1-20 Half Marathon Pace | How to Run 1:19:59

So, to maintain 1-20 half marathon pace means you need to sustain 6:06 per mile or 3:47 per kilometer. I am glad you have made it here to rundreamachieve.com. I have run 2:19:35 for the marathon. So, do understand the complexities of this event and what need to be done in order to hold pace over 13.1 miles. One of the biggest mistakes I see runners make is running too many of their miles too slow.

Of course, you will definitely build endurance running slow. You definitely need to focus on easy running especially on recovery days. The reason being is there is only so many times you can push the body hard anaerobically. So, what you don’t want is a diminished return on your time investment. You will spend a great deal of time and energy preparing for your marathon. It is imperative that you train smart and not necessarily just hard.

Key Areas to Improve your Half Marathon Performances

  • Focus on running longer, long runs i.e. 14-16 miles in length
  • Vary the pace of your long runs. So, don’t just run long and slow every single weekend
  • Alternate one, faster paced long run with an easy, relaxed long run the following week
  • Jog on easy days. Remember, the benefits of your training is going to come from within the rest period
  • Focus on your speed development. Yes, speed is still needed even in the marathon and will make 1-20 half marathon pace feel easier, with time.
  • Mentally rehearse breaking the sub 1:20 half marathon barrier. It has to become real in your mind first before it will become a reality outside the mind.
  • Lengthen your tempo runs from 3 miles at the start of your training to around 10 miles (16 kilometers) or more. Be patient, it takes 3 to 4 weeks for the body to adapt to any stress load you are placing on it.

I see a lot of runners focusing only on physical training and neglect mental training. So, spend 10 to 15 minutes each day seeing yourself getting across that finish line with 1:19:59 on the clock. Also, visualize yourself performing at the level you are seeking to race at. Mental training is utilized by the world’s top middle to long distance runners. So, do not neglect this piece of the success puzzle.

Sub 1:20 Half Marathon Pace

The best half marathoners are not always the hardest workers. Do the hardest working athletes always get the results they are seeking? Not always. Why is that? Well, high mileage by itself is not a guarantee you will sustain 1 hour 20 minute half marathon pace. What percentage of your weekly volume are you practicing running at or below 6:06 mile or 3:47 kilometer pace? The best middle to long distance runners run around 40 percent of their weekly mileage at or below their goal marathon race paces.

So, there is a legitimate reason why these athletes make it look so easy. A common mistake is simply running too many of your miles or kilometers too slow. You have to plan accordingly. In addition, pace properly in your race so that you slow down less than your competition. Also, you want to start varying the paces of your long runs.

I was able to lower my marathon PB from 2:43:36 to 2:19:35 using this method. In addition, I lowered my half marathon best from 1:10:31 to 1:07:06 using the methods I teach in my courses and running plans. Remember, you always want to alternate a faster, varied pace long run followed the next week by an easy, relaxed long run.

Is A Sub 1 Hour 20 Min Half Marathon Fast?

Yes, a sub 1-20 half marathon is very competitive marathon time. So, 1 hour 20 minute half marathon pace comes out to 6:06 per mile for 13.1 miles. Are you outside of the united States of America and follow the metric system? You will need to sustain 3 minutes and 47 seconds per kilometer for 21.1 kilometers to run a 1:19:59. You don’t want to do long, slow easy runs every single weekend. A big mistake runners make is running too many miles or kilometers each week too slow.

Remember, your goal is to sustain sub 1:20 half marathon pace more effectively than your competition. So, in order to do that you have to pay attention to how you are setting up your training. You should check out the resources located here at rundreamachieve.com by clicking on any of the green buttons.

Speed development is also critical. I emphasize to the athletes I coach online here to do 1, vo2 max workout per week. Your vo2 max is your maximum oxygen uptake. It is running at speeds that are so fast you can’t clear lactic acid faster than it is building up. These types of workouts will help get your half marathon race pace to feel more manageable and less demanding.

1-20 half marathon pace
Founder of rundreamachieve.com breaking the 2:20 Marathon Barrier at the 2007 CIM Marathon

How Many Miles or Kilometers Should I Run Each Week?

