12 km Training Guide (Advanced – 8 weeks)
Ready to reach a new personal best? This training plan will build your strength, speed and endurance.
If you’re getting comfortable running 12 km and want to up your intensity, this is the training guide for you. Over 8 weeks, you’ll improve your speed, strength and endurance, so you start hitting new personal bests.
Training days explained
Run: This refers to running at a comfortable pace – you define this. The key is that you cover the distance.
Speed sessions: To race at a fast pace, you need to train at a fast pace. Interval training, where you alternate fast running with jogging or walking, is a very effective form of speedwork. This starts in week 1 with a workout of 6 x 400 m and peaks in week 7 with 12 x 400 m. Run the 400 m at about medium intensity. Ideally these sessions are done on a local athletics track, but they can be done anywhere.
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 minutes faster running, and finishes with 5-10 minutes cooling down.
Rest: Rest days are almost as important as training days and provide an opportunity for you to recover and your muscles to build in strength. This training guide includes one rest day. The easy 6 km run scheduled for Monday is also designed to help you rest for harder workouts on other days. The final week before the 12 km race is a rest week. Taper your training so you can be in peak performance on race day.
Warm-up: Especially important before your speed workouts, a good warm-up is to jog 1-2 km, sit down and stretch for 5-10 minutes, then run some easy strides (100 m 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. Try bodyweight-based activities like push-ups, chin-ups or dips, or light weights with high reps at your local gym.
Pace: This means race pace – the speed at which you aim to run your 12 km 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.
Test: This training guide includes opportunities to check in on how you are tracking with two test runs – one 6 km test and one 10 km test.
Long runs: This program suggests a slight increase in the distance of your long runs as you get closer to race date – from 10 km to 16 km. Run at a comfortable pace and enjoy these runs. The aim is to get your legs comfortable with the distance and help build endurance. Mix these up with different runs and even find local trail runs if suitable.
Don’t forget to stretch!
It’s important to start each training session with some stretches and gentle movement to prepare your body for your workout. After your session, cool down with more stretches to help with recovery.
Download the full guide here.