Break 2:00 HalfMarathon Plan

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Break 2:00 half marathon plan

There are many break 2:00 halfmarathon training plan schedules online today.

Success in distance running doesn’t come from simply running lots of mileage.

I learned the hard way back in 2009 when I was trying to break the 2:19:00 marathon barrier.

More doesn’t mean better

My mileage rose as high as 140 miles a week yet I was not getting results.

There is a point where you learn that it isn’t about mileage but the intensity and duration of the mileage that is important.

Equally important is the recovery you allow yourself after training at a specific pace, in this case, 9.09 per mile pace.

Here is a lesson to anyone seeking to break the sub 2 hour half marathon.

If you look at the great runners of the past, Emil Zatopek, Sebastion Coe, Steve Prefontaine, among others.

They all had a common trait.

Why run slow?

They were not interested in running slow.

Emil Zatopek put it this way,

Why should I practice running slow? I already know how to run slow. I want to learn to run fast.

What he did at the 1952 Helsinki Games has not been matched since.

He won the 5000m, 10,000m and the marathon finishing with a time of 2.23.03.

It was his first marathon and he nearly broke the 2:23:00 barrier after two exhausting races beforehand.

His military superiors challenged him in saying that he had world records in the 10,000m, 15,000m, 20,000m and 30,000m runs but no gold in the 5000m.

The world record in his day was 13:58 by Gunter Hagg of Sweden.

Do you think he was running easy mileage to accomplish these feats?

Absolutely not.

Slow running still important

Of course, there were days he had to run slower to recover but his attention and focus was meeting a specific goal and in this case breaking a 2 hour half marathon is exactly that.

What is the difference between us and him?

How many more luxuries do we have in our lives compared to what he may have had back in the 40’s and 50’s.


Heart rate monitors, sports drinks and Alter G Treadmills were not present in his life.

A break 2:00 halfmarathon plan must comprise of running at speeds that are going to lead you to maintaining 9.09 per mile pace without having to slow down.

There are multiple ways to run a half marathon under 2 hours.

It took a lot of tough love from world-class athletes I trained with in college to having a Boston Marathon champion as my coach to get me to realize the importance of pace over distance.

It is the amount of time spent at paces at or below your goal race pace that is going to get you closer to your goal, not merely the amount of distance run at slower paces.

Factor in pace

You can go out and do a 24 mile run at 10:30 mile pace but how is this preparing the athlete to maintain a pace nearly a minute and half per mile faster for 13 miles?

The greatest runners and coaches’ all practice the same or relatively close training philosophy.

In order to run a specific time at a specific pace, specific training is needed and vital to the athletes success.

A break 2:00 halfmarathon plan can’t just be a cookie-cutter plan without humor, breakthrough data from athletes that have done what you want to do or an explanation of what the workouts are designed to do.

I wrote the sub 2 hour half marathon manifesto as means to break up the monotony of the usual break 2:00 halfmarathon plan.

Focus on a great plan

Athletes need more than just a hand me down training plan.

If you are anything like me, I willingly pay for knowledge, especially if it is out of the norm.

Life experience from runners who are far better than I is essential for me to not only be a better athlete but a better coach and mentor to those who are seeking to meet their fitness goals.

Athletes who have running under 2 hours for the half marathon as their goal, are not spending sufficent enough time at goal race pace.

It isn’t a lack of talent, focus or drive.

Runners clearly have that, even total beginners have this trait.

Train your mind

What needs to be changed is the training mindset.

I have always believed that long slow distance produces long slow runners – Sebastion Coe, former world record holder at 800m (1.41.73) and 3:47 miler.

Athletes seeking to break the 2 hour half marathon must minimize slowing down and maintain 9.09 per mile pace.

How does one break the 2 hour half marathon barrier?

Focus on pace

I have been self-coached since January of 2011.

If you are new to rundreamachieve I encourage you to read my story.

