LOLZLetter 62 | The Argument for Building A Base During the Pandemic


Hopefully, you’ve started to find a rhythm or routine that works for you during these times. I’ve started writing my emails by saying: “I hope this finds you healthy and safe,” and I feel the same for all of the email subscribers and readers out there.

This week's newsletter is sponsored by the brand Solpri.  Solpri just launched an all-natural four-ingredient anti-chafe balm.

I've used it with my own running and haven't had any chafing or breakouts. I am prone to both thigh and underarm chafing, so I need an anti-chafe every run. Since my skin is sensitive, sometimes other anti-chafe products cause me to break out. I feel like I'm choosing do I want to chafe or break out? But I've used Solpri since returning to running with no breakouts or chafing.

If you deal with chafing or even breakouts from other anti-chafe products, try Solpri all-natural anti-chafe balm. Plus, they offered newsletter readers 10% off plus free shipping (which makes it $10 with free shipping). Just use the code: LOLZ.

Right now, there are little to no races, and we don’t know for how long. It stinks, and it’s okay to be sad about it. I miss the freeing feeling of toeing the line with friends or hanging out with family. It feels like a different life ago!

While there is no shortage of virtual races right now, it's not the same as running an in-person event. However, this newsletter is the case for building a base.  Why build a base now? So when races do resume, you’ll have the foundation to do workouts followed by fast races. You don't want to go hard now and be either injured or burned out when races come back.

What is base building?

The goal of base building is to build aerobic capacity.  As I mentioned in my blog last week, aerobic means “presence of oxygen.” This is the easy type of running that just feels comfortable.  It almost feels like you could run forever. Your muscles get enough oxygen from your blood to process the energy in the cells.  Running feels effortless and easy.

How do you “Build a Base”?

Much like a foundation, you lay miles in brick by brick. Building mileage is gradual and slow.

You don’t “all of a sudden” run 60, 70, 80 miles a week. You could increase your long run each week by 1-2 miles. Or increase your daily runs by 5 minutes. In the last 2 weeks, I’ve been increasing my daily runs every 3-4 days by about 5 minutes (which is about ½ mile).

By gradually increasing mileage, this helps you to stay physically healthy but also mentally healthy.  The goal is to stay physically healthy, but no one wants to burn out mentally either.

Usually, Base Building Has 3 Key Components:

  • Gradually increasing mileage

  • Longer Run

  • One Faster Workout

How Can You Gradually Increase Weekly Mileage and Stay Healthy?

  • Add 5 minutes onto your daily runs (5 minutes doesn’t sound like much, but it can add a few extra miles a week). Adding 5 minutes is what I’ve done, but like anything with running, it’s individualized Maybe you add 6 minutes, maybe you add 4. Find what works for you!

  • Add 1-2 extra runs per week. Adding an easy 3-4 mile double in the afternoon or evening is an easy way to boost mileage. Start with adding one extra run and see how your body responds.

By gradually adding miles, you’ll start to develop the strength to add harder workouts with your higher mileage.  After a few months of higher mileage, plus a few more months of higher mileage and workouts, you’ll reach your peak fitness!

Yes, months, because nothing in the sport happens overnight.

The Long Run:

Adding a longer run to your week helps increase running efficiently, mental toughness, and you’ll become more energy efficient. There is no true definition of a “long-run,” just that it’s your longest run. Right now, my long run is 4 miles. For some people, their long run is 20 miles, ultra-marathons do 50 mile long runs.  It just means your longest run. I asked on twitter what “your longest run alone was” and the answers ranged from 4 miles to over 100.

Most benefits of the long run begin at roughly 90 minutes of running. That’s when your body burns most of its fuel. To increase long runs, the easiest way is to add 1 mile each week.  The gradual increase allows you to stay healthy. Every 4 weeks, think about doing a shorter run to allow your body to recover. This is especially important now because there are no races, so often times we forget these weeks.

Faster (Unstructured) Workouts:

While many people’s base periods don’t include faster workouts, you might want to add some unstructured faster exercises that will help increase your fitness.  You don’t need to be going to the track just yet.

A few types of unstructured workouts:

When adding speed in your base building phase, you want to avoid that feeling of “emptying the tank” The goal is to increase leg speed, not go all out. There is a time and place for those harder workouts. By going all out now, you’ll be more likely to get injured later on.

So Why Base Building Now?

We don’t know when the next race will be. You don’t want to find yourself in peak fitness now, only to be injured or not be peaking when races do start. Your body will not be in peak fitness forever. By building a strong foundation, you will be more likely to peak at the appropriate time.

What is Keeping Me Entertained?

Podcast: Lindsey Hein with Keira D’Amato  Kiera placed 15th and PRed at the Olympic Trials. I've talked online with her a couple of times and she is one of the nicest people. I enjoy it when people's personalities shine through.

Podcast: For the Long Run Podcast: David Roche: YOU ARE SO LOVED, “It’s ok to suck at the pandemic.” David Roche speaks a lot of truth in this. You don’t need to be good at the pandemic, just make it out healthy.

Article: What Will Endurance Races Look Like When They Come Back?

Article: Philly ultrarunner traces the city’s entire border with a perfect 76-mile run.

Coloring Page: If you get bored, Brooks Running made a coloring page for Des Linden.

Thank you to Solpri for sponsoring this week’s newsletter! If you are interested in supporting Solpri, use the code LOLZ and you'll get 10% off. 

Stay Safe and Stay Healthy!

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