Trea, who recently completed her first half marathon, asked me an important question the other day. She wanted to know how long should her weekend long run should be now that she's completed her goal race. This is especially pertinent for those who have recently completed or will complete thier fall goal races and get ready to huker down for the winter.
After a goal race we'll enter the base building or maintenacne phase of our running. The purpose of base building is to maintain fitness during the weeks or months before starting training for the next race. Truthfully, the distance of your long runs during base building depends on if you have any short term goals. In Trea's case, she is really enjoying speedwork and running fast. So I suggested to her that she find a 5k about 2 months out and tailor her training towards running a fast 5k. Trea also mentioned that she could see herself running the same half marathon next and try to improve her time. I thought that a year was long time to run her next big race and that she should try and find a half marathon to run in the next few months. Even though she will be base building, having a goal race will keep her focused. It's very easy to lose focus if there is nothing to train for.
During the winter, I will generally keep my weekend long run between 6 and 8 miles. With this base, you can do some winter 5 or 10ks and get yourself ready for a winter or early spring half marathon if need be. This is what works for me. What do you do during your base building phase? Please chime in.