Nathan Pennington Running in The Distance

What is a Good Half Marathon Time

Are you wondering what is a good half marathon? If so, welcome to rundreamachieve.com. I am glad you have made it here. The half marathon is a great event but it does take time and effort to prepare for sufficiently. Fitness cannot be rushed so you have to think long-term when it comes to racing over 13.1 miles or 21.1 kilometers. I have run 1:07:06 for this event and was also able to eventually run 2:19:35 for the marathon. So, I understand what it takes to run well over the long distances. My goal with this post is to share with you some strategies to help speed up your progress in the half marathon.

Half marathon training is generally aerobic. That being said, you do still need to focus on speed development as well. A big mistake runners make is running too many of their miles or kilometers far too slow. So, the objective here is to help you to use leverage instead. How many hard working people do you know who are broke? Have you ever known hard working athletes who still never seem to meet their time goals?

Well, it isn't that these individuals are lazy. Runners already know how to work hard. People, in general, know how to work hard for money too. Why are they broke? How is a high school drop out can make more in a month than a highly trained PhD or MD makes in a year? Someone is using leverage and someone is using the idea of working hard.

Leverage simply means doing more with less. So, it isn't about how many miles or kilometers per week that is going to guarantee you success in your half marathon training. It is the quality of the work output you are putting in that counts most. The goal here is to improve your body's lactate tolerance. It is a process that takes several months so fitness cannot be rushed. What is a good half marathon time for a beginner? I think anyone who runs under a 2 hour half marathon is getting close to the elite level. Of course, “elite” is going to have different meanings for different people.

There are runners who consider elite as sub 1 hour for men and sub 1:10 for women. There are very few athletes world-wide who can run this fast over the half marathon distance. The key focus you need to have is to work on your endurance, speed, strength and stamina.

Strength training is important as you want to have a strong core and body to maintain form while racing. I always recommend to first focus on building your aerobic base first. You should focus on running 3 weeks at easy, relaxed pace. The half marathon training plans I have here at rundreamachieve are 16 weeks in length. 4 months is sufficient time to prepare properly for your half marathon. Again, first lay your foundation mileage and then start working on your 16 week block of training.

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What is the Average Time to Run a Half?

The average time to run a half marathon for men is around 1:55:26. 2:11:57 is around the average half marathon time for women. Again, times are going to vary from athlete to athlete. What percentage of your weekly mileage are you training at or below your goal half marathon race pace? The best middle to long distance runners spend about 40 percent of their weekly volume training at these intensities. So, to get results in the half-marathon you have to think outside the box. What happens if 95 percent of your weekly mileage is spent running too slow?

Do you think you will have a great shot at maintain your goal race pace for the entire duration of your race? No. You will have not spent sufficient time training anaerobically at a sufficient amount of time. I am a big believer in doing faster, varied pace long runs and being very consistent about this.

Again, we have three choices in this life. We can be average, good or great. The people seeking the answer to what is a good half marathon time are seeking that because they are winners. These men and women are already motivated. In addition, they are seeking ways to hold goal race pace more efficiently. You do this by pre-planning correctly and paying attention to all the details that go into running fast over the half-marathon distance.

What Happens to Your Body After a Half Marathon?

There is much damage to your muscles following any workout and especially a race. A common mistake I see runners making is running too fast on their easy days. In addition, running too slow on their hard days. Your body is 2 to 3 times weaker after a hard workout or race. So, you have to pay attention to recovery and rest.

Remember, all of the benefits of your hard work are going to come from within the rest period. What do the best middle to long distance runners do? They focus on massage, ice baths and epsom salt baths after hard training and races.

Again, it isn't just the physical training you do that is going to help you run a fast half marathon time. It is also what you are doing the hours after the workout on the track or roads is complete. How well are you hydrating? Are you taking you sleep seriously? Are you staying up late, drinking sodas and eating candy? Again, if you are going to be lukewarm about your training you will yield lukewarm results. My objective here at rundreamachieve is to teach you what it takes to excel at your chosen distance.

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Is it Bad to Run a Half Marathon without Training?

It all depends on what your goals are. Remember, there is a massive difference between running a half marathon and racing one. Is your goal to start and finish a half marathon? If so, focusing on just consistent mileage is all you really need. Is it to run a specific time? Well, you need to start training in a strategic way. I am big believer in not running long, slow and easy every single weekend. So, your long runs need to be spent at a higher percentage of your maximum heart rate.

Of course, I am not saying run your long runs every weekend fast. You need to alternate 1, faster long run followed the following week with an easy, relaxed long run. Again, recovery is key. The reason for this is you want your body to adapt to the stress load you are placing on it.

I highly recommend subscribing to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I create new video content there each week to help runners such as yourself make that next big leap in their training and racing. So, yes, you can run a half marathon without training. That being said, don't expect super fast times. Again, your goal may not be to run a specific time and if that is the case, focus on consistent mileage. You can run a half marathon with as little as 4 weeks of training.

Why Am I So Hungry after Running a Half Marathon?

The body desperately needs calories and fuel following a 13.1 mile race. Remember, we burn between 100 to 120 calories per mile. So, you are burning around 1300+ calories during a half-marathon. A major mistake I see well-trained runners making is not ingesting enough fluid and calories during their races. Also, running much too aggressive in the early miles or kilometers of the race. Again, our focus is on can we do to ensure you are using leverage. Higher mileage is not always the answer to run a faster half marathon time.

What percentage of your weekly mileage are you training at or below your goal half marathon race pace? If the percentage is too low then you know what work needs to be done. There is a reason why the best middle to long distance runners make it look so easy. They spend about 40 percent of their weekly mileage running at speeds that are much faster than they plan to race at in their races.

Again, the goal is to get goal half marathon race pace to feel more like a tempo run.So, make sure post workouts and races that you are eating foods high in protein. In addition, eating pasta and salads are great post-workout meals that can help stock up glycogen you lost during the race.

How Many Miles a Week Should I Run for a Half Marathon?

Beginners should focus on running between 10 to 20 miles a week. You don't need to be running 7 days a week to prepare for a half marathon. Yes, regional to elite-level runners may train up to 7 days a week preparing for theirs. That being said, great results can be had for runners running 3 to 4 days a week. The faster you aim at running this distance the more that is going to be required out of you. I created a course for runners seeking to break the 2 hour half marathon called the Sub 2 Hour Half Marathon Domination course you may want to check out.

I also have created half marathon training plans for runners that are seeking to run much faster times than this. Are you someone who is seeking an online running coach? If so, definitely consider our private, running community. I have athletes from around the world who hire me as their performance coach. You can pay month to month, cancel at anytime and re-join also at anytime as needed.

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Closing Thoughts

So, what is a good half marathon? It depends on you. A good half marathon time may be 3 hours for someone just getting started and sub 1:10 for someone else. The key areas to focus on is faster, varied pace long runs. In addition, longer tempo runs ranging in distance from 5 to 10 miles (16 kilometers) in length. Also, start jogging on easy days. Your hard days will take everything out of you both mentally and physically. So, you need to always remember the physiological adaptations from your training come from within the rest period.

Your body is 2 to 3 times weaker immediately after your workouts. So, ensure that you are running slowly enough on those recover days to ensure you get a high return on your time investment. Pay attention to mental training as well. The vast majority of runners only pay attention to physical training.

So, spend 10 to 15 minutes daily rehearing mentally how you want to race. See that goal race time on the clock on your mind first. It has to happen there before it will ever become a reality. Please keep in touch with me. I am looking forward to working with you and hope the resources available here at rundreamachieve will help you in your quest of running a great half marathon.