Remember, it isn’t about the volume you are putting in that counts. It is the percentage of your weekly volume you are training at or below your goal race pace. Again, it doesn’t matter how much mileage you are putting in if it is conducted too slow. You will be a superior middle to long distance runner. The half marathon demands that you are not only strong endurance-wise but also speed developed as well. So, to run a half marathon under 1 hours 20 minutes you have to train smart.

You need to use leverage. Leverage simply means doing more with less. We all already know how to work hard. Do the hardest working athletes always get the results? No. What do the best middle to long distance runners do? They use leverage. The best are always seeking how can I get better results by doing less. So, you need to develop the will to train smart rather than hard. The philosophy with my training plans and running courses are built around this mindset.

Is a Sub 1 Hour 20 Minute Half Marathon Hard?

Of course, yes, a half marathon under 1 hour and 20 minutes is an extremely tough and competitive time. Again, the key to sustaining goal half marathon race pace effectively is improving your body’s lactate tolerance. So, you have to spend adequate time training at, near and far below sub 1-20 half marathon pace. Remember, it takes between 3 to 4 weeks for the body to adapt to any stress you are placing on it.

So, you have to be patient with your progress. Yes, a 3-mile tempo run will be tough at first. That being said, weeks down the line you will be doing 5 to 6 mile tempo runs at even faster paces. The body always adapts. It is us that become impatient and start to second guess ourselves when we try to rush the process of getting into better shape.

Make sure you are practicing hydration and taking in fluids during your long runs. There are far too many runners who don’t hydrate well enough in the race and pay for it in the latter stages of the marathon. Remember, emulate what the best half marathoners do and you will become even more successful. The half marathon is not a 5K. You may be able to get away with not drinking in a 5 kilometer event but not the half marathon.

How Difficult is Sub 1:20 Half Marathon?

Yes, a marathon time of 1:19:59 or faster is a very competitive time. One that many runners around the world are seeking to achieve. I have created 8, 12 and 16-week training plans ranging in distance from the mile all the way to the 50k distance here at rundreamachieve.com. In addition, have also created running courses designed for athletes just like you who are seeking success.

Investing in ones’ personal development is one effective way to make it to the next level in our sport. I, too, invested thousands of dollars myself to become the best athlete I could be. I was very fortunate to have been coached and/or mentored by 3 of the world’s top distance running coaches. The three were Jack Hazen, Lisa Rainsberger (1985 Boston Marathon champion) and Dr. Joe Vigil.

It helps to study what the best runners and coaches do to be successful. Also, to duplicate their work habits so that you get similar results.

How Do You Run a Sub 1-20 Half Marathon?

Spend 3 to 4 weeks running easy, aerobic base mileage first. The reason is you want to strengthen your body’s ligaments, tendons and muscles. Of course, you can do strides 2 to 3 times per week while you are building your foundational mileage. Strides are short, 50 to 100 meter sprints that help you focus on acceleration and your form. The great thing about doing strides is they are too short to build up any legitimate lactic acid. So, you can develop some of your speed even while building your fitness.

Running a half marathon under 1 hour 20 minutes means you need to hold under 6:06 mile or 3:47 kilometer pace. So, you have to get that sub 1-20 half marathon pace to feel more like a tempo run rather than an all-out effort. I believe a focus on doing longer tempo runs also will help you greatly.

The reason being is you are spending longer durations at your anaerobic threshold. A common mistake runners make is doing short tempo runs. Of course, a short tempo run will still give you a huge physiological boost. That being said, we are talking about the half marathon here, not the 5K.

Closing Thoughts

So, focus on choosing a 8, 12 or 16-week build up for your half marathon. I have built the training plans to fit into each athletes goals including the 1:20 half marathon barrier. In fact, you will be doing the exact same types of workouts I was doing to run 2:19:35 for the marathon and 1:07:06 for the half-marathon.

Of course, your workout paces will vary compared to mind. That being said, the workouts will be set up in such a way as to ensure you get 1-20 half marathon pace to feel easier.

Definitely check out and subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I create new videos there each week to help runners of all capabilities get the very best results. There are many resources here for you including monthly coaching, if interested. I hope you now have some more tools on how to maintain pace for a sub 1-20 half marathon.

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