For experienced runners coming back from a hiatus due to injury, being conservative is the name of the game for base training. You don’t want to do too much too soon and risk re-injury.
Keep weekly mileage low. If you only missed a few weeks of running, cut your typical weekly mileage in half. If you were out for months, don’t have any set goals for total mileage, just listen to your body.
Don’t do speedwork. Resist the urge to pick up the pace at first. Run at a slow, easy pace during your first few weeks back (take walk breaks when needed). If you feel OK after a few weeks, gradually start increasing your speed.
For runners in the off-season
It’s not uncommon for seasoned racers to take a break from intense training in the early summer months or during the holidays. Most big races are held in the spring and fall, so using the time immediately after those races to recover is key. After you’ve recovered from your race, it’s important to maintain a base if you plan on resuming training again a few months later.
Be patient. Ideally, a base building should last between 6 weeks and 4 months.
Start easy. At the beginning of your base building training, most of your runs should be done at a conversational pace. Add in a one-speed workout around the 3-week mark and another faster paced run around the 8-week mark if you’re up for it.
Keep the long run as part of your weekly routine. Do one long run each week just like you would during normal training. Remember that “long” is relative. If the rest of your workouts are 3-milers, a 5-miler would be a long run.
Follow the 10 percent rule. Don’t increase your weekly mileage or the distance of your long run by more than 10 percent each week.
Base building is also the perfect time to add cross–training or strength training to your routine.
How to stop taking walk breaks during your runs
Taking walk breaks mid-run can be a great thing. You may even be able to cover a longer distance, in a shorter amount of time with walk breaks than without them.
However, that’s a big “may”. If you started running using a run-walk method, such as Jeff Galloway’s popular training approach, you may wonder, “Could I be faster if I didn’t take walk breaks?”
Again, that’s a big maybe. Some people are faster without walk breaks, while others do better with them. But you’ll never know unless you try.
Cutting out walk breaks takes patience. When you’re used to taking walk breaks, it takes time to get used to running without them. Don’t just go out for a run one day and try to run the whole distance without walking. Instead, follow these steps to eliminate walk breaks from your runs:
Slow down the pace. Backing off your running pace will help conserve energy. Walking gives your body a break so you’re able to cover a longer distance before fatiguing. Slowing down your running pace does the same thing, and this approach will help you ease into running without walk breaks. In time, you’ll be able to pick up the pace again.
Shorten the length of your walk breaks. If you take one-minute long walk breaks, try 45- or 30-second walk breaks instead and see how you fair. If the run felt too hard, lengthen the duration of your walk breaks – if it felt too easy, do the reverse. Eventually, your walk breaks will be so short that you’ll be able to stop taking them all together.
Reduce the number of walk-breaks you take on a single run. Once you’re used to taking shorter walk breaks, try to cut back on how often you take them. If you’re currently doing a 3:1 ratio (three minutes of running then one minute of walking), try a 4:1 ratio instead. After you’ve done that for a while, go up to a 5:1 ratio, then a 6:1 ratio, and so on. Soon you’ll be able to run a mile without a walk break, then two, then three, etc.
Cover a shorter distance. If you’ve done longer races, like a half marathon, using a walk/run method, you’re likely used to doing long runs on the weekends. Forget about running long for some time. Once you’re able to run 3 miles straight, increase your distance gradually – like you’re learning to run long for the first time again – so you don’t get hurt.
Focus more on recovery. By taking walk breaks, we reduce muscle damage and prevent injuries because the body gets a chance to recover mid-run. But when you just run your body doesn’t get that break. So, it’s important to focus on recovery between runs. Take plenty of rest days and skip runs when you’re feeling extra sore or tired.