12 km advanced running guide

This training guide will get you improving your 12km time in 8 weeks.

For those who have finished numerous 12 km races and longer events and want to push themselves even further, the 12 km ‘Personal best’ training guide is designed to help you build intensity and reach your maximum – your personal best (PB).

To achieve your PB 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 to improve your endurance and speed so that you can run your PB on race day.

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 400m and peaks in week 7 with 12 x 400m. Run the 400s 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 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 6km run scheduled for Monday is also designed to help you rest for hard workouts on other days. The final week before the 12km 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 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.

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.

Test: This training guide includes opportunities to check in on how you are tracking with two test runs – one 6km test and one 10km test.

Long runs: This program suggests a slight increase in the distance of your long runs as you get closer to race date: from 10km to 16km. 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.

Download the full guide here.

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