Training for Training: It's All About That Base

Hey, Coach...I am thinking about training for a race this coming fall or winter, but that is months away right now. What should I be doing while I am not "in training" or racing? And if I decide to sign up for training, when should I do that?

If you are about to start training for an upcoming marathon or half-marathon, you might be thinking about long runs, speed work, hill work, tempo runs, and various other workouts that make up the typical training cycles. However, before you start loading your training calendar with lots of intensity, remember the most important component of training: the base period, which can be considered as "training for training."


Sometimes referred to as the “aerobic” phase, your base period has a primary objective of improving your aerobic endurance.  The focus is not on gaining speed or boosting strength, although those do benefit from base training.  The emphasis is on “building your aerobic engine” by gradually increasing distance and volume at a relaxed, easy pace.

There is no one-size-fits-all regimen for base building - runners have different levels of conditioning, speed, strength, and stamina.  More importantly, you have to think in terms of weeks when it comes to your base building.  Whether your base period is 4, 6, or more weeks, the goal is to train your body for the intensity that follows in later weeks.

The Twenty-Six Two Training Programs provide 24-week marathon and half-marathon programs, for any race, anywhere. All of the programs include 4-6 weeks of "base" work, which is designed to help participants maximize the benefits of the entire training cycle. It is not too early to sign up, even if your race is months away! Even better, if you sign up with the $30 monthly payment option, your entire first month of training is free, so you can "test out" the training at no risk, no cost. Ready to run? Sign up here!

Paul Carmona has coached hundreds of runners for Twenty-Six Two Marathon Club since 2004. He is a veteran of more than 50 marathons, including Boston, New York, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Austin, and many more, including ultramarathons up to 100-miles.