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Beginner to 21km three-month running programme

This running programme has been designed to help running newbies get ready for their first 21km (half marathon).

Is your summer goal to run your first half marathon? Training for a half marathon requires gradual progression to build endurance, improve fitness, and prevent injuries. With this three-month programme, we’ll help get you there! Consistency is key – but so is the right running gear. To help prevent injuries along the way, make sure that you’re running in the appropriate footwear and kit (including a high-impact bra for women).

Before starting any new exercise programme, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you have any existing health concerns. So chat to your GP if you have any queries.

Remember to listen to your body throughout the training programme. If you experience pain or discomfort, it’s important to rest. Additionally, practice good warm-up and cool-down routines to prevent injuries.

This plan has been designed for beginner runners who are capable of running for 20-30 minutes. If you’re not at this level yet, try our Clickfit Couch to 5km Challenge.

Month 1: Build Base Endurance
Days per week: 4

3 x EASY RUNS – 20 to 30 minutes at conversational pace.
1 x LONG RUN – Start with 6km and increase this each week by 1km-2km.
Cross-training – include cross-training activities in your week in addition to these runs. This could be: walking, swimming or cycling.

Month 2: Increase Mileage
Days per Week: 5

2 x EASY RUNS – 20 to 40 minutes at conversational pace (alternate days with longer runs).
2 x LONG RUNS – Continue to increase the long run distance by 2km each week (for example, your long runs should be near 10km by the end of month 1. Now, each week, increase by 2km, so that you start with 11km and by the end of the month, your long run is 15/16km).
1 x HILL TRAINING – Run hill repeats to improve strength and stamina.
Cross-training – include cross-training activities in your week in addition to these runs.
This could be: walking, swimming or cycling.

Month 3: Half Marathon Preparation
Days per week: 5

2 x EASY RUNS – 30 to 45 minutes at conversational pace (alternate days with longer runs).
1 x SPEED INTERVALS – (1 minute of fast running followed by 2 minutes of recovery running – continue to repeat for 30 minutes)
1 X LONG RUN – continue to increase mileage, finishing the last week with an 18km run.
1 X TEMPO RUN – add a weekly tempo run where you maintain a challenging pace for 20-30 minutes.
Cross-training – do one day of cross-training and ensure that you have one complete rest day, ideally after the long run.

RACE WEEK:

Focus on light jogging or short runs to maintain muscle memory and stay loose. Stay well-hydrated, eat balanced meals and ensure you get plenty of sleep.

Completing a half marathon is a significant achievement, especially for beginner runners. Stay committed, stay positive and enjoy the journey as you work towards reaching your goal!

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