Nathan Pennington Running in The Distance

2 Hour Half Marathon Pace KM | 1:59.59 Tips

Are you seeking what sub 2 hour half marathon pace km entails? If so, welcome to RunDreamAchieve. I am glad you have made it here. Sub 2 hour half marathon pace is not slow. In fact, it is a highly competitive time and one that many people are aiming to achieve. Pace sustainment is a major challenge for many runners. The key tactic is to improve your body's ability to clear lactic acid more effectively.

Of course, many runners can sustain this pace for a few miles or kilometers. That being said, it is something entirely different to hold it for 13.1 miles or 21.1 kilometers. My aim with this post is to share some strategies I would use in order to break this time barrier. I have run 1:07:06 for the half-marathon and 2:19:35 for the marathon.

So, I do understand what it takes to run fast over these distances. I have created 8 to 20 week training plans and running courses here at RunDreamAchieve to set you up for success. In addition, have online monthly coaching available here as well, if interested.

Is 2 Hours a Good Half Marathon Time?

Yes, a sub 2 half marathon is a highly competitive time. It comes out to 9:09 per mile pace or 5:41 per kilometer pace. So, you won't be able to achieve this time simply by running slow and easy every day. Of course, aerobic running is important for building endurance.

That being said, you have to improve your body's lactate tolerance. How can we work smarter and use leverage to get the results we want? The reality is far too many runners already know how to work hard. Do hard working athletes always get the results? Not always. So, you have to change up your training tactics. I believe the longer you can prepare for your half marathon, the better.

Athletes should focus on a minimum of 12 and preferably 20 weeks to prepare properly. It takes the body between 3 to 4 weeks to adapt to the stresses we place on it. Remember, fitness cannot be rushed.

What Pace is a Sub 2 HR Half Marathon?

As mentioned above, a 1:59:59 half marathon comes out to 9:09 per mile or 5:41 per kilometer. You may also want to check out the Sub 4 Hour Marathon Pace Mastery course here at RunDreamAchieve as well. There are some athletes who have broken the 2:00 half marathon barrier and are seeking to break 4 hours for the marathon next. I know it can seem daunting going after a fast marathon.

20 week marathon training plan pdf
Coach Pennington finishing in 4th place and top American at the 2007 California International Marathon in 2:19:35 (1:07:09/1:12:26)

My goal while I was still a 2:43:36 marathoner was to break 2:22 for the distance. That being said, at that time, my best half marathon was 1:10.29. So, trying to run 1:11 for two, back-to-back half-marathons was intimidating. That being said, I was patient and stayed focused on what I wanted. I ended up running 2:19:35 for the marathon at the 2007 California International Marathon.

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2 Hour Half Marathon Pace in KM

5 minutes and 41 seconds per kilometer is what you need to maintain in order to run a 1:59:59 and breaking that sub 2 hour half marathon barrier. I would first focus on spending 4 weeks running easy, aerobic mileage. The main reason for this is to strengthen your body. In addition, to build your endurance. I would start introducing strides into your routine as well twice per week.

A lot of times runners start running too fast too soon. Remember, we are seeking to plan accordingly for success. So, don't be in a rush. Again, it will take your body time to adapt to the stresses you are placing on it. It won't happen quickly or overnight. Strides won't built up any lactic acid. They are simply too short to do so. These are gradual sprints of between 50 to 100 meters in length. In addition, you can continue to do these throughout your 8 to 20 week build up.

Of course, I would recommend a minimum of 12 to and preferably 20 weeks to prepare. Again, the longer you can prepare the better off you are going to be. The main reason is you won't be in a rush to get into great shape.

2 Hour Half Marathon Training Plan Tips

Focus on running longer during your long runs

What has been the longest long runs you have done in the past? 10 miles? 12? If so, you need to run longer. Again, you have to build endurance to run a great half marathon and sustain 2 hour half marathon pace km.

That being said, you don't want to run long and slow every single weekend. I'll get to that shortly. It was not uncommon for me to run between 17 to 20 miles when preparing for my half marathons. Of course, we don't immediately start athletes doing long runs of this length.

The running courses I teach and the training plans I have created focus on periodization. So, we first get the athlete adapted to each stressor first. Again, focusing on between 3 to 4 weeks in order to this before moving to the next volume and intensity. So, your first long run may only be about 6 or 7 miles. We then focus on gradually extending the time on our feet.

