Base Training: Build a HUGE Aerobic Engine
New Year’s is over and while the weather here in California is cold, it’s time to put in those base miles. OK, I know, much of the country experiences REAL cold, but temps in the 30s mean my morning bike commute isn’t happening. That’s a pity, because there is no more convenient way to amass training hours than to incorporate them into something you already have to do, like go to work.
Of course, I could ride on the indoor trainer. But that sucks.
I would rather be outside running than sweating on the floor. But I promise I will train on the trainer this week if I have to.
Base Training Goal: Aerobic Fitness
This will be my second full season of Maffetone training, and this year I have residual fitness from last season. My informal MAF test of my usual running route shows some slowing from last year’s best, but it has been holding steady, and I have not tried to push that fitness further. In the off season, I think that a plateau equals progress. Compared to last year where I lost weeks of training from pneumonia, this year I have maintained some reasonable run fitness. My hope is that I can build on that this season and get even faster. Like last year, I will not race until the end of March, giving me three months of uninterrupted aerobic base training, except for some alpine skiing. I will use my 180 formula maximum heart rate of 145 until I start racing. If everything goes well, I will experiment with calculating my MAF by working down from lactate threshold, which will give me a higher heart rate range to work with.
Because unless you race on the track, almost all of your energy is being produced aerobically.
Because more health benefits come from aerobic fitness.
Because it creates less stress, avoiding burnout.
Because it’s good for the brain, helping Seasonal Affective Disorder (more on that later)
How to Build a V8 Aerobic Engine
Stick to MAF.
Aerobic and anaerobic workouts can interfere with each other. Use the 180 formula and be disciplined.
Resist the temptation to “tune up” until after you’ve built the engine.
Do this more by increasing frequency than super long workouts. The sweet spots seem to be 45-60 min. and again around two hours. The Kenyans never train for more than 2 hrs, but they train often.
Improved fitness will come week by week and three months should build quite an engine.