Aerobic base conditioning — the ABCs of endurance training — is the starting point for those with less than four years of training, as well as experienced endurance athletes who may be coming off an extended break from training. Aerobic base conditioning prepares your body for more rigorous training by building endurance and fostering neuromuscular speed. The key workouts are endurance workouts and endurance workouts with alactics, supplemented by recovery workouts. Here is a sample aerobic base conditioning week for a running plan.
The week includes three endurance runs (two with alactic striders) and three recovery runs (two with drills and the third as optional). The recovery days are scheduled after each endurance day to modulate the training stress and recovery. This is for someone running 6 days/week, but here’s how you could adjust the frequency and volume based on your personal starting point if you’re running less.
To turn this into a 5 day/week plan, remove the recovery run on Fridays marked optional.
To turn this into a 4 day/week plan, do one endurance run with alactics, the endurance long run, one recovery run with drills, and one recovery run.
To turn this into a 3 day/week plan, do one endurance run with alactics, the endurance long run, and one recovery run with drills.
To adjust training volume, add or subtract time from the runs.
Recovery runs can vary from 20 minutes to an hour. The purpose of recovery runs is to help you recover and stay loose for the key runs of the week. Reduce the time or nix the recovery run on days when you need additional recovery.
Endurance runs (other than the designated long run) can vary from 30 minutes to an hour or more depending on your current training volume. Here, the endurance long run is 70 minutes; but adjust that time up or down depending on your current needs. Choose a long run duration that approximates where you’re currently at; then add a reasonable amount of time to that each week to build up to the long run duration you’d like to achieve by the end of the training block.