Two Hour Half Marathon Pace Tips

Are you seeing tips on how to sustain two hour half marathon pace longer? If so, welcome to RunDreamachieve. I am glad you have made it here. I have run 1:07:06 for the half-marathon. So, do understand how challenging running under 2 hours for the half marathon is. You need to sustain 9:09 per mile for 13.1 miles or 5:41 per kilometer for 21.1 kilometers.

One of the biggest challenges is pace sustainment. How can you get sub 2 hour half marathon race pace to feel more manageable. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to do this. You have to train adequately both aerobically as well as anaerobically. In addition, you have to be mentally tough. There are many runners around the world seek to run a sub 2 half marathon.

My goal with this post is to share with you some strategies that can help you to start working smarter. I am sure you already know how to work hard. Do you or have you ever known runners who worked hard yet still missed their time goals? I have. So, it is important to think outside the box and study what the best middle to long distance runners do to succeed.

What is a 2 Hour Half Marathon Pace?

As mentioned above, to run a 1:59:59 half marathon you need to sustain 5 minutes and 41 seconds per kilometer for 42.2 kilometers. Are you in the united States of America? If so, you need to hold 9 minutes and 9 seconds per mile for 26.2 miles. How do you do this effectively? I recommend a minimum of 16 weeks and preferably a 20-week build up in order to have the highest chance of success.

The reason I mention longer build ups is that you cannot rush fitness. It takes the body between 21 days to 4 weeks to adapt to any stress load you are placing on it. So, the longer your build up the better. I do have 16 and 20 week programs here to help you better sustain sub two hour half marathon pace.

Is 2HRS Good for a Half Marathon?

Yes. Sub two hour half marathon pace is an extremely competitive effort. Again, the key is to improve your lactate tolerance. You want to teach the body to clear lactic acid faster than it is building up. Of course, we know running easy will not do this. That being said, I recommend spending 4 weeks running easy, aerobic base mileage. You can add in strides and doing them twice per week during your base building phase.

Strides are short acceleration drills that will help you with your form. In addition, practice running relaxed at sub-maximal efforts. I would advise doing 4-6x100m strides at least once per week and preferably twice per week. Strides are not long enough to build up any significantly lactic acid. That being said, they are powerful. The reason being is over a long, 16 to 20-week build up you would have spent several miles running at sprint speeds.

In addition, you will have done these on top of your other weekly training workouts. So, the first focus is to make sure you are building a strong mileage base before you start doing faster, anaerobic work.

2 Hour Half Marathon Training Plan

I have created training plans specifically for athletes seeking to sustain two hour half marathon pace for the distance. In addition, have also created an in-depth running course called the Sub 2 Hour Half Marathon Domiation course. We got into all of the specifics of what you need to do in order to run 1:59:59 or faster for the half marathon distance.

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

You can click on the button below to learn more about the Sub 2 Half course. Average athletes are not coming to RunDreamAchieve.com. Athletes that are seeking excellence and taking their running to the next level are. A legitimate 2 hour half marathon training plan should be at a minimum of 8 and preferably 20 weeks in length. Of course, everyone has varying schedules. So, do with your time what you can.

Of course, if you want to train properly and sustain two hour half marathon pace effectively, longer is better. Yes, you will need to be patient but your sub 2 half marathon will come to fruition.

How Do I Train for a Half Marathon in 2 Hours?

Focus on Running Longer

Time on your feet and building your endurance is essential. Also, don’t be in rush to jump into doing faster, anaerobic workouts. Remember, those efforts will come in due time. You need to first focus on strengthening your ligaments, tendons and muscles first. So, focus on a 4-week base building phase. The training plans and Sub 2 Hour Domination course we cover this.

The great aspect of these resources is they take the guesswork out of your preparation. You don’t have to guess what workouts or at what pace you need to be running them in at. Running longer will burn fat, build endurance and give you added confidence.

Faster, Varied Paced Long Runs

I used this tactic to lower my half marathon PR from 1:10:31 to 1:07:06. In addition, lowered my marathon time down from 2:43:36 to 2:19:35. You do not want to run long and slow every single weekend. All it will make you is an outstanding, long, slow runner. Remember, the goal here is to sustain two hour half marathon pace longer than your competition.

So, you want to maintain that pace and run more economically. The only way to do this is to run at or far below goal sub 2 half marathon race pace and often. Varied paced long runs are a mixture of both aerobic and anaerobic efforts. For example, below are some types of workouts I built into our RunDreamAchieve training plans.

  • 2 mile warm-up, 5 miles@9:00 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 1 mile in 8:00, 2 miles easy, 3 miles@9:30 mile pace, 1 mile cool-down
  • 2 mile warm-up, 12 miles steady@9:35 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 1 mile in 7:55, 1 mile easy, 3 miles@8:55, 1 mile jog-cool down
  • 1 mile warm-up, 4 miles@9:49, 4 miles@9:29, 2 miles easy, 4 miles@9:09, 1 mile easy, 1 mile in 8:00, 1 mile cool-down

Longer Tempo Runs

We race our half marathons right around or slightly faster than our anaerobic threshold. So, it is important to send longer periods of time running at this intensity. It is about 85 to 88% of your maximum heart rate. What has been the longest tempo run you have done in the past? 4 miles? 5? If so, you need to think about extending the duration more toward 10 miles or 16 kilometers.

Marathon Sub 3 Hour Training Plan
Coach Pennington finishing in 4th place and top American at the 2007 California International Marathon in 2:19:35

Of course, we don’t immediately start doing 10 mile tempo runs the first weeks into a half marathon build up. Again, it takes between 3 to 4 weeks for your body to physiologically adapt to the stress you are placing on it. So, you have to start off slower and shorter runs first. For example, a 3 to 4 mile tempo run early on will test you both mentally and physically.

We only start extending the duration once the athlete has gotten into better overall shape. So, periodization and patience is critical if you want to master sub two hour half marathon pace. No, it won’t be an overnight success but it will come to fruition if you are committed. The fact that you have read this far already tells me that you are.

Speed Development

Our training plans and running courses definitely focus on speed development. The half marathon is a highly aerobic event. That being said, you still need to work on your leg speed to improve. More importantly, running at speeds that are much faster than sub two hour half marathon pace is essential.

So, I have my athletes doing a minimum of 1 vo2 max workout per week. Your vo2 max is your body’s maximum oxygen uptake. You are running at between 95 to 100 percent of your maximum heart rate at these efforts. The key physiological effect is to recruit more fast twitch muscle fibers. In addition, to get that sub 2 hour half marathon pace to feel more like marathon pace instead.

Running easy won’t teach you this. Yes, you will build endurance running easy but you won’t recruit fast twitch muscle fibers by running aerobically. Remember, the benefits of the hard work you are doing today will be seen several weeks from now.

Are you ready to take your running to the next level? Check out our Sub 2 Hour Half Marathon Domination course. Would you much prefer a training plan instead? No problem. We have those available as well as monthly coaching, if interested.

Closing Thoughts

I hope this post on how to sustain sub two hour half marathon pace has been helpful to you. Make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I create new content there each week to help runners such as yourself make that next big leap in their training. Again, I simply want you to start training smarter rather than just working harder.

Hard work is essential but smart preparation will dictate how successful you are going to be over 21.1 kilometers or 13.1 miles. You are more than welcome to visit our about page if you would like to know more about my background. It helps to know that your coach has been there and done that.

More importantly, that I didn’t just have a ton of talent and got instant results. I had to earn my stripes and learn from past mistakes. My goal here is to help runners to bypass some of the slip ups that I made earlier in my career and see you succeed.

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