14 Top Tips to Running a Sub 2 Hour Half Marathon

Running a sub-2-hour race time or fewer than two hours for a half marathon is something that a lot of people, both males and females, desire to achieve. Most middle-of-the-pack runners will be able to achieve this objective without too much difficulty. However – that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

What is the sub 2-hour half marathon pace?

You have to complete a half marathon in under 2 hours, which means your pace must be quicker than 9 minutes and 9 seconds per mile. This pace of approximately 9 minutes and 9 seconds for each mile will enable you to complete the race in less than two hours.

To achieve success in the race, most people run a race to finish in under two hours of practice running at a rate that is a few seconds faster per mile than the target time. When you are formulating a plan, it is essential to stay consistent, but it is also necessary to provide for water breaks, uphill sections, possible delays because of clogged routes, and things that you didn’t expect to happen.

Is 2 hours a good half-marathon time?

The typical time it takes most people to complete a half marathon is two hours and 10 minutes, which means any runner who finishes in under 2 hours is doing better than usual. The mean completion time for a marathon by men is 1 hour 59 minutes, and by women, it is 2 hours 14 minutes.

It is essential to be aware that when looking at the statistics, they include everybody who participated including elite and professional runners, causing the average completion rate to be much lower.

Most recreational runners would regard a half marathon time of under two hours as an accomplished feat. Running a half marathon in two hours or less signifies that you’re able to keep up a steady speed across a considerable distance – 13.1 miles. To just about every non-runner, this sounds impossible.

How to Train for a Sub Two-Hour Half Marathon

The same principles behind training for any half marathon are applicable when training for a race over 13.1 miles in less than two hours, with the only difference being that focused tempos need to be applied to your speed exercises and micro sessions.

Generally, the same amount of miles can be accomplished through any training plan for a half marathon distance. Nonetheless, intervals, fast-paced runs and miles at running race speed will be deliberately detailed and concentrated. Things to pay special attention to during sub 2-hour half marathon training that is different from other training plans.

Race pace miles

Include race pace miles during your weekly long runs. Start with a single mile at the speed you would run a race when you’re doing a long run, and increase to 6 miles at a race pace as your long run reaches 12 to 14 miles. This race should be completed at a speed of 9:09 minutes per mile.

Interval paces

Do a set of fast-paced exercises every week encompassing multiple types of intervals. 400m sprints should be conducted at a rate of approximately 8 minutes per mile, while 800m sprints should be performed in about 8 minutes and 20 seconds for every mile.

Tempo run pace

Switch between steady-pace runs and speedy runs every week. During a tempo run, you will strive to maintain a speed slightly faster than your typical rate of movement during a race. These runs should have a shorter time frame, and the number of miles should be increased as the training progresses. Strive to maintain an average running speed of approximately 8:30 to 9:00 minutes per mile.

Recovery runs

Recovery and easy runs should be done at a much more relaxed speed than the speed required for a competitive race. Many distance runners fail to realize how slow their runs should be and run them at a faster speed. This results in their bodies not having the time to properly heal. Try to maintain a speed of 10 minutes and 30 seconds to 11 minutes and 15 seconds per mile.


About two weeks before the race, start decreasing the amount of running you do. Maintain the same intensity and pacing for your workouts, but make them shorter. Your last training session should not exceed half of your typical running distance.

14 Tips for Running a Sub 2-Hour Half Marathon

No matter how far away from a two-hour half marathon your personal record (PR) is – whether it is a mere few seconds or a few years of training – it may still be achievable with the proper consistency and strategy.

A few tactics to assist you in achieving your ambition of running a sub-2-hour time. Applying these strategies to your workouts and staying consistent will assist you in achieving your best results and establishing new records.

1. Have a solid mileage base when you begin training.

Before beginning to train for your half marathon ambition, it is essential to recall that establishing a consistent running distance is central to achieving your desired results.

It is advised that you start out running roughly 20 miles in a week before commencing preparation for a half marathon. Have a little higher base than that? Even better. Here’s why:

The best outcome would be if you can reach a total of 35 miles each week or even more to make it to the two-hour mark in a half marathon. Having a good foundation beforehand makes it possible to slowly increase your running distance over time without the fear of hurting yourself or feeling exhausted.

2. Practice running race pace.

Make sure to incorporate some running at your race pace into your schedule at least once a week, it could be part of a long run or part of an easy run during the week. Begin by jogging 1 mile at 9 minutes and nine seconds per mile, then gradually increase the distance and speed to eventually run 6 miles at your fastest pace.

3. Incorporate faster intervals.

Race speed miles are significant, however, intervals and quickness exercises are just as essential in preparation. Incorporate 400 and 800-meter bursts of speed into your weekly workout plan, striving to maintain an 8:00 min/mile pace for 400 metres and an 8:20 min/mile pace for your 800-metre repeats.

4. Try some hill runs.

It has been proposed that performing hill workouts is essentially a form of speed training in disguise, which several runners strongly believe to be true. No matter what you think, it is beneficial to incorporate some form of hill running in your workouts. Go to a nearby hill regularly, at least twice a month, and make it a habit to run sprints up and down the hill. The incline of the hill will aid in building up the glute muscles and other muscles that can boost your running power.

5. Focus on quality over quantity.

When aiming to reach a certain aim (e.g. a half marathon time of under two hours), it is crucial to focus on the quality rather than the number of miles run. It can be appealing to go the extra mile to become as physically fit as possible, however, this could open the door to the possibility of suffering an injury and put you in danger of overtraining, thereby hindering your progress.

