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Aerobic Base Building

Objective: Use this workout to build your aerobic base for running, or just to realize the many health benefits of daily aerobic exercise. The 30-minute main set is done mostly at a relatively slow and easy pace, with about a minute of faster running, called a "surge", every 5 minutes. If you are healthy and not performing other workouts (swimming, cycling or lifting, for example), you should be able to perform an aerobic base-building workout daily. If you are new to running, you might think there is no such thing as an "easy" running pace - see the descriptions of easier and harder, below.

Do not take a "no pain, no gain" attitude for this workout! If you go too hard, or for longer than 30 minutes on the main set, you will not improve your aerobic base.

During a period of social distancing: Obviously, you should not be running in a group, spewing and inhaling droplets in near proximity to one another.

Warm Up10-20 minutes - walk for 5-10 minutes, perform dynamic stretching for 5-10 minutes
Main Set

6 x 5 minutes with no rest, with each 5-minute interval performed as follows:

Run easier for about 4 minutes, then pick up your pace to run harder for about 1 minute

Easier means that you are running or jogging (or for new runners, perhaps just walking briskly) at a pace that is easy enough so that you can talk (aloud) more-or-less normally, speaking comfortably in phrases. If you can talk easily in complete sentences, pick it up a bit!

Harder means that you are running or jogging at a pace where you can no longer talk easily using longer phrases or complete sentences, but you can still speak one phrase between breaths. If you can only speak one word at a time, you are going too hard!

Do not go longer than one minute (20% of the interval) at the harder pace, even if that pace seems doable for a longer time; it should in fact feel that way. When training up the aerobic base, it's important that the great bulk of the effort - in this case 80% - is at the easier intensity level.

Do not extend the main set beyond 30 minutes.This is not a long, slow, distance (LSD) workout. Those workouts serve different purposes (building aerobic endurance and mental toughness), which you may eventually need if you are doing long-course triathlon, but LSD workouts create additional stresses that can weaken immune system function and inflammation response, which are two important benefits of aerobic base training.

For newer runners: In the early stages of aerobic base training, you may not be able to run faster than your easy pace for a minute without spiking your breathing (and heart rate). If that's the case, cut the harder interval to less than one minute - maybe 30 or even 15 seconds to begin with.

Cool Down10-20 minutes - walk for 5-10 minutes, perform dynamic stretching for 5-10 minutes

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