What is marathon base training? - Women's Running

What is marathon base training?

Author: Laura Fountain

Read Time:   |  March 23, 2022

Marathon ballots and entries often happen months or years before race day, so it can be tough to know how to train before you start your official marathon training plan. Enter marathon base training

Base training is the bridge between running for fun and full-on race training. It’s training to be able to train for a race – try saying that five times fast! Basically, it’s your run-up, meaning that you’re able to start race training from a great starting place.

It might not be as exciting as ticking off sessions on a training plan which has a big race at the end of it, but it’s an important part of your training year. After a big training cycle, professional athletes always take a recovery period and then enter a period of base training before their new training cycle starts. We should do the same!

The main goals of base training are to build your aerobic fitness and make you a stronger runner. Much of your running will be at an easy pace as that’s the aerobic pace we need. Read on for our top tips on marathon base training…

Getting on top of niggles

When you’re training for a race, it’s tempting to push through niggles because you don’t want to miss out on any runs. Now is the time to get on top of them before your new race plan takes over. This might mean booking a physio or getting on top of any stretching and exercise plans you were given for previous injuries.

Building better habits

There are lots of things that we know, as runners, we should be doing to help our running. Strength training, cross training, stretching, maybe a yoga class. Your base training period is a good time to concentrate on these often neglected areas while you have more time and your mileage is lower. And it’s the perfect time to establish new habits.

Try our guides:

Try something new

When you’re in the midst of marathon training, that will be your focus. You’ll only be doing the runs on your plan and sticking to routes that you’re familiar with. If you’ve ever thought about joining a running club or group, now is a good time to investigate options in your area. With less structure to your training, you can try out a few different sessions to see if they’re something you want to include in your training going forwards. And you might even find some new run buddies who are planning to train for a marathon too.

Follow a marathon prep plan

If you love having a plan to stick to, we’ve got you covered! We’ve got some expert marathon base training plans that you can follow up until your official training begins: Marathon base training plans for every runner


Written by

Laura Fountain

Laura Fountain

Journalist, run coach and author of the The Lazy Runner, Laura has run over 20 marathons

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