The Importance of Building a Solid Foundation

Training for a marathon, half marathon or a 10k is an exciting time - particularly if it's your first ever event.

With the Covid-19 pandemic now (seemingly and hopefully) under control, it's looking more likely than ever that this autumn will see mass participation events open up again and thousands of runners hit the streets -  in what'll be the biggest celebration of running ever.

With gyms closed, running became the "exercise of choice" for so many people during lockdown and with it, there will no doubt, be a higher than normal number of people taking on a half or full marathon for the first time this autumn

With any luck, most runners will have spent a good deal of time clocking up regular running miles over the past few weeks and months - but for those runners who think they'll be able to go from a few miles around the block - to big miles within few weeks, there could be a nasty surprise around the corner.

The phrase "It's a marathon not a sprint" could not be more apt in this circumstance - so here are three reasons why it's so important to take it nice and slow and build a good training foundation before you start running big miles.

Build Strength 

There are dozen of analogies I could use for the important of building a solid training foundation before you start increasing your miles.

Building good foundations for a sky scraper, learning piano scales before mastering a complex piece of music or learning your timestables before training to be an accountant.....are all examples of the importance of starting with the basics and building up from there.

By regularly doing "the basics" and clocking up a decent number of slow, steady and relatively low miles, you gradually build strength in key muscles and key areas of the body. This gradual increase in strength is so important to help build your body's resilience to longer and harder miles further down the line.

Without that foundation, "cracks" can appear in the form of tendon overload or joint stress as the body lacks the conditioning and strength to tolerate the demands of long distance running.

Of course, highly specific conditioning exercises as found in the GH Training Video Library are strongly suggested for runners at stages of training, but even without these, a solid strength base can be built by simply running slow, easy and relatively low miles for a period of time.

Forming a Habit

Building a solid training foundation isn't just about the physical - it's also about the mental as well.

By forming a good routine and habit of getting out there and running regularly does wonders for your body. The body LOVES consistency and with that consistency, comes the habit of frequent training.

In the same way that it's a habit that you brush your teeth before you go to bed, training should also become a habit - so that every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (or whatever schedule you choose) are running days.

Once you form that habit, training becomes part of your life and easy to fit in around your life.

Find out what works

All runners have a reputation for certain habits or quirky rituals.

Whether it's always drinking a coffee before a training run (which I used to do religiously) or eating a certain thing - or forming the right pre run "bathroom" strategy - it's really important to find out early on what works for you and what doesn't.

Certain clothes, a particular type of sock or even the right playlist - the list is endless of the number of things that are important to you before a run.

By finding out early on what works for you, when the miles are relatively low and slow, it will hold you in good stead for when training needs to ramp up and the miles get more serious.

Building good foundations and habits are so important for runners, so if you've got your name down to run a marathon or half marathon this autumn, make sure you build those foundations to ensure an enjoyable and successful experience. 

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