For those who have finished a few 12 km races and are running fairly regularly, your next goal might be to take your running up a level in intensity. The 12 km ‘Next level’ training guide, one step up from the 12 km ‘I can do this’ training guide, is designed to help you do just this.
To take your running to the next level you need to improve both your endurance and your speed. The best way to do this is by increasing the length of your runs, the pace you’re running at and by combining distance and speed training sessions.
This training guide incorporates these principles so that you can start to see improvements in your 12km running times and push yourself further on race day.
Training days explained
Runs: The 6km-11km runs on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays need to be run at a comfortable pace. If you use a heart monitor to measure your level of intensity, a comfortable pace would be running between 65 to 75 percent of maximum.
Rest: Rest is a very important part of training as it allows your muscles to repair and grow after exertion. Monitor your fatigue during the training program to assess if you need an additional day off – Monday would be best.
Pace: When referring to pace the program means race pace, the speed at which you aim to run your 12km race in. Like the tempo runs, you want to start and finish easy. The guide outlines total distance of the run plus the approximate distance that should be run at race pace.
Speedwork: Interval training where you alternate fast running with jogging or walking is an effective form of speedwork. Run the 400m at a medium intensity, walk or jog between each, then repeat. Ideally these sessions are done on a local athletics track, but they can be done anywhere. Hint, time one 400m run and from there run based on time i.e. 90sec intervals.
Tempo runs: This training technique involves continuous runs with an easy beginning, a build up in the middle, then ease back and cruise to the finish. A typical tempo run begins with 5-10 minutes easy running, continues with 10-15 faster running, and finishes with 5-10 minutes cooling down.
Warm-up: Especially important before your speed workouts, a good warm-up is to jog one km or two, sit down and stretch for 5-10 minutes, then run some easy strides (100m at near race pace). Cool down afterwards by doing half of the warm-up.
Stretch + strengthen: Stretching is key to a strong, supple body and should be done daily. Strength training, particularly for your core muscles, is an important focus of this training guide. Bodyweight-based activities like push-ups, chin-ups or dips are beneficial or light weights with high reps at your local gym.
Cross-training: On Saturdays your cross-training could be biking, swimming or any aerobic activity. You can maintain activity, without tiring yourself for the next day’s running workout.
Long runs: This program suggests a slight increase in the distance of your long runs as you get closer to race date: from 6km to 12km. Run at a comfortable pace and enjoy these runs, the aim is to get your legs comfortable with the distance and help build endurance.
Download the full guide here.