• Coach Jacob Puzey

It's All About the Base

Updated: Mar 9

Base building isn’t sexy. Some find it downright boring. However, those who build their base before beginning race specific training end up healthier and performing better when it counts.

Follow these tried and true training principles to build your aerobic and muscular base:

  • Gradually increase total weekly volume

  • Gradually increase duration/distance of long run

  • Gradually introduce intensity

  • Begin strength training in the base phase

Weekly Volume

Focus on gradually increasing volume (time and distance) as the year progresses. Limit weekly increases to 10 percent. If you want to add more do it through cross training.

Long Run Duration/Distance

During the base phase, the LONG RUN should take priority and should make up 20 to 25 percent of the total weekly volume.

Gradually Introduce Intensity

Before you begin structured speed workouts, prime your legs, lungs, and mind by sprinkling in intensity through CUT DOWN RUNS, STRIDES, FARTLEKS, and HILLS:


CUT DOWN RUNS start at a comfortable effort/pace and gradually increase the effort throughout the run so that the last quarter to third of the run are at a solid effort. Make one or two runs per week CUT DOWN RUNS and gradually increase the duration of the hard effort.


STRIDES are short bursts of speed between 15 and 40 seconds in the middle or end of an EASY or LONG RUN that prime your body for future intense efforts. Strides provide time to focus on efficient running form under duress. After a couple of weeks of EASY running, add 3-4 x 20 to 30 second strides after one EASY RUN per week. Over time, add more repetitions and another day of STRIDES.

Add STRIDES to EASY & LONG RUNS to introduce intensity. Photo by Peter Collins.


FARTLEKS are longer than strides, lasting between 1 and 8 minutes, and are an effective way of introducing intensity before obsessing about pace. After a few weeks of EASY running with one CUT DOWN RUN and one EASY RUN with STRIDES per week add a FARTLEK workout: