5 Pro Tips To Run A Sub 2-Hour Half Marathon
Give it just a little bit of respect, but not too much!
To achieve a sub 2-hour marathon you need to run an average 9.09 min/miles over the entire half marathon distance for you to achieve your goal.
The problem that you may be experiencing is that you are probably starting your half marathon at a slow pace and then you try to speed up towards the end.
Pacing yourself is one of the key strategies. You must have confidence in your own stamina and go out at a good pace.
Aiming for 1:30 at 10 miles is a great target!
Try and aim for a time at the 10-mile mark.
If you can hit 10 miles in 1:30 then that is going to leave you with 30 minutes to run your last 5k, which you should be able to do.
Remember, that you will be tired at this point, but you should have something left in the tank at this point.
Some small pointers to help you:
- Never give up – It took one of my clients 5 attempts before he broke the 2-hour mark, and I know of many people that needed a lot more attempts.
- Make sure that you use the 9.09 min/mile as your pace guide to run throughout the entire half – marathon.
- If you try to run 11 min/miles at the start and then try to take it up to 7:30 min/miles you will just blow up.
- Do not get daunted by the prospect of running a sub 2-hour half marathon as you do not need to be a world class athlete to achieve this time. You just need to believe in your ability, your training and your will to succeed. If you put the effort in the time will come, even if you ran your first half marathon in 2:25!
Here are my top 5 tips for breaking sub 2-hour barrier.
1) Improve your running form
Everyone will agree that you need to learn how to swim, but the thought of learning to run seems bizarre to people.
I see many people running in parks with running forms that are so inefficient that it’s painful to watch.
As a running coach many people have come to me with different running forms over the year and just by improving their form, they have seen improvements in their time.
There was one lady who after six weeks of running coaching improved her half marathon time by 2 minutes, even though she only did half the training she did when she set her previous personal best.
Can you imagine the difference it would have made if she hadn’t got too busy with life and was able to do her pacing and endurance work?
2) Increase your running cadence to 180 steps/min
Cadence also falls under running technique and this one of the key things I coach my runners for improved running speed.
Running cadence is how many steps you take in one minute and once you improve your form it becomes a lot easier to turn your legs over quicker.
See the videos below for an example of how improving running form naturally improves cadence.
At first the tempo will seem too fast; you will find that you fatigue too quickly but the key thing is to keep going with it. Your body will need time to adapt!
My suggestion is to integrate it using interval training. For instance, you may do 1 minute at a cadence of 180 followed by 3 minutes of your normal cadence on your long run.
3) How to train your cadence?
First, do a check to see what your running cadence is. You can do this by running for seconds while counting how many times your left foot (or right) hits the ground,
Double the number you get and multiply by 6 to get your cadence.
Step 2 is to download a running cadence app like running cadence tracker for android or for apple you should be able to find an equivalent.
A running cadence app has a metronome built in to help you run to its beat. Hearing this running metronome will help you stay at a cadence of 180.
Try this and you will see the power in your stride increase and see your time come down.
4) Race pace practice
Mixing up your running speeds should be something that you should be doing all the time.
If you train your body to run at a slow pace for long distances, that is what you will become good at. You will struggle to do anything at speed.
At the same time, you should not run at your race pace of 9:09 min/mile all the time either, but you do have to do some race pace training.
Doing race pace runs of 9.09 min/mile will give you the confidence to know that you can sustain this pace on race day.
One way to integrate this speed into your training is to do 1-3 miles in the middle of your long weekend run at race pace.
As you get closer to your race day you may decide to do a 10 or 11 mile run with 4-6 miles being at your race pace.
It will all depend on how your training is going, the training plan you have and how you feel.
5) Longer runs
This strategy may not work for everyone. However, if you have been running for a few years and haven’t picked up many injuries it could be a very powerful strategy.
You could try doing long slow runs at an easy pace for 13-16 miles. It will improve your confidence in your ability to cover the distance and can help you understand pacing.
This is similar to people who run a marathon and then go back down to a half marathon.