How Long Does It Take To Run A Half Marathon

how long does it take to run a half marathon

How Long Does It Take To Run A Half Marathon

How long does it take to run a half marathon?

It really is dependent on the individual and everyone is different.

There are athletes that could run and finish one with little to no training at all.

Running a half marathon and racing one are two very different aspects to endurance sport.

The world record for the half marathon stands at 58:23 for men by Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea and 1:05:09 for females by Florence Kiplagat of Kenya.

These are incredibly fast times.

In fact, Florences’ 1:05:09 world-record is faster than my 1:07:06 personal best for the half marathon.

I still think I could go under 1:05:00 for the half as I hit 1:07:09 through the first half en route to my 2:19:35 marathon best.

Regardless, what Florence and Zersenay did is nothing short of magnificent in the world of running.

These are superb performances, faster than any human being has ever run.

How long does it take to run a half marathon if you are not super human like these two?

The majority of people run them anywhere from as fast as just over an hour to 3 hours or more.

Training Methods

The methods of training I was taught to improve your overall half marathon best is training at or below the goal pace you want to race the distance at.

Your goal may be just to finish a half marathon which is just as respectable because many people will never try to even run one.

There are thousands of people each year that compete in half marathon competitions around the world.

The fastest courses I have ever run on and that I recommend are the Virginia Beach half marathon and the Philadelphia half marathon.

These are two of the fastest courses in the world to go after a fast time, if that is your goal.

How long does it take to run a half marathon is dependent on you.

If you want to just go out and try to complete the 13.1 mile distance and get to the finish line to earn your medal you could be ready in a matter of weeks.

If you are focusing more on a specific race time you have to be a bit more strategic and it can take anywhere from 8 to 16 weeks to be fully ready.

Again, it depends on what you are focusing on.

Normally, when competing for a specific time you have to focus on building a foundation of miles and than gradually increasing the intensity of those miles.

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Early on, it is fine to run easy mileage to get your joints stronger for longer, more intense workouts but the name of the game is stamina and speed.

The best runners in the world make it look easy for a reason; just another day at the pool.

They have spent an enormous amount of time training at faster paces and that is why they make it look so automatic.

The Kenyans

Most people when they think of running and racing in half marathon events they think about the kenyan runners.

I can tell you from having lived and trained with them that they are no different than you and I.

They hurt and have the same feelings as anyone else.

They get tired and can also be beaten provided you do the proper half marathon training and you had best have done your homework well to make that a reality.

I speak from experience on that statement.

Obviously, that may not be your goal but if it is you have to think and train the way they do which is limitless and fast.

I haven’t associated myself with too many kenyan or world-class athletes who believed in limits.

They were always seeking to better their efforts, always searching for the answer to how long does it take to run a half marathon but in the shortest amount of time possible.


Whether your goal is to finish the distance or to run the half marathon event in a specific time you need to maintain a positive mindset.

The most important aspect, in my opinion, to running is your mindset.

You cannot expect this to be easy because it isn’t.

If you are willing to put in the work you will see the rewards but most people expect too much, too soon, and second guess themselves when they don’t meet their race goals.

I always ask runners who doubt themselves after a poor performance how they trained.

I want to know the mechanics of their preparation because I can tell quickly where the leaks are in their training.

When I broke the 2:20:00 marathon barrier I ensured that I was ready to compete.


The morning of California International Marathon in Sacramento, California I was racing against guys that had far superior times to the 2:40:02 PR I owneed prior to the start of the race.

My mindset and preparation working together is why I finished 4th in 2:19:35.

Psychologically speaking, they may have been superior to me prior to the start of the race with faster times, but I was just as capable as them mentally.

You have to remind yourself of this when you race that these are just people. They are no better than you are. They experience the same feelings, doubts and worries as you do.

The mental aspect of preparation and competing is probably the most important piece of the puzzle in answering how long does it take to run a half marathon.

I say that because how fast you want to get out the door to compete in one is entirely up to you.

You have to make that decision for yourself. You won’t throw seeds down on the ground and a great sequioa tree is going to come up overnight.

Doesn’t work like that.

Are you focusing on competing just to finish the race, commendable considering how so many never will attempt, or do you want to race the distance.

The event is 13.1 miles of 21.1 kilometers long so you have to prepare regardless what your focus is for running a half marathon.

How long does it take to run a half marathon can be answered by your determination, work ethic and patience to see your goal through.

The fact that you are asking the question already tells me you are a winner and will do big things in our sport.

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