Average Half Marathon Time By Age

Are you wondering what is the average half marathon time by age? If so, welcome to RunDreamAchieve. There truly has never been a better time to start using leverage than now. The good news is we are in a sport where runners can run superior times well into their 60s and early 70s. The key thing to keep in mind regarding running fast is improving your body’s lactate tolerance.

Yes, running easy is still essential to run a fast half marathon time. That being said, you have to run at speeds greater than 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. We run at our anaerobic threshold at 85 to 88 percent of maximum heart rate. I was able to lower my half marathon from 1.10.29 to 1.07.06 using the strategies I’ll briefly cover in this post.

In addition, will discuss the average half marathon time by age and gender. Of course, these are general times. Athletes who peak correctly, pay attention to their nutrition and focus can surpass the times listed below.

What is a Respectable Half Marathon Time?

A sub 2 hour half marathon is a highly respectable half marathon time. You need to sustain 9:09 per mile or 5:41 per kilometer in order to run a time of 1:59:59. In fact, I have created a course called the Sub 2 Hour Half Marathon Domination course you may be interested in. I know a lot of athletes out there are seeking to break the sub 2 half marathon barrier.

I combine all of the tactics and strategies I used the past 30 years in my courses. In addition, have created training plans that range from 8 to 20 weeks as well. Remember, the longer you can prepare for a half marathon, the better. The main reason is you want to be 100 percent going into your main half marathon race. It takes between three to four weeks for your body to adapt to any stress being placed upon it.

So, trying to rush fitness in a matter of 4 to 6 weeks is not wise. I have seen far too many runners doubt themselves and even quit when results don’t come as fast as they would like. Patience is critical in this event. I would focus also on introducing strides into your build up after week 2. Strides are too short to build up any lactic acid to tire you out.

20 Week Half Marathon Training Plan

A 4 month half marathon training plan is sufficient time to prepare 100 percent for this event. Of course, you can still get in legitimate shape in a matter of 8 to 16 weeks as well. Again, the longer you can prepare the better off you are going to be going into a half marathon. I ran 1:07:06 for the half-marathon and 2:19:35 for the marathon. That being said, the majority of my build ups lasted between 16 to 20 weeks.

great marathon time
Coach Pennington finishing at the top American, in 4th place and with a USA Track and Field Olympics Trials “A” standard time (2:19:35) at the 2007 California International Marathon

I knew that in order to run the types of times I was aiming at I had to do it right. I could not be in a rush. The same goes for you. My goal here is to share with you tactics that will help you drop significant time. So, what are some strategies you can use to run a faster half marathon?

The subconscious mind, cannot tell the difference between reality or imagination

– Billy Mills, Olympic Gold Medalist, 10,000m

20 weeks is optimal time to fully prepare for a new personal best over 21.1k or 13.1 miles. Remember, focus also on mental training as well. The vast majority of athletes only focus on physical preparation. The very best visualize daily seeing themselves crossing the finish line in their goal time.

Focus On Building Your Base Foundation First

It is essential that you gently move into your training build up. Yes, there will be days where you may have to jog and walk during your runs. Of course, I know you want to be in superior shape but it just doesn’t happen like that. It is not uncommon to feel horrible in the first few weeks of a build up. I have had times where it took me about 8 weeks just to get into descent aerobic shape.

I never rushed into doing fast speed workouts or tempo runs without first running a minimum of 4 weeks easy. The key thing here is to strengthen your body to handle the faster, anaerobic training you will be doing. The 4 phases of our training plans and the mindset around the courses here are…

  • Base training phase
  • Half marathon specific training phase
  • Speed development phase
  • Taper phase

Running Your Long Run Faster

A major mistake many runners make is doing their long runs too slow. Yes, they will stay committed and run every weekend. That being said, their long runs are still spent at too aerobic of a pace. Remember, to run the half marathon distance fast you have to train fast and often. I lowed my half marathon best from 1.10.29 to 1.07.06 using this tactic.

In addition, lowered my marathon personal best from 2:43:36 to 2:19:35. I didn’t start dropping that kind of time until I started using faster, varied paced long runs. Of course, I would always conduct the following week’s long run easy and relaxed. Again, the benefits of all your hard training are going to come from within the rest portion of your training.

Below are some examples of the types of the faster long runs I was doing. You will see there is a combination of slow, fast and very fast effort sprinkled into these. Yes, our paces may be different but I want you be thinking about this style of long run. The goal here is to help you get a new personal best.

  • 2 mile jog, 6 miles@5:30 mile pace, 2 mile jog, 1 mile in 4:55, 5 miles@5:55 mile pace, 2 mile jog, 2 miles@5:25 mile pace, 2 mile jog (22 miles)
  • 1 mile jog, 7 miles@5:40 mile pace, 2 mile jog, 2 miles@5:20 mile pace, 3 miles@6:00 mile pace, 2 mile jog, 1 mile in 5:00, 2 miles@5:50 mile pace, 1 mile jog (21 miles)

Lengthen Your Tempo Runs

Short tempo runs are great for the 5K or 10k events. That being said, for the half and full-marathon you need to be thinking longer. I would recommend working your way to between 7 to 10 mile tempo runs for your half marathon. No, this won’t happen overnight. Of course, you need to be thinking about doing 2 to 3 miler runs before you can work on longer efforts.

