How to Train for a 12K With No Experience

I had always spent my life volunteering at 5K/10K/15K runs but had never ran one myself. I walked/ran my first 5K back in October for myself and for my boyfriend who passed back in August. Fast forward to 2018 and the new goal is The Olympic Adventure Trail (OAT) 12K run on April 28th to commemorate the 20th anniversary of my grandma’s passing, run the race with my late boyfriend’s sister to celebrate his life, and of course to challenge myself to do something I’d never thought I could do.

I decided to sign up for a 12K and had no idea how to train, what to do, or really had any experiences with running. I do not particularly enjoy running but needed to find some way to train for this event–so first things first GOOGLE TRAINING PLANS. I looked to see what training plans the internet and other runners had and the most common thing was find your own style and pace.

After I narrowed down a plan–which was just run as often as I could and increase the time and increase number of miles I was ready to start this journey. START SMALL, everything counts–I began running on a treadmill at the gym for 30-40 minutes after my workouts just to build stamina for 2-3 weeks. Then UP YOUR LIMITS, add on time and miles. I was able to run 3-4 miles pretty easily in 40 minutes so now it was time to turn it up–now run 5 miles in 55-60 minutes for the next month. Throughout these runs you should also be CROSS-TRAINING-HIKING, LIFTING WEIGHTS, OR YOGA, ETC. You want to work out all different muscles in your body and not just your legs. Make sure to listen to your body and give yourself some REST. I had stress fractures from when I was younger and so when I run too hard those can sometimes flare up. Do not OVER DO-IT, you want to push yourself and challenge yourself, but not to the brink of breaking/fracture bones. 

I’m on the second month of my training and I’m running 5-6 miles at least one or two times a week alongside cross-training–hiking to my 25 hikes this year. I also began running outside over the last two weeks. All these running events happen outside so unfortunately you cannot do all your running on the treadmill while it rains outside. Running in the rain, sun, wind and snow is actually great! Over the last two weeks I’ve gone from 3 miles to 5/6 miles outside and in the next two weeks I plan to run another half mile longer each run. Soon I’ll be at my goal and you will be too if you are training for your next run. Remember to always STRETCH before and after running, and of course drink plenty of water. 

Before even beginning to run you must decide on a training plan (how long do you have before your race? Mine is based off 16 weeks of training, yours could be different)

  • Week 1-2: Begin your training plan: run 3x a week for 30-40 minutes
  • Week 3-4: Continue running 3x a week for 30-40 minutes, add in cross training—hiking, yoga, weights
  • Week 5-8: Add on time and miles. Mine was run 2x week for 60 minutes/5 miles, add any other cross training
  • Week 9-11: Start running outside–back down to 30-40 minutes or 3-4 miles, if these seems simple go up to 5 miles
  • Week 12-14: Go between running inside and outside at 5-6 miles, try to keep increasing miles
  • Week 15-16: By this last week you should be on 7-7.5 miles for your 12K
  • Week 17: Rest, stretch and create a music playlist to listen to. Go out and run your race! And don’t forget to document with a photo!

What I’ve learned through this journey so far is YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU PUT YOUR MIND TO and that GOALS TAKE PATIENCE. I’ll update again after the big run!

Taylor Shimizu

Taylor Shimizu

Communications Director at Young Professionals of Seattle
Taylor Shimizu is an account executive at Intersection, a technology and media company committed to improving the urban experience. She specializes in transit advertising--advertising on King County Metro, Sound Transit, and the light rail stations (www.intersection.com). She has over 7 years of media sales under her belt and loves connecting with others in the community through Seattle Rotary, meetups, and community service. Let's connect: linkedin.com/in/taylorshimizu
Taylor Shimizu