Base Fitness

This training is a good spot for most brand-new chubby runners to begin.

This program will help you develop a foundational level of fitness before starting a half marathon or marathon training program.

Base Fitness Helps You Get in Shape

If you have never run before, this program helps you get mentally and physically prepared to start a longer training program. Many half marathon training programs start with the assumption that you can run at least 3 miles a few days per week, so you’ll want to make sure that you can do that. The base training program will give you an opportunity to boost your fitness level gradually over the course of 10 weeks. It will get you ready for your first week of half-marathon training.

About the Program

Most training programs are goal-oriented. You train for a certain number of weeks and then show up at the starting line of a half marathon ready to run. 

This 10-week program will provide structure to build your base fitness level and get you ready to jump right into a half-marathon training program.

Measured in Time Not Miles

Instead of telling you how many miles to run each day or week, we’ll think of it in terms of minutes. 

So, if the training calls for a long-run workout of 60 minutes, some people can do 5 miles in 60 minutes, while others may be able to complete 2 miles. That’s okay. You’re working from your own level of fitness. We’re all in this together.

The Base Fitness Training Structure

In these 10 weeks of training, you will go from 70 minutes of fitness in the first week to 380 minutes in week 10. It will be composed of the following:

  1. Walking
  2. Jogging/Running
  3. Cross-Training (XT)
  4. Strength Training (ST)
  5. Rest


The most fundamental component of training is walking. It gets you from where you are to where you want to be. Walking is something we all do, so beginning your base fitness training with walking is designed to be comfortable and familiar. As you complete each walking session, celebrate that win.

The walking portions of the training break down walking into even smaller pieces:

  • Walk. This is the entry-level speed. It’s how you walk every day.
  • Brisk walk. Push yourself and get your arms moving and your heart pumping.
  • Speed walk. This should be a difficult (but not impossible) speed to push you further and faster.

As you gain greater confidence walking through the program, you can transition seamlessly from walking to jogging and then on to running.


The perfect middle ground between walking and running is jogging. As the training progresses, your confidence will grow, so that you feel comfortable mentally and physically to move to the next level.


What is the difference between speed walking and jogging?

The real difference between speed walking and jogging is the placement of your feet. 

When jogging or running, one foot leaves the ground. When walking both feet touch the ground. As your heel strikes on one foot, the toe of the other foot is still touching the ground.

When you walk, your body weight shifts from one foot to the other without a little impact. This makes jogging and running, high impact, while walking is low impact.

Both walking and jogging are great cardiovascular exercises that get you breathing harder and your heart pumping faster. For many people, jogging is more vigorous exercise, while speed walking is more moderate intensity.


In base fitness training, running is not required. The focus is on building your fitness level by completing workouts that increase in duration over the 10 weeks. The training program may require a 30-minute jog. If you feel comfortable, you can run. But running is not required in this training.

Use Cross-Training to Add Variety

Building a base level of fitness requires a multi-pronged approach. Cardio and aerobic workouts, like brisk walks or slow jogs, expand your lungs and your heart pumping. The reason the duration of each workout increases is to help you build endurance, which is a measure of how long you can keep it up. Cross-training (XT) helps increase your aerobic activity while changing things up with other exercises. Cross-training sessions allow you to be creative and do things that you like or try things for the first time. Here’s a list of great cross-training workouts to boost your cardio and aerobic activity:

  • Cycling
  • Spinning Class
  • Rowing
  • Swimming
  • Elliptical Trainer
  • Rope Jumping
  • HIIT Workout
  • Stair Climb
  • Aerobics Class (Zumba, Step, Kickboxing, Dance)
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Hiking 
  • Climbing

Base Fitness and Strength Training (ST)

Base fitness is an all-encompassing approach. Strength training (ST) helps to improve muscle strength and build anaerobic activity. Where cross-training is focused on endurance, getting your heart rate up for long periods of time, strength training is short bursts with periods of rest. 

The program includes strength training or gym workouts to build muscle. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Squat. This is one of the best lower-body exercises because it works for all lower-body muscle groups. Try bodyweight squats, barbell squats, leg presses, dumbbell squat
  2. Hinge. These exercises create a backward shift in weight through the hips with minimal knee movement while bending at the waist. Try deadlifts, and lying hip extensions.
  3. Push. These exercises push away from the body and work the upper body. Try chest presses, push-ups, and military shoulder presses.
  4. Pull. Exercises that pull the weight toward the body. Think dumbbell rows, pull-ups, cable pull-downs, and rowing machines.
  5. Core. Many of the exercises will use core muscles, but a focus just on the core will help with overall flexibility, stability, and endurance. Try plank, leg raises crunch, and sit-ups.

Since you are training to boost your fitness level, use lighter weights at high repetitions. Find exercises that work best for you and mix them up with new exercises to keep them interesting.

Importance of Rest

As you’re getting started on this fitness journey, understand the importance of rest. In this plan, the rest is twofold:

  • To recover after the Saturday longer duration walk or jog
  • Give your body a break when the plan calls for an increased duration of exercise

Many scientists suggest that the rest period is when muscles get stronger. And many prominent running coaches say that you shouldn’t run hard unless your body is well-rested. The secret to success in any training program is consistency, so as long as you remain consistent through the full 10 weeks, you can benefit from sufficient rest periods.

Get Started With Base Fitness

Now that you have a plan in place, it’s time to get going. Don’t waste any more time. Start today. 

The Chubby Runner Base Fitness Plan

base fitness