Ensure that each jog you take has a particular aim. Unnecessary mileage can quickly increase and accumulate, causing exhaustion and reducing your capabilities during important workouts and long runs.

6. Recover well.

Giving attention to proper recovery is essential when working on attaining a half-marathon time of under two hours. No matter how distant or how close the objective is, your body is getting ready to do something different. Be sure to make time in your routine to incorporate activities like stretching, foam rolling, yoga, cold water baths, and other means of rehabilitation. And most importantly – don’t skip your rest days.

7. Evaluate your running form.

Lots of novice runners suppose that form while running will automatically develop with practice; admittedly, developing a correct running form is usually a skill that is learned. The incorrect running technique can not only hamper your speed but also raise the possibility of harm and increase drag.

Attempt to reach a step rate of 180 beats per minute, having a mid-length step with a slight inclination forward and landing on the middle of your foot.

8. Prioritize long runs.

When it comes to preparing for long-distance races, such as a half marathon or marathon, completing long runs is critical. Becoming even more crucial when attempting to complete a certain objective, such as finishing a half marathon in under two hours, are the importance of having a structured plan.

If nothing else works, it is essential to give priority to extended runs. Gradually increase the length of your runs, incorporate running at your racing speed regularly, and use this opportunity to practice your fueling, mental and competition day tactics.

9. Develop a mental strategy.

Finishing a race of 13.1 miles within the two-hour mark is definitely a test of endurance and strength, but equally, it is a test of one’s psychological capability. At some stage during the route, your strength and determination will likely become exhausted. As you get closer to the “wall”, you will want to use mental tactics to keep your body in motion. Consider saying a solemn expression, utilizing idealistic self-expression, or recollecting why you are doing something.

10. Create a pacing plan.

To have a half marathon totalling under two hours requires a pace of no slower than 9:09 min/mile — no exceptions. It is improbable that you will finish each mile on the course exactly at 9:09 o’clock.

Attempt to run faster than 9 minutes and 9 seconds each mile, even up to 10 – 20 seconds quicker per mile. Targeting to go a bit faster than the designated speed will give you some leeway just in case your shoe unties, there’s gridlock at the beginning of the track, you pause for water, or something else unforeseen happens.

11. Anticipate the unexpected.

Going for a jog in an unfamiliar place among many people is likely to present unforeseen difficulties. It is unrealistic to foresee every outcome, therefore to be organized, it is necessary to make arrangements for unanticipated circumstances. Be prepared for any unforeseen issues that may arise on race day, and make sure you have the plan to tackle them. Be prepared for a bathroom break in case of an emergency, anticipate that the beginning could be delayed, and factor in a few stops to get water.

12. Fully commit to your training.

Make sure that when you begin training, you can fully commit to your training and your goal. Make sure you’ll have the time and energy to run in your daily schedule.

For busy adults already juggling jobs, family, and social lives, adding an intense half-marathon training cycle into the mix is a lot. You need to be able to complete your runs as prescribed in your training plan as much as possible. Of course, things will come up during the training cycle that causes you to miss a run here or there, but aim to complete about 90-95% of your training as intended.

It may feel like you don’t have time to properly train for a half marathon, but as with any goal, it’s often more a matter of making it a priority. If the 2-hour time goal matters to you, think about how you can commit to making it work.

13. Prevent injury by getting enough sleep, strength training, and cross-training.

When you’re engaging in a period of preparation for a competition in which you are looking to better your personal record, the additional pursuits you undertake to supplement your running are vital to sustaining physical well-being in your training cycle. You must remain vigilant in ensuring you get enough rest, incorporate resistance exercise into your routine, and partake in a variety of physical activities.

Failing to do extra training can lead to an increased risk of injuries, which could prevent you from competing in the event for which you have done a lot of preparation. Taking a chance by not including supplemental exercises while you are in the midst of your fitness regime is extremely risky.

Here are some reasons why you should keep up with supplemental training while preparing for your half marathon:

  • Sleep and Rest/Recovery: Quality sleep is crucial because that is the time when our bodies recover and repair themselves. During a training cycle, runners need at least 7-9 hours of sleep a night to properly recover from the impacts of training. On a related note, take your planned rest days and cutback weeks seriously as well. Your training plan includes them for a reason – your body actually adapts and grows stronger when you rest.
  • Strength Training: You need to strength train, usually only two or three times a week, throughout your training cycle and beyond. Strength training in your lower half helps you to have more force and power, which translates to increased running speed on race day. Upper body strength training helps with your form and posture. And overall, strength training helps correct imbalances in your muscle strength or mobility that can lead to overuse injuries. 
  • Cross Training: Cross training is a way for runners to add variety to the body’s movements. With cross-training, you’re using your body and muscles in different ways and continuing to build your aerobic endurance, which will help you become a better runner. (It’s best to stay in the aerobic heart rate zone when completing cross-training exercises.)

14. Have a hydration and fueling half marathon plan.

To achieve a half marathon time of 2 hours or less, you need to make sure to drink and eat throughout the race. You will have to hone your technique and timing while running your long-distance practice runs. If you don’t take the time to properly nourish and hydrate your body, it is unlikely you will reach your objective.

Competitors in a half marathon who take longer than 80 minutes to complete the course should consume between 30 and 90 grams of carbs per hour.

You should intake around 4 ounces of fluids every 15 minutes while running, depending on your current level of hydration and the temperature of the race course.



Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button