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Run faster, varied paced long runs

One of the best ways to master the sub 2 half marathon pace is to run faster during those long runs. I always recommend doing a faster long run followed the following week with an easy, relaxed long run. The reason for this is you always want to focus on recovery. Google the word “Supercompensation”. I guarantee your competition has never heard of it or know little about it.

how to pace a half marathon
Coach Pennington setting his PR of 1:07:06 at the Philadelphia Rock and Roll Half Marathon (formerly called the Philadelphia Distance Classic)

The rules for success is to remember the benefits of your hard work come from the rest period. No, I am not saying you have to run your entire long run fast. I am saying you need to spend a portion of your long run running aerobically as well as anaerobically. Below are some examples of the varied paced long runs I was doing prior to running 1:07:06 for the half-marathon and 2:19:35 for the marathon.

  • 2 mile warm-up, 5 miles@5:32 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 1 mile in 4:50, 3 miles@6:00 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 6 miles@5:45 mile pace, 2 mile jog cool-down (23 miles)
  • 1 mile warm-up, 10 miles@5:30 mile pace, 2 mile jog, 2 miles@10:20, 2 mile jog, 3 miles@5:50 mile pace, 1 mile jog, 1 mile in 5:00, 1 mile jog cool-down (23 miles)
  • 1 mile jog warm-up, 15 miles@5:30 mile pace, 1 mile cool-down (17 miles)

How Do I Pace for a Sub 2 Hour Half Marathon?

Proper pacing is essential if you are going to break this barrier. I would recommend focusing on doing a negative split. So, run the second 6+ miles faster than the first half. Make sure you are hydrating well in the race as well. You are not going to perform well if you fail to hydrate properly in the race. I would focus on dropping water bottles out every 3 miles during your long runs in training.

The best long distance runners drink, not sip, during their races. Remember, this is a 13.1 mile or 21.1 kilometer race. It is not a 5 or 10K. So, you have to respect the distance. A major mistake runners make is thinking they can run a great half marathon time by just sipping two dixie cups worth of fluid in the race. Again, the goal is 9:09 mile pace or 5:41 per kilometer. So, don't run the first 6 miles at 8:15 mile pace unless you are fully prepared to do it for the following 6+ miles.

You could find a pace group that is aiming on pacing runners to get their sub 2 half marathon goal. If not, focus on hitting that goal 9:09 mile/5:41 kilometer pace with each mile or kilometer marker. I would really focus on running as fast as you possibly can in those last 5 kilometers.

More Time Spent at Your Anaerobic Threshold

What has been the longest tempo run you have done in the past for your half marathons? 4 miles? 5? I would focus on extending the duration out toward 7 to 10 miles. Again, we don't start out this far. So, your first tempo runs may be anywhere from 2 to 3 miles in length. We only start extending the duration once the athlete has adapted to the stress.

We run between 85 to 88 percent of our maximum heart rate at our anaerobic threshold. So, you are running slightly faster than goal 1 hour 59 minute half marathon pace at this effort. Tempo runs will help you to recruit more fast twitch muscle fibers as well speed workouts. Vo2 max workouts, will also help get that sub 2 hour half marathon pace km to feel more like marathon race pace.

I have my athletes doing 1 and sometimes 2 vo2 max workouts per week. It is usually only once though. The only time two are placed in is when the athlete is in superior, anaerobic shape. We run between 95 to 100 percent of our maximum heart rate when doing speed or hill workouts. So, these, as you already know, are not fun and painful.

Closing Thoughts

Remember, the longer you spend at training at your anaerobic threshold the more effective you are going to race. In addition, doing those speed workouts spent running at paces significantly faster than goal half marathon race pace work. Again, we want to slow down less in the race than our competition. In addition, be passing people in the latter stages of the race.

It is not a good feeling to have gone out too fast and be slowing down in the latter part of the race. So, proper pacing is key. Also, making sure the athlete stays as relaxed as possible. You can practice doing this in training. Easy running doesn't require a lot of effort. The faster we run the more oxygen is required. Relaxation is critical to run well at sub-maximal and maximum efforts.

Look at all of the great sprinters, middle and long distance runners. They all, for the most part, looked relaxed while racing. Success leaves clues. I hope this post has been helpful. Of course, this is just a brief overview. Make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I create new content there weekly to help runners such as yourself get to the next level.

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