Building a Base?


We shouldn’t be hitting the pavement and running miles just to say “We’re building a base”. When we see general prep phase, our minds immediately associate that with aerobic work (at least mine did at one point). What you do in your general prep phases should be dependent on what is needed when it comes to competition time. Think of it as building the capacity to perform the specific tasks.

Dan Pfaff has a nice seminar on YouTube where he discusses various performance topics and some anecdotal evidence to support. Here’s Part 1. The subsequent parts will be easy to find from there.

He touches on this notion of “building a base” and gave some clear examples of why aerobic work is not necessarily the answer with speed-power athletes. One of his athletes asked why they were doing close to 20 block starts in one training session. What may seem insane, when you chalk it up to building work capacity to perform the specific tasks, this makes sense (I’ve spoken to Mike about this a while back as well, and seeing as they are from the same family tree, their thought processes are very close in proximity). Dan states that while 20 block starts may seem like a lot, come competition day, you’ll be prepared for the demands.

Here’s the breakdown and rationale he gave:

Building the work capacity early on will allow your athlete to perform more of the specific work when needed.

John Grace

John Grace

Sport Performance Coach at Athletic Lab
John is a Sport Performance Coach at Athletic Lab. He earned his Master's degree from Ohio University in Coaching & Sport Science. John holds his CSCS, USAW-L1, and USATF-L1. He is the former Assistant Fitness Coach of the MLS Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
John Grace


Performance Coach | @ChicagoFire | I tweet about all things sport science, coaching, training, and athlete development.
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