Nathan Pennington Running in The Distance

Good Half Marathon Time by Age | Tips to PR

Are you wondering what is a good half marathon time by age? If so, welcome to RunDreamAchieve. I am glad you have made it here. My hope is that the training strategies and running tips in this post will be helpful to you. Athletes of all ages can run a fast half marathon time but it does take time and patience. I wouldn't try to rush your fitness. Yes, it takes time to get into great anaerobic shape. In fact, it takes between 3 to 4 weeks for your body to adapt to any stress load you are placing on it.

So, a 16 and preferably 20 to 24 week build up is optimal timing for you to run a personal best for the half marathon. I have run 1:07:06 for the half and 2:19:35 for the marathon. Of course, these times didn't happen overnight. I didn't have a great deal of talent. What I did have, much like other runners, is a high level of work ethic. So, what you lack in talent can be made up for with your desire and persistence.

The half marathon is 21.1 kilometers or 13.1 miles in length. You will need to be smart about training build up. In addition, work on running at paces that are closer to your 3k to 10k race pace. The reason for this is to get your half marathon race pace to feel easier. In addition, to lessen the effects of higher amounts of lactic acid build up.

Average Half Marathon Time by Age

Age is one of many factors that go into running a fast half marathon. There are some runners who peak later in their life and may run a personal best time in their late 30s or even 60s. They may not have run nearly as fast in their teens or 20s. So, it just depends on the maturity level of the athlete. In addition, how they are setting up their training.

What happens if 90 percent of your weekly volume is spent running easy? Will this help you when it comes to racing over the half marathon distance? Sure, you will have built up some endurance but not strength or speed development. So, you need a healthy dose of both anaerobic as well as aerobic training to run a personal best over the half marathon distance. Remember, producing a good half marathon time by age comes down to training well below goal half marathon race pace.

Below is an overview of ages and good half marathon times and half marathon pace for males

Credit: Marathon Hand Book

Good Half Marathon Time by Age for Females

Below are some good half marathons times by age for the ladies…

Credit: Marathon Hand Book

Average and goof half marathon times will vary depending on who you ask. The key focus for you should always be working to get your half marathon race pace to feel easier. The only way to do this is by training at your vo2 max. I

n addition, training for longer periods of time at your anaerobic threshold. We are running at between 85 to 88% at our tempo run effort.

Our vo2 max is our maximum oxygen uptake. It is when we are running so fast we can't clear lactic acid faster than it is building up. So, we have to take small breaks between intervals in order to complete the workout.

Again, the end goal of these types of workouts is to help sustain pace longer than our competition. Easy running alone will not help you do this. We are running between 95 to 100 percent of our maximum heart rate at vo2 max effort.

Good Half Marathon Time for Beginner

A good half marathon time for beginners is anywhere from 2:20 to 3 hours. Of course, there are runners who can run much slower and others who can run much faster. So, it depends on your genetic talent and how determined you are to run fast over 13.1 miles or 21.1 kilometers. Again, the longer your build up the better of you will be. You will have trained yourself properly and not have been in a rush.

One of the top things you can do to become a better half marathon is don't run long and slow every single weekend. A common mistake I see runners making is running too easy too often. Yes, you have superior endurance.

That being said, when it comes to race you will have pace sustainment issues. Running easy just about anyone can do. It is an art form to one fast and it takes a great deal of patience in order to achieve. Below are some tactics you can use to run faster over the half marathon distance.

Lengthen the Duration of Your Long Runs

What has been the longest long run you have done in your past half marathon build ups? 10 miles? 14 miles? I would focus on extending your long runs out toward 16 to 18 miles for the half marathon event. One of the major benefits is the psychological boost you'll get knowing you have run this far. Of course, you don't want to run low every single weekend.

That being said, running longer will build your endurance and confidence. Also, make sure to practice hydrating better during these runs. The best long distance runners know how important fluid intake and calories ingesting during their races is.

So, make sure to practice this in training. Remember, don't think you can get away with no drinking in a half marathon and expect a good time. Focus on hydrating well before, during and after your long runs. The better you get at this the better you are going to race over the half marathon distance.

Run Your Long Runs Faster

No, that doesn't mean you have to do these fast every single weekend. Good luck trying to do one fast the whole way. You can expect your long run to be drastically shorter if you do. What you should do is alternate a faster, varied paced long run one weekend followed the next with an easy, relaxed long run. The focus here is adaptation.

You can only stress the energy systems of the body so many times before you get a diminished return on your investment. I used this tactic to improve my half marathon best from 1:10.29 to 1:07.06. In addition, lowered my marathon time from 2:43:36 to 2:19:35. So, I know this works. Below are some examples of the types of faster long runs I was doing leading up to my 2:19:35 marathon…

  • 2 mile jog, 11 miles@5:30 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 1 mile in 4:55, 5 miles at 5:55 mile pace, 1 mile jog (22 miles)
  • 2 mile jog, 5 miles@5:25 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 2 miles@5:15 mile pace, 7 miles@6:00 mile pace, 1 mile easy, 1 mile in 4:55, 2 miles easy (22 miles)

I would always follow the next weekend long run with an easy, relaxed effort. No, I didn't immediately start doing long runs at these types of efforts. Remember, you have to build slowly and then and only then start speeding up your efforts. I have tried to convey this in the running plans and running courses that I have created here at RunDreamAchieve.

Longer Tempo Runs

The longer you can spend running at your anaerobic threshold the better. We are running between 85 to 88% of our maximum heart rate during our tempo runs. Remember, we race our half marathon and marathon events right around or slightly faster than this intensity. So, it is essential to gradually lengthen the distance of your tempo runs.

I believe tempo runs in distance between 7 to 10 miles are adequate to prepare properly for the half marathon race distance. Yes, you need to first start off around 2 to 3 mile tempo runs before thinking about longer efforts. That being said, these types of workouts along with your speed training will help you recruit more fast twitch muscle fibers.

The more fast twitch muscle fibers you recruit the more efficient (effective) you are going to race once you taper. I believe in a 10-day rather than a 3-week taper. A common mistake I see a lot of runners making is dropping their volume and intensity too far out. It leaves them feeling more tired than energized. Remember, 10 days is plenty of time to fully recover from your hard training build up.

Focus on Your Leg Speed

One of the top ways to become a faster and more competitive half marathon is speed training. You need to be doing 1, vo2 max workout per week. We are running at 95 to 100 percent of our maximum heart rate during speed workouts. The key tactic with these types of workouts is to lessen the effects of lactic acid build up when you race. Again, the overall aim is to improve the body's lactate tolerance.

good half marathon time by age
Coach Pennington finishing at the top American and in 4th place overall at the 2007 California International Marathon in 2:19:35 (1:07:09/1:12:26)

So, you can race for a longer period of time without slowing down. Yes, racing will still test you to your limits. That being said, you will be able to clear lactic acid faster than it is building up. The result is you will get in a flow state and get across the finish line under your goal half marathon pace.

Closing Thoughts

So, a good half marathon time by age depends on the overall focus of the athlete. The good news is we can run very fast times for many years in our sport. Make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I make new videos there each week to help professionals such as yourself make that next big leap in your training and racing.

Feel free to visit the about page if you would like to know more about my racing background. I hope that this post has been useful to you. Remember, there are many resources available here for you. The end goal is to help speed up your learning curve. Also, to help you get to your race fully prepared. More importantly, rested. Again, the benefits of the hard training you are doing today will be seen several and weeks from now.

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