Build Base Fitness

Updated: May 18, 2019


Elite Scottish Hill Racing Champion Steph Provan gives us the low down on how to build base fitness

If, like me, you’ve had your training schedule disrupted by school holidays, summer trips, social events or anything else over the summer months, now is a great time to get back into it and put in some solid training.  The Illuminator race in the last weekend of October is the perfect target to keep you motivated and fit as summer fades into autumn.


A lot of people find it hard to keep up the same level of training during the school holidays with family commitments taking priority.  If that’s the case for you, why not start today building your base mileage back up with regular runs.  Consistency is the key, so set yourself a target of running or walking at least three times a week and enjoy the improvements in your fitness.


Make sure you have a comfy pair of trail running shoes so as your mileage increases your feet don’t suffer.  There is a lot of variation in fit between different brands, and even different styles of the same brand, so it’s a good idea to get your shoes fitted in your local running shop with knowledgeable staff who can make sure you get the right shoe.


Cross training is a great way to increase the amount of exercise you’re doing without overuse of a particular muscle group. Cycling, swimming and rowing are all great low impact ways to improve your base fitness while reducing your risk of injury.


Strength and conditioning is another important element of any good training plan. Most runners love to run but aren’t necessarily keen to spend time in the gym. A simple 10 to 20 min routine done at home 3 times a week will make a big difference and will be way more beneficial than additional ‘junk’ miles. If you’d prefer something more structured and sociable, check out the classes available in your area.


Rest and nutrition are also vital for your fitness. Try to eat healthy wholesome food whenever possible and keep your intake of processed food and treats to a minimum. Drink plenty of water and try to limit alcohol and sugary drinks. Busy lives mean lots of us are prone to staying up late and rising early, relying on caffeine to keep us going throughout the day. Without adequate rest your body will not fully recover and adapt from your training, meaning slower gains in fitness – so early to bed is best!


It’s a lovely time of year to be out on the trails, so make time for yourself and get out there and enjoy the scenery!


See you out there!

Steph