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Building Your Way to Your First 21K Run
Building Your Way to Your First 21K Run
19 Aug 2021

Gearing up towards a half marathon (21KM) will bring different runners out of you. On some days - you will be able to go the distance, other days will require short runs, and sometimes you will not run at all to help you recover.

Gradually working your way to your goal will need you to push yourself, but we have you covered with our running plan which will help you reach your set target.


Before we start

It's all about pacing yourself and making this plan work around your schedule. Warm-up and cool-downs are crucial. Aim for range when it comes to your runs by doing short quick runs and long slow runs on alternative days, but most importantly, give your body time to recover by going for a walk or foam rolling on your rest days. You can also find a running plan that works for you to make sure that you get the best out of each run.


Record your progress

The best way to track how far you are in reaching your goal is by keeping track of your time and the distance you have covered. Having a smartwatch or a running app can make this easier to keep track of. Start with a 5KM run, then 10KM until you reach your 21KM run goal. Remember to include rest days as running back to back can put stress on your body which can affect your performance.


First Speed run

Running is all about pitting yourself against yourself. This also means taking on challenging terrain to increase your endurance, which will come in handy when you finally hit the 21KM mark. Due to the amount of strain speed runs can take on your body, it is preferable to do this twice a week.


Do this five times – run up a hill with 2 minutes at your fastest pace and 2 minutes in a recovery jog and repeat. If you are just starting after a long period of rest, it will be best to switch with a 2-minute jog and a 2-minute walk to get your body ready for hill repeats. Always remember to give yourself a good 10 -15 minutes to warm-up and cool-down to avoid injury.


Recovery runs

Recovery runs are a great way to follow up from a speed run. Stick to a moderate pace. The aim is to recover from the previous run or HIT workout. Run easy for 15 minutes to give your muscles time to recover. Include these twice in a week. These are especially great for those days where you are not feeling up to it.


Second speed run (Fartlek)

Fartlek challenges your body to become faster over longer distances, especially if you are aiming to break your time record. Including Fartlek runs will challenge your body to adapt to various speeds and conditions to improve your running time. 


It is a continued form of running, but with varying paces within the long run. Begin with a 5-minute warm-up, followed by a 21-minute fartlek. You will need to alternate between 1-minute hard running and a 2-minute easy run for the 21-minute fartlek. Remember to listen to your body. It's ok if you don't reach the 21-minute mark on your first try but aim to gradually reach this target by being consistent.


Long run

Long runs at a moderate pace can build your endurance. Keep in mind to stick to one pace to avoid running low on energy. Include a 5KM run or cross-training workout for those days where you are unable to run outside. Aim for consistency.


Always challenge yourself by increasing your time and distance once you feel you have gotten the hang of it. Your pace may be different to the next person's, therefore, work with what is challenging to you and gradually work your way to your target.

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