Thursday, 6 October 2016, By Blake Nicholls

FROM COUCH TO 21km - Dare to Dream Big

So you have decided to challenge yourself and undergo a plan to start running, but you have no idea what race you will be able to complete. You've noticed 5km or 10km events and the thought of completing them seems achievable, but then someone mentions the 'Half-Marathon'. Immediately you tell yourself you can't even visualise how far 21km is, let alone think about running it. That's precisely the reason as to why you should train for it. Goals are meant to challenge you, push you so far outside your comfort zone that once you have achieved them, the old you is just a distant memory.

Here are 5 quick tips to help you get from the couch to the end of the finish line.


Make an effort to start running, start with slow and short efforts. Make your goal distance based and promise yourself that you will not stop running (no matter how slow you run) until you reach your distance. This is really important to mentally train yourself to be able to keep pushing when the going gets tough!

2. Find a half marathon that you want to complete

There are a variety of events to choose from, pick one that suits you. Whether you choose one that is scenic, the location or date of race is convenient for you, the route is flatter. These are all under your control and give you a deadline so you know when you will complete it.

3. Set goals and a training plan

Now that you have the date set, you can set your goals and put together a training plan. Set SMART goals, make sure your goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and have a Time Frame. This way you can check your progress and keep up to date with what you still need to do.

4. Use weight training to condition the legs

Running 21km's requires a lot of endurance in the legs, focus your weights training on increasing the durability of your leg muscles. Increasing the reps and decreasing the weight of your sets gives you the ability to do this. Core work and stabilising exercises also help to reduce the risk of injury

5. Run consistently

Perhaps the most important step is to stick to your program - make sure that you make every run count - whether it's a recovery session or a long run, make sure that you complete it. Unfortunately, there are no cutting corners. It takes time, but consistent efforts will provide consistent results and your running will improve.


Blake Nicholls
Vision Personal Training Bangor

*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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