Building Base Fitness For Endurance Events

If you've ever been around an endurance athlete you've probably heard the term "base".  What is base fitness? Why do these athletes talk about building their "base"? Base or Phase 1 or Zone 1 fitness is often used during off-season training periods for endurance athletes.  It is also essential for people just getting into endurance sports to build a proper foundation.  The goal of this training phase is to build a strong aerobic base, which will be the foundation for all subsequent phases of training.  This phase of training also allows the body to become more resilient to injury by gradually increasing "time of your feet" which helps strengthen muscles and tendons.  A base training phase can be as shorts as a few weeks or as longs as a few months. 

Determining your Zone 1 heart rate range.  The general formula for finding your max heart rate is (220- age).  You can then take your approximate max heart rate and multiply it by .65 & .75 to find your range. 

Example: for a 40 year old athlete
220 - 40 = 180
180 x .65 = 117
180 x .75 = 135
Zone 1 = 117-135 BPM

It's important to note that in this phase of training we will incorporate some interval training in Zone 2.
220 - 40 = 180
180 x .80 = 144
180 x .85 = 153
Zone 2 = 144-153 BPM

Once you have determined your zones you can start to apply them to workouts.  Base training workouts can be completed 2-4 times per week.  As you progress through the phase your workouts can become longer and your pace can increase but remember the goal is to build fitness not speed. Focus on staying in the proper zone not on running as fast as possible.   If you're a MuvLab member you can use your MYZONE heart rate monitor to track your workouts.  

Example Training Plan:
Day 1:
5-10 minute dynamic warm-up
20-60 minutes in Zone 1 (65-75% of max HR)

Day 2:
5-10 minute dynamic warm-up
3 minutes Zone 1
3 minutes Zone 2
3 minutes Zone 1
3 minutes Zone 2
3 minutes Zone1
3 minutes Zone 2
5-10 minutes Zone 1

It's important to listen to your body during any phase of training.  You have the ability to increase or decrease your recovery time between intervals to ensure you're getting the most out of each training session. Intervals can be as long as 5 minutes and recovery can be as short as 1 minutes as long as you're able to keep your heart rate in the proper zone.

It's not too late to start training for events in May!  Get started with these workouts and we will introduce Phase 2 workouts next week.  If you have questions regarding endurance training don't hesitate to contact us or talk with a MuvLab coach next time you're in the facility.