Getting your training right in the lead up to an event


We’re 12 weeks from the YMCA Father’s Day Fun Run, and if you’re looking to chase down a PB then you need to prepare!

The YMCA is an industry leader when it comes to health and fitness, and we’ve outlined how you should train right up until race day.

A good plan is a segmented plan. This means breaking up your training into phases, each with their own focus, structure and outcomes.

You can create your own segmented program, or ask a Gym Instructor or Personal Trainer in centre to put together a plan which works around your schedule.

Weeks 1 – 4: Getting started

Every training program is about commitment and consistency. Planning and finding what works for you is key.

Running programs should be centred around your long run. This is completed once a week, building distance, speed and intensity over the course of your program. In your first four weeks, the long run should be completed at a comfortable pace.

Example program:

Monday Rest day.
Tuesday Informal fartlek run. Vary your running and walking speeds based on landmarks, (e.g. run hard to upcoming tree, and then walk to next road).
Wednesday Rest or cross train. This could include weights or a group fitness session.
Thursday Out and back run with a negative split – i.e. Come back faster than you went out.
Friday Rest day.
Saturday Long run.  Increase distance by 10%, or increase speed by 10%, each week.
Sunday Easy shake-out run.
Enjoy yourself and try to unplug.


Weeks 5 – 8: Putting in the work

Time to push yourself a bit more. Incorporate some interval training. This is where you’ll see improvements. Aim for quality in your intervals and try to be consistent.

Continue to do a long run once a week, this time increasing intensity. You should also complete a time trial to benchmark against in the next phase.

Example program:

Monday Rest day.
Tuesday Easy run day.
Think about form and posture.
Wednesday Cross train or simple circuit.
20x squats, 20x lunges, 20x bridges, 1x minute plank.
Complete three to five rounds.
Thursday Intervals 4-6 x 400m.
Between each run, walk and jog 400m.
If feeling good, repeat!
Friday Rest day.
Saturday Long run.  Increase distance by 10%, or increase speed by 10%, each week.
Do one time trial over this time, find your local park run and do a 5km.
Sunday Easy shakeout run.
The distance should be about half your long run.


Weeks 9 – 11: Set your goals and mix it up

After your time trial of 5km, set yourself a goal for the YMCA Father’s Day Run.

In this phase, you should introduce some new challenges and test your boundaries. Aim for intensity and quality to ensure results.

As you near the end of this phase, start to decrease distance, speed and intensity.

Example program:

Monday Rest day.
Tuesday Find a hill to do 100-200m sprints.
Do 4-6 sprints, rest, then repeat.
Run up, then jog/walk down.
Wednesday Cross train.
Yoga session, swim, or strong walk.
Thursday Longer interval.
3-5 x 800m.
Run at race pace then walk half oval and jog second half.
If you feel good, repeat!
Friday Rest day.
Saturday Long run.
This should now be equal or slightly longer than your race distance.
Sunday Event preparation.
Try to get along to the Tan track to get a sense of the race environment.
If you can’t make it, continue with shake out runs.


Week 12: Polish and shine!

You’ve done the work, now it’s time to reap the rewards! Keep running regularly but reduce the time and distance by 50%. Your body likes to move and will feel sluggish if you rest cold turkey.

Example program:

Monday Rest day.
Tuesday Easy run.
Wednesday Rest or yoga / stretch class.
Thursday Do a session from week 1-4, you’ll feel the improvements!
Friday Rest day.
Saturday Rest.
Easy Run with a few stride outs.
2-3km maximum.
Sunday Race Day!


Our health and fitness professionals can assist you with your programming needs in the lead up to the YMCA Father’s Day Fun Run. Book an appointment today to put your plan together.

This article was developed by YMCA Centre Manager and running expert, Ashley Bartholomew. Ashley has decades of experience in the health and fitness industry, and has competed in fun runs all over the world.

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