1 30 Half Marathon Tips to Get to 1:29.59

The sub 1 30 half marathon barrier is one many runners are seeking to break. Welcome to RunDreamAchieve. I am glad you have made it here. Are you seeking to break this time goal? If so, kudos to you. It is a time that I highly respect myself and I have run 1:07:06 for the distance. No, it didn’t happen overnight. It took me from 1992 to 2007 to run 2:19:35 for the marathon.

Consistent work output is critical if you want to get to the next level in your training. I hope that this post will be of assistance to you. Of course, there are resources here that I have created from 30 years of experience which can help too. You need to sustain 6:52 mile or 4:16 per kilometer in order to run a time of 1:29.59 for the half-marathon.

Pace sustainment is a big challenge for all of us as runner. How can we train in such a way to clear lactic acid effectively? One of the most powerful ways is faster long runs which I’ll touch on here.

How to Lessen the Effects of 1 30 Half Marathon Pace

One of the biggest mistakes I see a lot of runners making is running too much volume too aerobically. Yes, you still need to run easy to build endurance. That being said, easy running is not going to help you race a half marathon at this pace. So, we have to run a higher percentage of the athlete’s weekly volume at, near or far below sub 1 30 half marathon race pace.

My top recommendation is to focus first on at least a 4-week base-building build up. Remember, you have to strengthen the tendons, ligaments and muscles first. We then start focusing on half marathon specific training. In addition, moving into the speed development phase and closing the training plan with a 10-day taper. The longer you prefer for your half marathon, the better.

I recommend a minimum of 16 and preferably 20 weeks to adequately prepare. Remember, it takes between 3 to 4 weeks for the body to adapt to any stressor you are placing on it. So, you can’t be in a rush to get into great, anaerobic shape. I do recommend doing strides twice per week during your base phase. Strides are short, acceleration drills. In addition, won’t build up any significant lactic acid.

Is 1 Hour 30 a Good Half Marathon Time?

Yes. A sub 1:30 half marathon is a superior run time in my opinion. The faster you are aiming at running the more that is going to be required out of you. Again, how well you deal with pain and lactic acid build up will dictate your success. As mentioned above, working on your leg speed with strides and focus on speed development will help. Remember, the goal is to get that sub 1 30 half marathon pace to feel more like a moderate effort.

how to pace a half marathon
Coach Pennington setting his PR of 1:07:06 for the half-marathon

So, training for longer periods of time at your anaerobic threshold. What has been the longest tempo run you have done in the past training for your half marathons? 5 miles? 6? I would recommend working toward 7 to 10 miles (16 kilometers). Again, the more anaerobic the training the greater the adaptation will be. Our anaerobic threshold is the point where lactic acid starts to build up in the body.

You are running between 85 to 88 percent of your maximum heart rate at this effort. It will help to improve you body’s lactate tolerance. In addition, lessen the effects of sub 1 30 half marathon pace. Of course, everything hurts in the early stages of your build up. It takes a great deal of time to get into superior, anaerobic shape. So, it is critical that I stress the importance of being patient training for your half marathon.

How Do You Break a 1.30 Half Marathon?

A made a video about this topic which I am attaching below. Make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I create new video content there each week to help runners such as yourself get to the next level in their training.

Proper pacing is essential to break this time. You don’t want to run the first 10 miles at 6:20 mile pace only to crash and burn in the last 5K. Again, even pacing with a negative split in the second half of the race is a better game plan.

I also stress to my athletes that you need to be working on your hydration practices as well. Remember, this is a 21.1 kilometer or 13.1 mile race, not a 5 or 10K. So, you have to ensure you are drinking and not sipping in the race. Watch the best middle to long distance runners. They most certainly pay attention to their nutrition and hydration. So, start sitting water bottles out every 3 miles or 5 kilometers during your long runs.

Study how much fluid you normally can ingest so you don’t get to the race and drink too much. You don’t want to get a cramp in the race that you’ll have to deal with for too long of a period of time.

How Do You Get a Sub 1.30 Half Marathon?

