The Foundation Program
One-hour running before the Foundation Program, emphasis is put on pace over HR

Thanks to the pandemic, everyone in Berlin was under lockdown starting in mid-March 2020. Working from home and with the world on pause, I could not have a better time to work on Orton’s running plan called the Foundation Program.

The program is broken down into Phase I and Phase II, which are 12 weeks and 9 weeks long respectively. Phase I emphasizes Zone 2 (Z2) training, which is running at a range of 60%-70% of your max heart rate. Phase II focuses more on tempo intervals, which are a series of short runs at a fast pace followed by easy running. This phase asks for runs in hilly terrains and at a faster pace.


One-hour running before the Foundation Program, emphasis is put on pace over HR

All my runs previous to reading this book were based on distance, regardless of how strong or weak I was feeling. In my naïve understanding of the sport, running was all about accumulating distance. The more kilometers you run, the better runner you are. This is not a good approach as it could turn to be very boring and detrimental for your body.


One-hour running in Z2 workout, emphasis is put on HR over pace

I worked through Phase I between April and June and Phase II between September and November. The biggest takeaway of the Foundation Program is the importance of Z2 training for building endurance and aerobic base. After finishing both phases, I could say my endurance and aerobic base improved greatly. After Phase I, I ran my first 50-miler, and now that I am finished with Phase II, I am preparing for my first 100k. My fastest mile time improved by 52 seconds and my heart rate recovers much faster than ever before.

I would recommend this plan to anyone looking to build endurance for long-distance running.

The Foundation Program
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The Foundation Program