How to Build a Strong Running Endurance Base


Ever dream of running marathons – you know, pounding the pavement for 26 grueling miles, spending several hours of your life sweating, groaning, and panting?

No? Okay, that’s cool.

Marathons aren’t for everyone.  But, even if you’re not inspired by the thought of running 26 miles in a row, there are still plenty of great reasons to want a strong running endurance base.

Building one will not only help with racing; it will also help with fitness, and will make you feel better in general.

Building up endurance in your body by running has tremendous benefits and is a worthy goal for just about anyone – even non-marathoners (i.e. 99.9% of us.)

Here is how you can work to build a strong base using techniques and methods that form the basis of many long-distance endurance running programs.

Getting Started

To build up endurance, you have to start from somewhere, right? For this post, we’ll assume that you’re starting from the beginning, or close to it.

When you’re starting out at running, you have to start small and work your way up.  Just moving constantly for 30 minutes a day, three days a week is a great start.  That is your goal for the first few weeks.  Keep walking three times a day for half an hour at a time.  Once that becomes easy, we can move up to the next step.

The next step is increasing your days per week until you are walking/jogging for 30 minutes, nonstop, five days a week.

Building Up Mileage

Once you are used to sustained exercise, you can start building up your mileage. Mileage means the accumulation of miles that you run each week.  Over time, this forms what we call your mileage or endurance base (shortened to base).

Work your way up until you can run one mile per day, five days a week, without stopping.  This means you are running 5 miles a week.

Building up your mileage means increasing this number each week until you reach a comfortable amount.  For most recreational runners, a total of 25-30 miles (five-six miles a day, five days a week) is a good amount.  Competitive runners who run 10Ks will probably run twice that amount.

Follow these rules to increase your mileage safely:

-          Every week, look at moving up by 10% of your previous mileage.  5 miles this week means 5.5 miles next week – an average increase of just .1 miles each day.

-          Every fourth week, cut your mileage to 75% of the previous week.  This will allow you time to recover and recuperate. Then, tack on 10% of the previous week’s original mileage and continue on from there.

What are your goals when it comes to building a strong base?

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