12 km Training Guide (Intermediate – 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
Runs: The 6 km - 11 km 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% 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: 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.
Speedwork: Interval training, where you alternate fast running with jogging or walking, is an effective form of speedwork. Run the 400 m 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 400 m run and from there run based on time, eg 90 sec intervals.
Tempo run: 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.
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.
Cross-training: On cross-training days, try a different kind of workout – like biking, swimming, walking or a group fitness class at the gym. The variety will help your overall conditioning and allow you to stay active, while having a break from running.
Long runs: This program suggests a slight increase in the distance of your long runs as you get closer to race date – from 6 km to 12 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.
Download the full guide here.