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New Runner - Building a Base? (Read 106 times)

Mriley16


    New member here and I have been enjoying reading through the forums and hopefully benefitting from the wealth of experience here. One thing I keep seeing pop up as advice for newer runners is to make sure to build a solid base for running. I take this to mean, generally speakng, that before one begins actual race training there should be a significant period of time dedicated to strength building and body conditioning through easy runs while gradually upping your weekly mileage. This gets your body adjusted to the rigors of running and reduces your risk of injury going forward. Again, generally speaking, this all makes perfect sense to me. I just have a few questions regarding my specific situation...

     

    I am an Army veteran, so I am not a complete newbie when it comes to running. However I was plagued with overuse injuries (shin splints, plantar fascitis, etc.) throughout my career so I’m convinced I never truly built a base. I have started and stopped running a few times in the past few years due to recurring shin splints so this time I was determined to stick it out and do it right. I have lost 35+ lbs, started with very low miles and began paying very close attention to my lower body weight lifting routine, then gradually I have been increasing my weekly miles and I’m up to around 19-20 miles/week now. I’m doing pretty much exclusively easy runs, no intervals hills or fartleks yet. I am eyeing a 10k trail race in October as my short term goal and a half-marathon trail race the folllowing year as a longish term goal (reading this site has me believing I can run a marathon someday...) I suppose I am running short on training time for this 10k, but I’d like to know how do I know that my base is good enough to start punching up the miles and really training in earnest? Also, do I need a whole new period of “base building” to prepare for the next race, and the next, so on...?

     

    Sorry for the length and thanks in advance for any advice you can give!

      The injuries that you experienced in the past are a typical result of running training runs too far and too fast.  I was in the Air Force, my brothers in the Army, and my daughter is in the Marines.  All of us did, or are doing, training runs too fast.

       

      I ran my first half marathon off a base of 20 miles per week, with a peak week of 27 miles.  I had done a few 10 mile long runs, but zero strength or speed work.  I got my base up to 30 miles per week the following year, and took one minute off my half marathon time.

       

      You could run a 10K today, although your time would be a little slower than if you had better training.

      Mriley16


        The injuries that you experienced in the past are a typical result of running training runs too far and too fast.  I was in the Air Force, my brothers in the Army, and my daughter is in the Marines.  All of us did, or are doing, training runs too fast.

        I remember kids at basic frantically rolling their shins out with broom sticks at night to try’s and stave off the shin splints. Thankfully my issues didn’t come along until later on... I guess it depends who’s running your PT but I think they’re smarter about it now than they used to be.

         

        Thanks for the vote of confidence, I suppose I’m just a tad gun shy given my injury history. I’d prefer to build up my miles too gradually rather than the alternative.

          I didn’t see where you mentioned anything about shoes. I suffered shin splints just one time, and that was in the beginning of my running, when I was running too fast on worn out shoes. Go to your local Fleet Feet store or equivalent and get fitted for the proper shoe will help. I don’t exactly do this on a regular basis, but doing exercises specific to calf and shin strengthening will help too. Heel drops and extensions are one of the better exercises to strengthen both the calf and shin.

          Mriley16


            I didn’t see where you mentioned anything about shoes. I suffered shin splints just one time, and that was in the beginning of my running, when I was running too fast on worn out shoes. Go to your local Fleet Feet store or equivalent and get fitted for the proper shoe will help. I don’t exactly do this on a regular basis, but doing exercises specific to calf and shin strengthening will help too. Heel drops and extensions are one of the better exercises to strengthen both the calf and shin.

             

            Ah yes, shoes! That is another change I have made that I believe may have contributed to my injury issues. Last year I purchased a pair of Saucony EverRun Guide 9's after a lot of research, previously I never paid much attention other than the look and the price point of a shoe. I was very impressed with the Saucony's so this year I bought the Grid Cohesion 11's which have a bit more drop, as I understand a higher drop can help prevent shin splints as well. So far almost 50 miles on these and no sign of significant shin pain!

            As for the exercises, yes I definitely started paying closer attention to strengthening those muscles with the goal of injury prevention. Hoping it pays off!

             

            I think I'm going to go for one more week of easy ~20 miles or so and start with a bit of speed training and (1) longer run (5-6 miles maybe?) next week.


            I lost my rama

              I agree with JRMichler in that you can run a 10K now if you wanted to.  Question about your shin splints.... when it happens, does it set in within the first mile or two?  From my experience with them, if I can get past the first couple miles without any symptoms of them, then I'd be ok for the duration of the run, regardless how far I go.

               

              For PF, you may want to try different aftermarket insoles to provide more support for your feet and arches.  Get past these two issues, and I  think you'd be fine reaching your goal for a half, or even beyond.  Good luck!

              Mriley16


                I agree with JRMichler in that you can run a 10K now if you wanted to.  Question about your shin splints.... when it happens, does it set in within the first mile or two?  From my experience with them, if I can get past the first couple miles without any symptoms of them, then I'd be ok for the duration of the run, regardless how far I go.

                 

                For PF, you may want to try different aftermarket insoles to provide more support for your feet and arches.  Get past these two issues, and I  think you'd be fine reaching your goal for a half, or even beyond.  Good luck!

                 

                On the shin splints, I have had them to varying degrees multiple times. For the most part the pain while running was never unbearable unless I was taking a PT test on them and going all-out. When I knew I was really doing damage it was more latent pain that would occur sometimes up to a full day after a run. Once I went for a 1.5 mile little warm up jog before a weightlifting workout and about six hours later I had a large amount of swelling on the front of my left shin bone. I saw an orthopedic surgeon about it at University of Kentucky sports medicine and he said that it was actually BONE SWELLING that could lead to stress fractures! I didn't even know that was possible!

                I do have similar experience lately that as the run goes on I am feeling less pain, I have yet to push that experiment beyond say 4.5 miles yet but we will see if it holds true in the next week. Lately I have felt a minimal amount shin pain in the first mile or so but as I settle into my pace and everything warms up it goes away. I would bet that I could even eliminate that amount of pain with a better warm-up routine...

                  ... how do I know that my base is good enough to start punching up the miles and really training in earnest?

                   

                  There's no need for some dramatic shift between "base training" and "training in earnest" at this point. Good base training should contain an element of faster running ... some strides after an otherwise easy run, a light fartlek (e.g., a half-dozen 1 min pick-ups to a moderately fast effort spread throughout a run), a progression where the last 20 min are approaching your ideal 10K pace w/ the last 3-5 min just a tad quicker, push the pace up/down a few hills here and there. I'd argue that going to the track for some intervals would be counterproductive.