Seeking a new personal best, or looking to stay in tune? 21Km is the perfect distance. But we would never let you face the challenge alone. Here are 7 tips to get you ready to take on that half marathon. Even better? We’ve designed a 21km training plan that will take you from out of breath to out of this world runner.
1. Get Fitter, Faster
Try Tabata: 8 x 20-second intervals of exercise with 10 seconds rest between. Japan’s National Institute of Fitness and Sports found a four-minute session, five days a week for six weeks boosted VO2 max by 14%.Your move Do intervals of sprints, or cycling on your lunch breaks.
2. Back To Front
A favourite route is great (especially if you share it with a Lycra-clad hottie) but cambers in the road lead to hip and spinal imbalances as you keep tilting the same way.
Your Move: Run your route the other way to reduce your chance of injury.
3. Clench Victory
Most distance runners don’t use their glutes enough: they can help you run faster and reduce injury.
Your Move: Lie on your back with your feet on the floor. Lift your hips and raise your left leg up, straighten your leg and hold for two seconds. Repeat 10 times on each side.
4. Breathe Easy
Your respiratory system can help you practice half-marathon pace; and all it takes is breathing properly to perfect this.
Your Move: Do power breathing as part of your warm-up and before your race. Take a long, deep breath, then exhale hard through the mouth – repeat 10 times.
5. The Correct Load
You check where foods fall on the Glycaemic Index (GI) to make sure you’re getting enough slow-burning carbs. But it doesn’t tell you what proportion of that food is made up of carbs – which is where the Glycaemic Load (GL) comes in.
Your Move: Low GL foods (10 or lower), such as a banana or sweet potato, will help stabilise blood sugar levels, reducing the kilojoules that are metabolised into fat and increasing the kilojoules available for training.
6. Ready For A Fall
Your legs need to be strong enough to stop you leaning forwards as your feet hit the ground, because this will waste valuable energy.
Your Move: Roll back on your heels with bent knees so your toes come off the ground. Then roll forwards onto the balls of your feet, drive up to straighten your legs and pull your arms behind you. Hold and squeeze your calves before bending and rolling back to your heels. Repeat.
7. Brain Over Pain
Whether it’s hitting the wall, or being overcome by burn, pushing past the pain barrier walks hand in hand with long distance running.
Your Move: When facing a morale killer, count every footfall in a sequence of 4×10. So it’s 1-2-3-4, 2-2-3-4, 3-3-3-4, right up to 10. Only allow yourself to walk at the end of the sequence. Of course, you’re probably already at the top of that hill now.
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