Base miles, junk miles, filler miles, grinding miles – what’s the purpose of running base miles? Essentially base miles help you create and maintain aerobic conditioning and capacity. Aerobic conditioning and capacity is your ability to run for extended amounts of time and distance due to conditioning yourself by running more and more weekly miles. Basically, base miles help you increase your total running volume.
Base miles are good for:
- Increasing your blood volume
- supercharge the body’s ability to torch fat
- Develop the all-important slow-twitch muscle fibers which help you run longer distances
- Expansion of glycogen stores
- help develop a more resilient mindset
The long run of the base miles is entertained weekly because it along with its smaller base mile sessions will help build your stamina which in turn helps your overall running endurance.
Other benefits of running lots of base miles are that they also help strengthen your connective tissues which ultimately benefits your ability to run further with less injury. Also, when you run your base miles you are helping your nervous system fire and create new pathways so that your legs and brain can communicate more efficiently – thus run more effectively.
Where to start
If you’ve never really run during a regular training cycle then listen closely. It’s really simple to get started all you really need to do is throw on your shoes and start running. Aim to run at least a few miles a day for a total of 3 to 4 times a week. Slowly increase your daily miles over the upcoming weeks. If you’re new to running you can use a walk/ run technique that allows your body more wiggle room to get used to running steady for 2 to 3 miles.
Walk/Run is essentially an on/off technique. An extremely simple version of walk/run is to walk 4 minutes and then run for 1 minute. Continue 4 minutes walking and 1 minute running until you reach your daily miles for the given day. As you become accustomed to 4 minutes walking and 1 minute running, you can make the intervals more difficult by walking 3 minutes and running 2 minutes.
Continue doing this until you’ve completed swapped the walking and running or you’ve totally eliminated the walking and you’re now running, Don’t worry, if you want to continue the walk/run technique for the rest of your running days – that’s fine. There are plenty of half marathon runners that complete half marathon every race that uses this technique. There is no shame in completing your races this way!
Add a weekly long run
Logging your base miles is only half of the picture, the other half is running at least one long run a week. A long run could definitely benefit your ability to run longer distances. You can simply start with a run that lasts 3 miles and then gradually build up. Also, throwing a rest day into the mix could help you recover a little bit more easily, especially if you’re a new runner. Here is a sample long-running schedule that could help you log between15 and 20 miles a week:
- 4-mile long run (weekly mileage between 19 and 24 miles)
- 6-mile long run (weekly mileage between 21 and 26 miles)
- 8-mile long run (weekly mileage between 23 and 28 miles)
- 9-mile long run (weekly mileage between 24 and 29 miles)
- 10-mile long run (weekly mileage between 25 and 30 miles)
- 11-mile long run (weekly mileage between 26 and 31 miles)
- 12-mile long run (weekly mileage between 27 and 32 miles)
- Week#8 – RACE WEEK
Base miles help condition your body by increasing your blood flow and aerobic capacity to let you run for longer lengths of time with sustained energy. Also, daily base miles help get your body get used to being on your feet and running more often.
Please don’t get confused with what I just said when you compare my 12-week half marathon training plan for beginners. The 12-week half marathon training plan I created has two rest days included on the schedule. The reason I included two rest days is so that if you are feeling exhausted and run down I want you to rest. If you’re feeling good and rested then go ahead and run on the rest days.
For most beginners, you’re going to want to rest at least one of the days of the week. I would suggest if you’re wanting to only rest one of the days then to rest the day after your long run. As you start running more and more and become more seasoned, your body will become accustomed to running nearly every day. By increasing your base miles and weekly running volume, you’ll gradually train your body to finish a marathon race.
Even though I’ve been running for years now, I still take off from running at least once a week. Even though I’m not running on my rest day, I still walk, swim, hike, or do some activity.Scott Morton is the author of, Beginner's Guide to Half Marathons: A Simple Step-By-Step Solution to Get You to the Finish Line in 12 Weeks! (Beginner To Finisher Book 3), which has become an Amazon International #1 bestseller. Scott specializes in helping new runners become injury free race finishers. He recently completed his 10 half marathon race. He is also an RRCA certified coach.
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