The Importance of an Aerobic Base

This topic is something that I have been thinking about since before my half marathon last June. I had all these grand plans of maintaining half-ability (if that’s a word?), getting super comfortable with the distance and then crushing a 1:45 race later on.

tired-halfThe goal is to look approximately 700% less comfortable at my next finish line. Which will be a challenge. 😉

Well, between burnout, minor injuries, and starting university that didn’t happen. I haven’t lost all of my running fitness, but it’s safe to say that most of it is long gone. And I don’t want to train for another half marathon without feeling extremely solid in my easy runs.

Here’s the thing: I truly believe that I could have run a faster half marathon last June. I wasn’t worried about time at all, but I know I could have done better. I vividly remember my phenomenal 11 mile run which I finished around an 8:10 pace. I mean, really?! 


I wasn’t prepared for that. I also remember running 12 miles with my legs feeling like lead, and then starting my half clocking significantly slower splits than any of my long runs in training. I’ve always just chalked that up to too short of a taper – I thought that it was a bad idea for me to run 12 miles the week before my race. And while that may be a part of it, I think the bigger issues was just not being well-conditioned enough for long running.

Realistically, I did three long long runs before my race: 10, 11, and 12 miles. Heck, I only ever ran above 6 miles 5 times, including the super long runs. I was great at running 10K, but anything more was a struggle for my body. That is why I am dubbing these next three months at university aerobic running. I’ve gone through what feels like a bajillion “base building” phases, only to get bored / burned out and switch back to weight lifting. This kinda defeats the whole purpose, which is why I am approaching it at a different angle this time.

I’m only running by time. One run will be 30 minutes and stay there. One will start at 45 and, by adding 5 minutes per week, build to 60. And another will start at 60 and by also adding 5 minutes per week, will build to 90. I’m only running three times per week because, while I want to build a base, I know I’ve mentally burned myself out previously trying to train before training, if that makes any sense.

hermione-granger-what-an-idiotYes, Hermione Granger is my sole source of inspiration, if you were wondering.

At that point, I will have a decision to make. If a PR is possible, I will register for the 2015 Calgary Marathon and push for sub 1:50 / 1:45. If my runs are just not up to speed at that point, I’ll do the MEC Half Marathon in Edmonton (only $20!) for funsies.

So that is what’s up on the running front! I think that having the big goal of reaching a 90 minute run, as well as mini goals of adding 5 minutes to each run, will be extremely helpful for me this semester! I’ll have something to focus on and motivate me, without being as stressful as some other goals (coughCOMPFREAKINGSCIcough). It will also be nice to run as slowly as I want / need, without feeling bad about myself from looking at a slow pace.

I’m definitely going to keep up with strength training, too! I’ll do one day of heavy weight training, and one day focusing on plyometrics/core/stability. That leaves two days on which I can either rest, or do a workout of choice! But I will most likely embrace the laziness. 🙂 🙂

rp_four-novels.jpgYou and me, darlin’

This is my goal for the week: I LOVE THINKING OF THIS AS A GOAL! My experience with computer science has helped me so much. I can already tell. Because if I was able to study that hard for a subject I despised, I can definitely push a little harder in my runs / get out of my freaking bed.

Monday: 30 minute run

Tuesday: strength workout (whatever I’m feeling, probably a mix of heavy weights / core)

Wednesday: 45 minute run

Thursday: plyo / core / stability

Friday: OFF

Saturday: 65 minute run

Sunday: total body heavy strength training (SQUATS!)

Hooray for motivation! Instead of restarting running using superficial motivation (i.e. half marathon time goal) as motivation, I am using my inner strength and desire to prove to myself that I can do it! I did it in December and I will do it again now. 🙂

Tell me one goal of yours! 


4 thoughts on “The Importance of an Aerobic Base

  1. I can definitely relate to this. Not in the way that I’m an experienced runner like you, but I can comment on the frustration that comes with how freakin’ quickly your running base goes away! I always get down on myself since I can’t run as easily as I did when I played Club soccer(which is irrational since Club soccer is the most intensive thing ever), so my pace right now feels so. slow. I really love the idea of running by time and slowly but steadily improving your base, though! I might have to steal that from you since I just miiiightttt be signing up for my first half with a bunch of my housemates. *Insert scared squeal*

  2. Setting yourself these little goals will keep you on track for sure. And it’s a great idea to run by time rather than distance, as it takes some of the pressure off, and starts you off in a more positive frame of mind knowing that you don’t HAVE to run 8 miles, you’re just running for 65 minutes, etc. My goal at the moment is to incorporate more strength work into my routine. I’m very inconsistent with this, sometimes doing lots and sometimes dropping it completely. (Jealous of how consistent you are with strength haha)

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