Base Phase Two – Building the Engine
Base Phase 2 builds on the aerobic fitness gained in Base Phase 1 through slow and consistent training with a gradual increase in the total weekly training duration. At this stage, you may not need to plan for dedicated recovery weeks because the weekly training load should be set at a level that prevents excessive accumulation of fatigue (of course, if excessive fatigue develops, you should have a couple of recovery days and the weekly training load should be reviewed). While training continues to be focused in zones 1 and 2, as aerobic fitness builds, you should be able to run faster at a given intensity. Therefore, benchmark testing is repeated at the beginning of this block to ensure your training zones are accurate.
The Three Points of Note
- Train easy, race fast. It’s a hard concept to grasp, but the easier you train at this stage, the faster you’ll be able to race when you get to your event. Easy training allows you to build your aerobic engine the right way. Minimising the hard training now will allow you to train more consistently, reduce the risk of injury, and generally have more fun.
- Avoid the grey zone. The grey zone is a term used to describe an unproductive training intensity. It’s not quite hard, but it’s not easy either. It’s somewhere in between. The grey zone is where a lot of athletes end up training because they think they need to “feel” every session. However, this isn’t true. Within my knowledge base, you’ll find a lot of resources on the benefits of Zone 2 training, I recommend you check them out.
- You can still have fun. Although the base phase is focused on easy, consistent training, “all work and no play makes Jack (or Jill) a dull boy (or girl)”. If you enjoy having a hit out with your local club or training group, have at it. I recommend no more than once a week because you still have plenty of hard and fast training to come over the next few months!!