How to improve your running base: what you need to know

How to improve your running base: what you need to know

In this article, I explain how to improve your running base, starting with understanding what this “base” or aerobic endurance is, and how to train it correctly to improve our race efficiency, especially in terms of metabolic efficiency.

When we talk about endurance running and the different types of training sessions required to improve efficiency in medium and long distance races, we always talk about “improving your base”, but what does this “base” involve?

What can you do for greater endurance?

As we’ve addressed in previous articles on endurance races (referring to medium, long and ultra-distance races), it’s important to understand the main pathways and/or metabolic routes predominant in these types of distances.

Based on this, we’ll be able to approach the training and nutrition plan in a way that makes our body as efficient as possible and understand how to perfectly manage the metabolic and energy resources required for this kind of long-distance running.

When we talk about your “endurance base”, we’re refer to the cardiorespiratory capacity associated with the training area of long-distance running.

We’re not referring to sprints or explosive running, or races lasting less than 30 minutes.

So, when talking about improving our “base”, we’re referring to improving our aerobic endurance, or our aerobic base.

What can you do to improve your endurance?

As the name implies, it will be based on endurance training.

Improving your aerobic base means improving efficiency at the metabolic and efficiency level in training areas below or slightly above the first ventilatory threshold (VT1) and lactic threshold, often coincident.

Keys to improving your endurance base

What you don’t train, you don’t improve.

Therefore, the main key to improving your endurance running base is to train it in a coherent and progressive way to prevent injuries and reach that goal of improvement.

And this goes for the following points:

Change your mindset

Most amateur runners perform the highest percentage of their running sessions and training volume in training areas where there is no improvement of the aerobic base.

You have to change your mentality and train like elite champions and athletes: train slowly, but strictly in aerobic training areas where the only metabolic pathway is fat oxidation.

Benefits of training in these training zones (below or around the first ventilatory threshold, known as aerobic):

  • Improved mitochondrial activity and density (mitochondria are the energy power plants).
  • Improvement of capillary activity, and therefore, improvement of the energy and oxygen supply network.
  • Heart hypertrophy, your primary muscle.

With all this, we’ll be able to teach our body to work more efficiently by the time the most intense workouts come around.

Keys to improving your endurance running base

Otherwise, we’re losing all these benefits.

Run for longer

When we talk about improving endurance, we’re also talking about longer training sessions at a continuous and sustained pace.

Of course, the volume will depend on the time of the season , the previous experience of the runner, as well as the main objective of the training. All of this will be included in the specified training plan.

In any case, we’re talking about race sessions between 50-90 minutes.

They may be longer when preparing for long-distances, close to competition.

Aerobic resistance can also be worked on in combination with other endurance sports that have less joint impact, such as hiking, cycling and even swimming.

More speed

To run fast, we must first teach the body to run slowly, that’s to se, we have to train solely in those areas we mentioned.

This is the best way to make it metabolically efficient and to manage energy resources in an efficient way.

The ideal method is to combine training sessions at low and comfortable intensities (70% of them) with shorter and more intense work aimed at improving maximum oxygen consumption (VO2Max), which will account for between 20-30% of the sessions.


Regarding nutrition or supplementation, given that when training in these areas of aerobic endurance the fundamental metabolic pathway is the oxidation of fats, we accumulate large reserves of the energy resource and there is no need for a continuous supply of carbohydrates.

And don’t forget that we need to keep work at a really low intensity, helping the body learn to be metabolically efficient.


Recovery product to take after the race: Evorecovery.

And as we have pointed out in other articles related to nutrition in endurance sports, from the 60th minute of training, fluid intake and some HCO to maintain activity is necessary and/or advisable (we’re not talking about competition).


Talking about rest as a fundamental tool for improving performance is nothing new.

However, the restorative power at the level of tissues, metabolism, the nervous system, etc… continues to be underestimated.

Improving your endurance running base

Quality of rest.

As these types of training sessions are conducted at intensities that don’t generate an excessive level of stress, a good remedial supplementation plan is necessary after those long and continuous sessions.

As well as resting at least 24-48 hours before a session of the same or greater training volume.

What workouts can you do to increase endurance?

The distribution of running training sessions throughout the week should prioritise a good combination of:

  • Several low-intensity runs.
  • One or two of high and/or demanding intensities.

Long (50-90 minutes maximum) and continuous workouts, as well as rhythm changes (fartlek type), are workouts that will help us improve our aerobic base and endurance as long as we respect training intensity zones.


For this, it is essential you carry out a stress test with gas analysis to determine the 2 thresholds that will help us understand the different training zones.

And don’t forget that this is something individual – it shouldn’t be calculated with outdated formulas that don’t take into account the real and individual values of each person.

Likewise, the areas established in sports watches are also unreliable and estimated at general levels.

Related Entries

  • What types of Fartlek are there? We tell you in this Post.
  • Polarised training to improve endurance: see post.
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About Isabel del Barrio
Isabel del Barrio
Isabel del Barrio really loves sport, demonstrating it from a very young age and sharing her enthusiasm and knowledge to this day
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