Focus on Your Speed Work

I recommend doing at least 1 and no more than 2, vo2 max workouts per week. The majority of runners only will need 1 speed workout per week. Of course, the more advanced the runner the more that is required. It is not uncommon for many elite runners to do more than 1 speed workout per week. That being said, the vast majority really one need 1. You are running at between 95 to 100 percent of your maximum heart rate running at your vo2 max.

In fact, you are running at such high speeds you can’t clear lactic acid faster than it is building up. So, we need to take small breaks in between each rep. I recommend starting your next rep once your heart rate is back down to 120 beats per minute. The key here is to recruit more fast twitch muscle fibers. The more of these you can recruit the more efficient (economical) you are going to run.

Workout such as these will help sub 1 30 half marathon pace to feel more manageable. Again, the end goal is to sustain pace longer and slow down less than your competition. The training plans and running courses I have created heavily focus on both speed and building the endurance of the athlete.

Faster Long Runs

I lowered my half marathon from 1:10.31 to 1:07.06 and my marathon from 2:43.36 to 2:19.35. No, it wasn’t an overnight success. That being said, once I adapted to this stress I was able to start dropping time. Again, long slow running will produce long, slow runners. Your goal isn’t to run slow and we know that a sub 1 30 half marathon is a highly competitive time.

So, you have to start thinking outside the box. I would recommend training a minimum of 16 and preferably 20-weeks to do this correctly. Fitness required to run a time this fast will not occur quickly. Remember, always alternate a faster, long run the following week by an easy, relaxed long run. Recover is essential. Google the word “supercomensation”. You can thank me later with a PR. Your competition more than likely has never heard of that term.

These forms of long runs will test you to the limit. So, you need to be jogging 24 and preferably 48 hours after this type of long run. No, the entire long run does not need to be fast but a portion of it does. Below are some examples of the types of faster long runs I was doing prior to running 2:19:35.

  • 2 mile jog warm-up, 10 miles@5:20-25 mile pace, 2 miles jog, 1 mile in 4:55, 3 mile easy jog cool-down (18 miles)
  • 1 mile warm-up, 5 miles@6:00 mile pace, 3 miles easy, 2 miles@5:10 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 1 mile in 5:00, 3 miles@5:55 pace, 1 mile cool-down (18 miles)
  • 1 mile warm-up, 17 miles steady@5:35 mile pace, 2 mile easy, 2 miles@6:00 mile pace, 1 mile jog cool-down (23 miles)

Mental Training

How often do you spend training mentally for this goal time of running under the 1 hour 30 minute half marathon barrier? The reality is a very small percentage of runners pay attention to mental rehearsal. Do you want to distance yourself from the masses? If so, you need to start spending 10 to 15 minutes each day visualizing success.

3 hour marathon pace
Coach Pennington finishing as the top American, in 4th place with a time of 2:19:35 (1:07:09 through first half) at the 2007 California International Marathon

The best time to do this is when you first get up in the morning or when you go to bed at night. So, see yourself getting across that finish line with 1:29.59 on the clock. In addition, running strong, confident and relaxed during the race. Relaxation is key to perform at high levels in this sport. I always focused on keeping my muscles as relaxed as possible during sub-maximal and maximum efforts.

Yes, it does require practice. That being said, the less mental or physical stress the better you are going to cover this half marathon distance. Running fast is an art form. Running easy just about anyone can do for a number of minutes, kilometers or miles. Make sense?

Closing Thoughts

Make sure you are jogging on recovery days and hydrating well. Also, ensure to replace the glycogen you lose during those long runs. So, have some fruit, protein drinks and/or protein bars such as Clif or Powerbars readily available within 30 minutes of completing your workouts.

I hope this post has been helpful. Again, this is just a brief overview and there are many other factors that go into breaking this time. We also have training plans, online monthly coaching options and courses available here at RunDreamAchieve. So, definitely check those out as well.

Keep me posted on your progress or you can contact me anytime as well. I look forward to hearing how these resources helped you demolish the sub 1 30 half marathon barrier.

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