Trying to Run Half Marathon in Under 1.30

by Eliot

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.

trying to run half marathon under 90 minutes
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.

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. What is needed 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 every beginning runner finds 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. So, a sub-90 minute half marathon is within your abilities..

What is Needed for a Sub-90 Half Marathon?

trying to run half marathon under 90 minutes
As I alluded to 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.

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.

Secondly, I would recommend some variety in your training. Most of your running should be easy/long runs, but in addition to that I'd advise some tempo runs.

When you are a bit further advanced you could also do speed workouts like interval running, but at this stage you'd get most benefit out of easy/long runs and tempo runs.

When increasing mileage, make sure you do it the right way. Check out my increasing mileage safely page for more information.

So, 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 reach down the line. Keep on training consistently, enjoy the process and I am sure that you will improve your half marathon massively over the next two years.

Hope this helps.
Best of luck in your upcoming half marathon!
Kind regards,

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