Again, it takes about 4 weeks for your body to adapt physiologically to the stresses being placed on it. So, we focus on periodization with the training plans and running courses here. What is our long-term goal? Hold goal half marathon pace longer than our competition. In addition, speed up in the latter stages of the race especially in that last 5 kilometers.

Work on Your Raw Leg Speed

Speed workouts will help you to recruit more fast twitch muscle fibers. The more of these you can recruit the more economical (efficient) you are going to race. Easy running won’t produce this physiological adaptation. Fast running will. So, do 1, v02 max workout per week. Your v02 max is your body’s maximum oxygen carrying capacity. You are running at between 95 to 100 percent of your maximum heart rate at these efforts.

Examples of half marathon v02 max workouts we focus are listed below…

  • Track and road intervals ranging from 100m to repeat 5Ks
  • 200-300m hill repetitions
  • Various duration fartlek workouts i.e. 3 reps, of 10x2min hard/1 min easy and variations thereof
  • Strides (although extremely short and won’t build lactic acid like longer speed sessions will)

The key is providing the athlete more time to recover between reps earlier in the training block. Of course, as the athlete adapts the paces of the intervals will increase and the rest period, decreases.

Run Longer

What has been the longest long run you have done in the past for your half marathon races? The average half marathon time by age and gender will vary dependent on this as well. The well-trained runner will have gotten very used to running much further than their race distance. So, you have to think bigger and longer here. Remember, new personal bests don’t fall in our laps. We have to train significantly faster than our goal half marathon race pace.

Has you longest run been 10 miles? 12? I would focus more toward going 17 to 20 miles. Yes, it will take some time to work your way to this far. That being said, if you are patient and not in a rush you can. Again, this is why I always preach to runners to focus on going 16 to 20 weeks during their build up.

You won’t be in a rush and will provide ample time to get in the best possible shape. So, focus first on 6 to 8 mile long runs in the early stages of your build up. We focus on the longer runs as you get in better aerobic and anaerobic shape. Make sense?

Average Half-Marathon Time for Women

The average half marathon time by age for women is right around 2 hours 1 minute and 17 seconds. A time like this is certainly a good half marathon time that comes out to 9 minutes and 15 seconds per mile. In addition, 5 minutes and 45 seconds per kilometer. The world record for the half marathon for the ladies was set by Letesenbet Gidey who ran an absurd 1:02:52 in 2020.

how to pace a half marathon
Coach Pennington setting his half-marathon PR of 1:07:06 at the 2007 Philadelphia Rock and Roll Half Marathon

Gidey’s world record time comes out to 4 minutes and 46 seconds per mile for 13.1 miles or 2 minutes and 58 seconds per kilometer for 21.1 kilometers. The average half marathon time by age for females aged 20 to 50 is between 3 minutes and 5 seconds to 2 hours 45 minutes. Of course, more advanced runners generally run the half-marathon under 2 hours. Females at the elite level usually run this distance well under 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Average Half Marathon Time for Males

The average half marathon time by age for men is around 1:44. Athletes running under this time barrier are holding 7:57 per mile or about 4:56 per kilometer.

Men on average run a half-marathon for 1:44:14. This is a good half time with a pace of 4:56 per kilometer or 7:57 per mile. The world record for men was set by Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda who ran a time of 57:31. Kiplimo’s time comes out to 2:43 per kilometer for 21.1 kilometers.

It also equates to 4:23 mile pace for 13.1 miles. Males between the ages of 20 to 50 usually run their first half-marathon anywhere from 2:25 to 2:44. The same age categories for more advanced runners run times of around 1:32 to 1:43. Elite level male athletes in these particular age group run a minimum of 1:31 or faster over the half-marathon distance.

Average Half Marathon Time for Beginners

Running level did a great overview of the average half time for beginners based on advanced to elite level athletes. For example, beginners are those that are categorized as faster than 5 percent of runners who compete.

Beginners have also been running for more than one month. In comparison, advanced runners are those that are faster than 80 percent of runners. In addition, these athletes have been competing for well over 5 years. Elite-level runners are faster than 95% of athletes competing. Also, they have been running for much longer than 5 years.

So, to get beyond the average pace for half marathon competitions you have to improve your body’s lactate tolerance. Yes, running easy is important. That being said, you have to train at paces considerably faster than the average pace for half marathon competitions. The goal is to slow down less than your competition. In addition, to teach the body to clear lactic acid faster than it is building up.

Female Runner Profiles

  • Women: 20 years old

Average beginner half marathon time : 2 hrs 45 minutes and 9 seconds

Advanced half time : 1 hr 47 minutes and 10 seconds

Average elite half marathon time : 1 hr 37 minutes and 17 seconds

Athletes running below the average pace for half-marathon events are in the 1% of top runners.

