Saturday, 13 April 2013

Training for the King and Queen of the North (12km)

My current training program is basically designed to improve my race speed. My immediate focus is getting a fast time (fast for me anyway!) for the 12km King and Queen of the North on May 25th. I'm aiming for a time of sub 56 minutes which would put me on about 4.40 min per kilometre. I also have one eye on the Run Melbourne Half Marathon in July which will be my first crack at the half marathon distance.

I've put together the two week alternating program below, which I'll repeat up until race day. All this training only costs me a bit of time and $5 a week for my pool visit. Which shows you don't need a gym membership or pay exuberant amounts to a personal trainer to be fit!

Week 1DistanceGymSpeedGymHillSwimGym
Week 2DistanceGymSpeedGymThe TanSwimGym

Weekly Distance Summary
Total distance

My distance running session each week until the King and Queen of the North will be 15km. I do this at a steady pace of around 5.25 min/km to 5.40 min/km so it takes 80-85 minutes depending on how I'm feeling. The King and Queen of the North is only a 12km event but I'm running 15km each week to give me a good base leading into the Run Melbourne in July.

I also do a speed training session and a hill training session every week. My speed session is on a flat course where I warm up with a slow 1km run. I then run 500m fast and 500m slow for 20 minutes. I typically hit 15kph on the fast sections and slow to 11kph on the slow sections. My hill training session is a 6km circuit through a hilly part of Coburg and West Preston. Currently, every second Thursday, my hill training gets replaced by a no holds barred run around The Tan as part of the Autumn Corporate Challenge run by Active Melbourne City Sports.

Now that it's triathlon off season, I'm only swimming once a week doing 40 laps of a 25 metre pool to make 1km. Even if you're not training for a triathlon, swimming is a great activity to add to your training to mix things up and to improve your general muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness.

As a runner, cyclist or triathlete strength work is still important. In particular, having a strong core improves your posture and is important for general fitness and well being. Exercises like sit ups, pull ups, push ups and dips are the key here. I'm lucky enough to have a local park which has free outdoor gym equipment and do a quick 20min core strength workout focusing on my back, abdominals and upper body. You could do the same with some playground equipment like monkey bars.

Being a fair weather cyclist, I cycle to work and back (around 18km each way) every day as long as it's not raining. For this time of year in Melbourne, that's usually about 3 days a week, which gives me about 110km a week. I ride up the famous Anderson St hill on my way to work which gets my heart rate pretty much maxed out on my single speed bike. It's a good workout and a great way to start the day. Plus it's free training time because I have to get to work somehow and it turns out for me that cycling is at least 10 minutes faster than the alternatives so I save time!

Whether or not I cycle to work does not affect my running schedule. Quite often, I'll cycle home and change into my running gear and do my speed or hill training. That should put me in good stead for my next triathlon season!

So there you have it. That's my training schedule in the lead up to King and Queen of the North. I'm confident it will get to my goal of a 4.40 pace over 12km. We'll see come May 25th!