Father and daughter
I was just wondering if you could give me some kind of training program. I am 12 and need some guidance! My dad and I go out running quite a lot but need some kind of program.
You have the first requirement of a fun training plan, a running buddy - your dad! Now, I'm going suggest some training basics for someone who is already acclimated to running as you have indicated in your letter. The basics will help you build upon the base you have already developed.
Decide on a comfortable distance for your short runs (ex. 1 or 2 miles). Run this distance 3 times each week. While your short runs should be fairly easy, they should still give you a good workout.
Next, choose a more challenging distance for your long runs (ex. 2 or 3 miles). Run this distance no more than twice each week at a slower pace than your short runs. Running slowly will help you keep your heart rate and breathing under control, as you build your endurance (the ability to run for a longer amount of time).
Build in a day of rest to let your muscles fully recover. Also, build in at least one day of cross training in which you do another kind of exercise to help keep your body well balanced. If you do wish to increase your short or long-run distances, do so very gradually over time, but 2 - 3 miles is a reasonable, maximum distance to maintain as a long run for a 12 year old.
PLAY WITH SPEED
Later on, after you have gained some endurance and strength, you can start to do some very short distance speed play (intersperse slow running and sprinting). Speed play is fun and it teaches your body to do some fast running.
You will be more likely to stick with your training plan if you keep a journal, work toward a goal (try our Blue Ribbon Log-a-Mile program), or target a key event (fun run, 5-K) for which to train.
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