  • Women: 25 years old

Average beginner half marathon time : 2 hrs 43 minutes and 54 seconds

Advanced half time : 1 hr 46 minutes and 22 seconds

Average elite half marathon time : 1 hr 36 minutes and 33 seconds

Athletes running below the average pace for half marathon events are in the 1% of top runners.

  • Women: 30 years Old

Average beginner half marathon time : 2 hrs 43 minutes and 57 seconds

Advanced half time : 1 hr 46 minutes and 23 seconds

Average elite half marathon time : 1 hr 36 minutes and 34 seconds

Athletes running below the average pace for half-marathon events are in the 1 percent of top runners.

Good Beginner Half Marathon Time

Women: 35 years Old

Average beginner half marathon time : 2 hrs 45 minutes and 29 seconds

Advanced half time : 1 hr 47 minutes and 23 seconds

Average elite half marathon time : 1 hr 37 minutes and 29 seconds

Athletes running below the average time for half-marathon events are in the 1 percent of the best runners.

  • Women: 40 years Old

Average beginner half marathon time : 2 hrs 49 minutes and 20 seconds

Advanced half time : 1 hr 49 minutes and 53 seconds

Average elite half time : 1 hr 39 minutes and 45 seconds

Athletes running below the average pace for half marathon events are in the 1% of the best runners.

  • Women: 45 years Old

Average beginner half marathon time : 2 hrs 55 minutes and 50 seconds

Advanced half time : 1 hr 54 minutes and 6 seconds

Average elite half marathon time : 1 hr 43 minutes and 35 seconds

Athletes running below the average pace for half marathon events are in the 1% of the best runners.

Average Time to Run a Half Marathon

  • Women: 50 years Old

Average beginner half marathon time : 3 hrs 5 minutes and 31 seconds

Advanced half time : 2 hrs and 23 seconds

Average elite half marathon time : 1 hr 49 minutes and 17 seconds

Athletes running below the average time to run a fast half marathon time places you in the top 1% of the very best runners.

Good Half Marathon Time by Age for Males

  • Men: 20 years Old

Average beginner half time : 2 hrs 25 minutes and 17 seconds

Advanced half time : 1 hr 31 minutes and 31 seconds

Average elite half time : 1 hr 21 minutes and 42 seconds

Runners running faster than the average time to run a fast half places you in the top 1% of the best runners.

  • Men: 20-30 years Old

Average beginner half time : 2 hrs 25 minutes and 17 seconds

Advanced half time : 1 hr 31 minutes and 31 seconds

Average elite half time : 1 hr 21 minutes and 42 seconds

Runners running faster than the average time to run a half marathon places you in the top 1% of the best runners.

  • Men: 35 years Old

Average beginner half time : 2 hrs 26 minutes and 5 seconds

Advanced half time : 1 hr 32 minutes and 1 seconds

Average elite half time : 1 hr 22 minutes and 9 seconds

Runners running faster than the average time to run a half marathon places you in the top 1% of the best runners.

Respectable Half Marathon Time for 40 Year Old Males

  • Men: 40 years Old

Average beginner half time : 2 hrs 29 minutes and 51 seconds

Advanced half time : 1 hr 34 minutes and 23 seconds

Average elite half marathon time : 1 hr 24 minutes and 15 seconds

Runners performing faster than the average time to run a half-marathon places you in the top 1% of the top runners.

  • Men: 45 years Old

Average beginner half time : 2 hrs 36 minutes and 2 seconds

Advanced half time : 1 hr 38 minutes and 17 seconds

Average elite half time : 1 hr 27 minutes and 44 seconds

Runners performing faster than the average time to run a half-marathon places you in the top 1% of the top runners.

  • Men: 50 years Old

Average beginner half marathon time : 2 hrs 42 minutes and 51 seconds

Advanced half time : 1 hr 42 minutes and 35 seconds

Average fast half marathon time : 1 hr 31 minutes and 34 seconds

Athletes running faster than the average time to run a half-marathon places you in the top 1% of the best athletes.

Closing Thoughts

I hope this post has been helpful to give you an overview of the average half marathon time by age and gender of athletes. As mentioned above, these are just base standards. There are certainly men and women running much faster times for these age categories. That being said, these are around the average half marathon times by age and gender we usually see.

Make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. My aim is to create new videos there each week to help runners like you get to the next level in their training. Remember, continue to focus on all the other fundamentals that go into running fast over the middle to long distance events. Watch your pacing in this event. You should focus on running a negative split. So, run that second half of the race faster than the first.

Again, you want to speed up or maintain pace in the latter stages of your race. It is not a good feeling to be being passed by people when you have worked so hard. Improve your hydration practices in training. The best runners drink, they do not sip, in their races. Keep me posted on your progress. I am looking forward to hearing about your new personal best in the half marathon event.

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