Trying to Run Half Marathon in Under 1.30

by Eliot

trying to run half marathon under 90 minutes

Hi, I am 18 year old and I've entered for my local half marathon, which is in 2 months. My goal is to bring my race time to below 1 hour 30 mins.

At the moment, I have been training about 5 days a week, my average running length being around 3-4 miles, with 6-8 mile distances now and then.

I can do 2 miles in 12 minutes, 3.1 miles in 21 minutes and 6 miles in 43 minutes.

I feel that I should be able to run much faster than these times, as I also spend a lot of time cycling and doing other sports.

Any advice you can give would be great, thanks.

Answer by Dominique:
Hi there,
Thanks for your question about your local half marathon.

It's great to hear you have got a solid running routine and running five days a week. However, I think your half marathon goal of 1.30 is beyond reach at this point in time.

In two months time you can make some improvement, but not the type of improvement you need.

I don't mean to discourage you straight off the bat. It does not mean you cannot get your half marathon time to below 90 minutes. You will just need more time.

So, let's go through the following:

1. What half marathon time would you be able to get right now?
2. First priority for a sub-90 half marathon
3. Second priority for a sub-90 half marathon

What Half Marathon Time Would You Be Able to Get Right Now?

trying to run half marathon under 90 minutes
You should plug in your results in the Race Conversion Calculator.

Based on your 2 mile time, your predicted time is 1 hr 27 min. Based on your 3.1 mile race time, your predicted half marathon time is 1 hr 36 minutes. And based on your 6 mile time your predicted half marathon is 1 hr 38 minutes.

See, what's happening? The longer your "predictor race", the slower your predicted time.

This is a classic situation that almost all developing runners find themselves in. The reason? Your running base is not developed well enough yet.

On a positive note, your 2 mile time suggests a half marathon time faster than 1 hr 30 minutes. Even though it is a short predictor race, you do have the innate speed to be able to get a sub-90 half.

First Priority for a Sub-90 Half Marathon

trying to run half marathon under 90 minutes
As I said before, your running base is not well developed yet. In order to "fix" that, you need a lot more long distance runs under your belt.

With a long run of "only", with respect, 6-8 miles, I bet that if you were to run the half marathon today, you would not get to that predicted time of 1:38. You'd be closer to 1:45.

In order to race a half marathon, not "just run" it, your long runs need to be longer and at least some of your short runs should be longer as well, i.e. think 13-15 mile long runs and regular 6-8 mile short runs.

This will really improve your endurance. Which is necessary to keep on running fast for a very long time. When increasing mileage, make sure you do it the right way. Check out my increasing mileage safely page for more information.

Second Priority for a Sub-90 Half Marathon

trying to run half marathon under 90 minutes
Secondly, I would recommend some variety in your training. It may already be there. So, maybe this advice is redundant. But to be complete.... Most of your running should be easy / long runs, but in addition to that I'd advise some tempo runs. Check out the link to see why this is important and also to get ideas for workouts.

When you are a bit further advanced you could also do speed workouts like interval running. For variety and speed development intervals are really good to do. Depending on where you are at with your training, I'd say you'd benefit most out of easy/long runs and tempo runs.

Lastly, closer to race day, some goal pace work is very useful. This will help get you used to what race pace feels like. By the time race day comes along, you want half marathon pace to feel very natural.

So, I am sorry to disappoint you, in the short term I think that 90 minutes is not yet achievable. But based on that 2 mile time it looks like it is within your abilities down the line. Enjoy that half marathon in two months time. It will give you a starting point.

Then keep on training consistently, enjoy the process and I am sure that you will improve your half marathon massively over the next few years.

Hope this helps.
Best of luck in the upcoming half marathon and in your quest for sub-90!
Kind regards,

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