What is an aerobic base?
An aerobic base is the ability to do low to moderate running, or other endurance activities, for a long duration of time. This is where the saying "slow and low" can actually help you become faster and more efficient. Note: this doesn't mean we ONLY do Zone 1-2 training. We need moderate and high intensity training, too.
Why build an aerobic base?
Building an aerobic base helps with recovery, endurance, and metabolic health.
Building an aerobic base isn't just for runners. You want to include this type of cardiovascular training in your programming if you:
- Are in the off-season of your sport or activity (looking at your runners, hikers, and cyclists)
- Are just getting started with cardio
- Just signed up for an endurance event more than 3 months away
- Avoid cardio and focus only on lifting
- Need significantly more rest time than what's programmed in between lifts
- Are a human
All humans need an aerobic base for cardiovascular and metabolic health.
How to build an aerobic base:
Low and slow, baby! Slow pace with an easy heart rate.
Depending on your current frequency of cardio, consider starting with a couple 30-60 minute cardio sessions per week to gain momentum and consistency. As your consistency increases, consider adding duration or frequency to slowly increase volume. Since Zone 1-2 training is lower intensity, it's easier to recover from even at higher volumes since it's overall less taxing. It's helpful to work with a Personal Trainer or Running Coach (hiii, it me) to make changes in effort, duration, mileage, or another variable throughout your aerobic base building phase. Learn more about my 1:1 online programming.
When to build an aerobic base:
Depending on your current fitness level and goals surrounding running or other preferred endurance activity, building your aerobic base could take 3 months to upwards of a year. When I say upwards of a year, that doesn't mean you're not seeing progress over that time, but it does take consistency and effort to continually show up and build your aerobic base. This is why I suggest giving yourself PLENTY of time if you plan to sign up for a race or event in 2024. I know there are people out there, maybe you included, that have signed up for 10Ks without training or who run for 4 weeks and then do a 10K. Just know that just because you can doesn't mean you should :).
For assistance on building your aerobic base, consider my 1:1 online programming.