Sunday, November 13, 2016

Chapter 8 - The Base Phase

Note: To me coaching is all about stewardship, using the knowledge and experience I have gained over 40 years as a runner, and 10 years as a coach, to help others pursue their running goals.  So rather than publishing a book you have to pay for, I am publishing it here on my blog, free for all (runners and coaches alike) to read and enjoy, maybe learn something from it, or potentially have it prompt you to look at something from a slightly different viewpoint.  If any of those happen, mission accomplished. 

The second phase of the Hadley Liberty Training Cycle is the Base Phase.  The Base Phase serves as our transition period between the rest and recovery of the Regeneration Phase and the full on training of the Fundamental Phase.  

In the Base Phase we reintroduce stress workouts into the mix and re-establish our chosen micro-cycle training structure (see chapter 5).  But stress workout during a Base Phase are not as hard or formal as they will be in the Fundamental Phase.  These stress workouts are designed to allow us to ease back into training, and start to build back any fitness lost in the Regeneration Phase, while not pushing the limits too hard or stressing too much over paces and details.   

Speed workouts during the Base Phase are usually fartlek workouts of shorter duration repeats with equal recovery jogs, technically Fast Repeats (as defined in Chapter 3) but the focus being on finding a strong smooth rhythm and getting some speed and turn-over back in the legs, and not focused on hitting certain times or paces.  

Stamina workouts during the Base Phase are usually “easy” progression runs.  These are like normal progression tempos except they begin at a slower pace than those progressions (as defined in Chapter 3).  This allows the runner to ease into the workout a bit more than they would in the Fundamental Phase.  Another example of stamina workout in the Base Phase would be LT Repeats done with the repeat duration and total duration kept on the shorter side of the range with the focus on rhythm and feel and not as much on pace and times.

Endurance workouts during the Base Phase are easy and moderate rhythm long runs with the focus on slowly building them back up in duration over the Base Phase.  No long runs with quality elements (such as tempo long runs or fast finish long runs) are used during the Base Phase.  

Also during the base phase we re-introduce our strength work, as in core circuits, drill circuits and strength circuits. We take a break from these during the Regeneration Phase and reintroduce them in the Base Phase but start back lightly to give our bodies time to adjust as we ease back into the work. Again we see the phrase "ease back into", which is really the motto of the Base Phase.

The Base Phase lasts between 1 and 4 weeks in length.  Typically in a normal training cycle the Base Phase will be the same length as the Regeneration Phase that preceded it.  So if we took a 2 week Regeneration Phase then we’d have a 2 week Base Phase.  The reason for this is the longer the Regeneration Phase we take, the longer of a transition period we need before being ready for full intensity Fundamental Phase training.  Experience has shown me that this 1:1 ratio between the Regeneration and Base Phase is usually about right on the money in normal circumstances.  

Generally, I do not recommend racing much while in the Base Phase as the body and mind may not hardened and ready yet for a full race level effort .  But if it is important to the athlete to do a certain race during this phase I recommend keeping it low key race as a rust-buster and to establish a fitness baseline.  

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