Base Training Phase – What is it? How do you do it?

Build Strength And Endurance Between Major Races.

Base training is the first phase of a training cycle. It is what you should do as you start to prepare for your major events, and it is the type of training you should revert back to when you are between events.

Base training helps you to develop the endurance and strength you need to prepare your body for the more challenging, race-specific workouts that come as you start building towards a specific race.

If you always train hard  (like you would in the weeks leading up to goal race), it is likely you will overtrain, burn out or injure yourself.

In order for you to stay productive, healthy and happy, having a training plan to stick to is more important than ever.

A 12-Week Base and Strength Training Block, is a great thing to focus on during this unprecedented time. Base training will help to make you stronger than ever, whilst protecting your immune system from getting overloaded.

During a base training phase you typically

1. Improve your endurance, or aerobic capacity, in a safe and systematic way
2. Train consistently, without breaking your body or over training. (Consistent training = improved performance)
3. Improve muscular strength to prevent injuries and smooth the transition to challenging workouts included in your race specific training phase


  • Mostly Easy Aerobic Runs
  • A Gradually Increasing Long Run to Build Endurance
  • Maintaining Leg Speed with Fartleks and Accelerations
  • Establishing a Stretching and Mobility Routine
  • Strength and Plyometric Training

If you get the right mix of each of these "ingredients" you can put together a perfect base training phase which will set you up for an awesome, injury free, race build up.

Learn more about our new guided Strength and Base Training Program.


The goal of base training is to improve your aerobic capacity before you start a race-specific training plan which includes the harder anaerobic sessions you need to further develop your speed and strength in the lead up to your goal race.

Base training was made popular by the legendary New Zealand running coach, Arthur Lydiard. At the 1960 and 1964 Olympic Games three of Lydiard's athletes, Murray Halberg, Peter Snell and Barry Magee, dominated the distance events on the track, winning six medals between the three of them. Their high-volume and periodised training approach was revolutionary at the time.



The bulk of your training runs should be aerobic, which essentially means that you are running at a low heart rate. It can also be thought of as running at an intensity that would allow you to carry out a conversation.

During aerobic runs:

  • You burn fat as your main source of energy.
  • You don't put as much stress on your body as anaerobic training
  • You don't need as much recovery time between training sessions

This means you are less likely to suffer from injury or illness, and it is the safest way to consistently build your weekly mileage.


You should also include some fartleks and accelerations during your base training phase.

During this phase the fartleks or accelerations should range anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes, with a long recovery period between each interval. Your pace should vary from between 5km race pace to half marathon race pace, depending on the length of the interval and the amount of recovery time.

A lot of runners get injured when they add speed work to their training program. These relatively gentle base-phase fartleks help prepare your body for the harder workouts that come after the base phase.



The base training phase is a great period in which to develop some "body maintenance" routines. During this base period your total running volume shouldn't be all consuming, so there will be time to add some stretching, rolling, and mobility exercises to your training plan. Once you learn some easy routines and feel the benefits, it will be much easier to carry them through into your race build up phase.

A great routine to get started on NOW is my 3 minute morning stretching ritual. This simple 3 minute routine stretches your lower back, hips, glutes, knees, calves and quads, and it also helps to mobilise or "loosen up" your sciatic nerve which runs from your lower back all the way down to the soles of your feet.


Strength training helps you to recruit more muscle fibres, which develops stronger muscles and ultimately helps you to run faster.

Plyometric training or "jumping exercises" isolate and exaggerate the jumping element in running which means they improve running performance in a way that running itself does not.  The good news is these exercises can be done anywhere. So if you are stuck indoors you can follow a simple program of skipping, stability, jumping exercises to keep you going.

Join the 12 week Strength and Base Training Program  now and immediately get a comprehensive plan including, 3 strength workouts videos you can do in your home or park, daily training distances, stability and technique advice to improve your running strength and endurance.

Check out the full range of Training Plans, and Strength Workouts available.

Here's what our members had to say.............

I managed a sub-three hour marathon with only base heart rate training after years of conventional training and falling short. Not a single speed or tempo session. Also, cracked a 10k PB in the same race."

"Knocked almost 5 minutes off my 5k time after UTA50 base training just doing MAF sessions!"

"No speed sessions in the last 12 months but hills, hills and more hills. Managed pbs for my 5 k, 10k and half"

"Whenever I used to run I would get 'Sports induced asthma'. I would finish Park run wheezing and sucking down the Ventolin. I read some books and found TBM and spent a year running slow and working on my cadence and form. I just got two consecutive Park run PB's without trying too hard and running is feeling more comfortable than ever."

"Yes - 1/2 marathon pb after 6 months of HR training."

"Yep !!. No speed training, followed the 20 k trail programme… Took minutes of a previous 20 k trail event…. It would have been even better had I hydrated properly… my own fault…"