Sub 2 Hour Half Marathon Pace Tips

Seeking how to run sub 2 hour half marathon pace more effectively? You’ve come to the right site. I’ve been competing in half marathon events since 1997 and hold a personal best time of 1:07:06.

My goal for you is to start using leverage and working smarter to get better results faster.

A common mistake many runners make is thinking higher mileage will get them the results they seek. Mileage run too slow will not yield a sub 2 hour half marathon. You have to focus on improving your lactate tolerance. Unfortunately, the only way to do that is to run faster over an extended period of time.

9:09 per mile for 13.1 miles is the overall goal. So, how often are you practicing running near, at or far below that pace? I always worked on running much faster than I ever planned on racing at during my career.

Why Aerobic Capacity Training is Essential

I was so highly trained I actually hit the first half-marathon in my marathon PR (2:19:35) three seconds off my half-marathon PR (1:07:06) in 1:07:09.

You can only spend anywhere from a few seconds to minutes training at your aerobic capacity. Your aerobic capacity is running at or close to your maximum heart rate. You cannot clear lactic acid faster than it is building up in your blood stream at this intensity.

That being said, working in this heart rate zone (174 to 190+ BPM) will help make sub 2 hour half marathon pace feel in control. Remember, it is not just about training at goal half marathon race pace. It is a combination of several different training methodologies to create the sought after physiological adaptations.

Below are a few strategies I can share with you that will help in your sub 2 hour half marathon quest.

  • gradually extend the length of your tempo runs.

Tempo runs should be conducted at your anaerobic threshold. Also known as AT runs, these workouts take place approximately at the same heart rate you will be racing at.

So, it is critical that you gradually extend the amount of time and distance you spend at this heart rate. Your anaerobic threshold is between 165 to 174 beats per minute. The best half marathoners in the world make it look easy for a reason.

Don’t get discouraged if you cannot sustain pace for too long early on in your fitness. Your body will adapt to the training and stress you are placing on it. It takes approximately 21 days to do this. So, the benefits of the training you do today will not be seen until weeks down the road.

Be patient.

sub 2 hour half marathon pace
training at 10,000+feet in Colorado

Recommended Workouts To Run A Half Marathon Under 2 Hours

The below listed workouts are the exact types of training sessions I did to run 1:07:06.

I have changed up the paces to reflect what is needed to run a half marathon under 2 hours.

  • 4-8 mile tempo run at 9:15-30 mile pace
  • 4-6 x1 mile on the track in 8:20 per rep within 2 minutes recovery between sets
  • 16-18 mile long run – conducted at 160 beats per minute or 85 percent of your maximum heart rate

Regarding the above listed long run, it will take time to adapt to running this far at this intensity. A good rule of thumb is to focus on alternating one harder and faster long run followed by an easier long run the following week.

The main reason I was able to lower my half marathon best from 1:10:31 to 1:07:06 was conducting my long runs at faster paces.

You may do 3 to 7 miles of your planned 10-18 miler at 160 beats per minute. So, as you get fitter you will be able to extend the amount of time you spend at that given heart rate.

I have found that long, slow long runs will make for great long, slow half marathoners.

Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

My job as your online mentor and coach is to get you to sustain that pace. In addition, our overall goal is to get 9:09 mile pace to feel easier.

  • 16x200m on the track in 56 seconds per rep (7:35 mile pace) with 1-2 minutes recovery per rep

The idea of the above listed example workouts is to spend time running at speeds that far exceed what you plan to race at. Obviously, you are not aiming to hold 7:35 mile pace for 13.1 miles. That being said, you are getting your body used to running much faster than 9:09 mile pace.

Thus, the training adaptation that occurs is your lactate tolerance is improved over time. Below are a few more helpful articles that I have written on this subject. Stay tuned as I am currently working on a new running course to help athletes dip under the 2 hour half marathon barrier.

2 Hour Half Marathon Domination

Run A Half Marathon in 2 Hours: Break 2 HRS Fast

Sub 2 Hour Half Marathon Manifesto (e-book)

How To Improve Athletic Performance

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