with no aerobic base.

RW have a lot to answer for...
22/09/2003 at 14:39
but that's not the point pantman

these potential subscribers just wouldn't buy it if the headlines said 'get fit, lose weight and run faster - following our 3-year programme that requires moderate self discipline'

that's why the silly atkins diet is so popular - these poor saps tell each other how they each lost a stone or whatever in the first two weeks while still gorging on most of their comfort foods (yes i know its all water and glycogen stores that they lose) and its precisely the easy answer they are looking for

and in RW's favour - anything is better than nothing, so whatever schedule a new runner might follow is incomparably better than doing b*gger all
22/09/2003 at 14:44
but yes of course i agree that runners world should have some stuff aimed at more serious runners... so much so that i very rarely buy it now, i prefer running fitness or a number of cycling mags, and 220
22/09/2003 at 14:55
Andy said, "these potential subscribers just wouldn't buy it if the headlines said 'get fit, lose weight and run faster - following our 3-year programme that requires moderate self discipline'"

That WAS my point - they print what sells for ££££. While that is understandly to point, surely there is an issue regarding providing HELPFUL information for runners as well... I.e. what they need to hear as well as what they want to hear
22/09/2003 at 15:18
as noted i agree, but i don't think it will happen - paricularly as what they need to hear is often diametrically opposed to what they want to hear
22/09/2003 at 15:57
On the other hand if you had to stay subscribed for three years in order to find out what to do next month it might work in their favour...
22/09/2003 at 16:09
lol yes.... (drum roll) ....same as last month
22/09/2003 at 16:49
I think maybe some of you are being a tad harsh. I can see value in 10-12 minute milers doing some speed work. People running that sort of speed probably lack the basic strength and co-ordination to run well. I think some fast paced running can bring that along and also get their fitness up quickly to a point where they can enjoy their running and are able to run at a steady pace for a decent period of time at a low heart rate.

Base training is only really relevant if you are planning to reach an absolute peak at one time of year. If you want to race all year round and are still relatively new to running - say a couple of years - I honestly think that the basic RW advice is pretty sound. I'd love to have a go at doing a period of base training and if I am able to get back to running I shall - but I think maybe you are best to get to a certain level of running ability first - otherwise to keep a low heart rate you are going to be walking. Comments?
22/09/2003 at 17:02
Music to my ears, popsider.

I'm old and I want some fun out of my running.

If I did a steady 5 years of plodding, I'd be retirement age and long-dead of boredom before I could try my first race!

4 sessions per week, mixing long slow runs, speedwork, recovery runs and threshold pace runs has got me to a basic level of fitness where I can jog comfortably for hours and hours in the low heart rate zone - and I have had the enjoyment of a marathon, 10 halfmarathons, a fellrace, a 30k alpine trail race and countless smaller races to look back on in the past 5 years , since I was "a couch potato with aspirations".

That said, I am now racked with guilt that I haven't paid my base-training entry fee with years of plods, and I mean to mend my ways by upping my mileage and lowering my speed, sob, sob.

22/09/2003 at 17:11
I can see what you're saying popsider and Lynne, but I think there comes a point where the gains get smaller for more and more work. I look at the really fast runners and think what have they got that I haven't? More natural ability, sure, but years and miles in their legs.

I think I can sacrifice 3 months a year to focus more on base training (with a few races thrown in to keep up the interest). I hope this will be of more benefit by next spring than banging out 3 more months of the same old speedwork.

A chanage can be as good as a rest, and as you know I don't like to rest!
22/09/2003 at 17:27
I think you have a point popsider. My first two years were spent with a random mix of racing/speedwork/weekend long run and so on & i got a lot of enjoyment out of it (including a 3:15 FLM).

It's only now that I have got the running bug and seriously want to break some PBs that I am considering an extended period of base-training. I know I've got the leg speed thanks to the last couple of years training & racing. I don't consider it wasted time at all and indeed it's unlikely i would have developed an efficient gait to carry me through the base period (Pose-technique aside) without the speedier stuff.
22/09/2003 at 17:32
But what if like me you enjoy doing the county league races and club championship races, which are on all through the year?

I'm 39 now and know there will be a day when I'm not doing so well in these and then won't be so interested in taking part in them, but at the moment I am doing well in them and enjoy this. Therefore I assume base training would not work for me while racing so much.

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