12 km beginner running guide

This training guide will get you running 12km in 8 weeks, one step at a time.

If you are aiming to complete your first 12 km event, then this training program is for you.

Everyone is an individual and your base level of fitness may vary. For those who have already been doing some running, this general program should give you all the stamina and endurance you will need to complete a 12 km event feeling strong.

If you are new to running and some of the first few weeks of this training guide are a little challenging, consider completing the 4 km ‘I can do this’ guide first to give yourself a base.

This 8-week training guide is just that, a guide, so feel free to be a little flexible with it to make it work for you.

Remember this is an 8-week program and you don’t need to go too hard, too soon – that is what demotivates people or causes injury. Build your way into it.

Download your 12 km 8-week training guide as a pdf

Training days explained

Stretch + strengthen: In the guide, stretching and some strength training is scheduled for Mondays, following your long run on Sundays. Strength training could consist of bodyweight-based activities like push-ups, chin-ups or dips or light weights with high reps at your local gym. The guide also recommends strength training following your Thursday session. 

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. Improvement depends on adequate recovery and rest periods. 

Run: Appearing simple enough, those new to running may find this term tricky to define. How fast should I run? Do I speed up on the longer run? The trick is not to worry about speed, take one step, then the next and you are running. General advice suggests running at a pace that allows you to comfortably hold a conversation – tricky to measure if running solo. Find a pace that allows you to finish the distance of the session, or as close to it as you can.

Cross-training: Wednesdays and Saturdays involve cross-training, be it biking, swimming or walking. You can maintain activity, without tiring yourself for the next day’s running workout.

Long runs: The longest runs of this 8-week guide are planned for Sundays but if Saturday works better for your schedule you can swap. Long runs are designed to be taken slow and to build your endurance, both aerobic and muscular.

Download the full guide here.

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