I mainly follow the training philosophy of elite Italian coach, Renato Canova, who is the coach of multiple world record holders in the distance running events.

His philosophy revolves around race pace training.

Canova, speaking on the importance of specific training, was quoted as saying,

Because the Specific Training has a cost, if we do more specific training, we spend more energy.

Breaking the 2 hour half marathon barrier is more than just running faster in training too.

There cannot be one aspect (hard efforts) of training without equal focus on the opposite side of the training spectrum (recovery).

The problem runners seeking to run under 2 hours for the half marathon are having is stamina, not lack of work ethic or lack of ability.

We all have the potential for greatness and I truly believe that.

We grow great by dreams. All individuals are dreamers. They see things in the soft haze of a spring day or in the red fire of a long winters’s evening. Some of us let these great dreams die, but others nourish and protect them; nurse them through bad days till they bring them to the sunshine and light which comes always to those who sincerley hope that their dreams will come true – President Woodrow Wilson

Sometimes you have to border on the side of being obsessed with a subject matter in order to find out the hidden secrets that you missed nearly your entire life.

 It took me 15 years to realize that the major reason for me feeling so fatigued and not reaching my potential in this sport was being anemic.

Anemia is when your body runs dangerously low on iron.

Your body doesn’t produce iron.

You must get it in your diet or by taking supplements.

I have written extensively on this subject and encourage you to read Runners Diet – Success is More Than Just The Workout.

15 years of running.

I thought I learned all there was to know about training and exercise physiology.

I was coached by the 2012 Olympic men’s and women’s distance coach as a collegiate athlete and even he never mentioned to me that I might want to get a blood test done to see if I was running low on a mineral or vitamin.

Persist through setbacks

The reason I am telling you all of this is because sometimes you do everything right.

You run the proper amount of mileage, train at the correct intensity, get plenty of sleep but miss one small detail, which should be able to be clearly seen.

Sometimes it is right in front of our face but we get too distracted.

You have to stay committed to excellence, always be thinking of your goals and maintain your motivation.

Joe or Jane down the street ran this or that time.

What do I need to do in order to do the same?

Forget what they are doing and focus on yourself for one.

Two, practice the pace you wish to race at.

Last, but certainly not least, let go of what is out of your control.

If you had a painfully slow half marathon performance in your past, that is no excuse to give up on your goal of running your next half marathon under 2 hours.

Be patient.

You can’t jump into 10 mile tempo runs at 9.09 per mile pace the first couple weeks into a sub 2 hour half marathon plan.

I wouldn’t even attempt that.

The thought of trying to hold my goal marathon pace (5.09 per mile) for 10 miles, makes me quiver even as I write this.


I know I am not ready yet to maintain that pace, yet.

This is where patience plays its vital part.’

You have to keep the journey in mind.

It isn’t about the event, it is the process you need to undertake in order to get to that golden moment when you, without a shadow of a doubt, know you can maintain that 9.09 per mile pace.

The body will adapt to the stress you place on it.

Run faster longer

The idea is extending the amount of time you spend at your Lactact Threshold.

This is the point where your body begins to build lactic acid within the working muscles.

The athlete who hasn’t trained at faster than his or her lactic threshold is not going to outrun the one who has, it is as simple as that.

It isn’t the lactic acid that slows you down but the hydrogen ion within lactic acid that causes us the inability to maintain pace.

It is when there is too large of an accumulation of lactate to the point where the body isn’t able to covert it back to energy that our pace falls off.

You are in control

Always remember, you are in control of the training you do.

It all comes down to the plan you set up for yourself.

It has to be one that consists of runs faster than 9.09 per mile pace.

It may be a fartlek workout running 15 repetitions of 1 minute hard at 8.15 pace followed by 1 minute easy at 9.45 pace or a longer tempo effort.

The point is learning to get out of your comfort zone.

It will never prepare you to handle the rigors of sub 2 hour half marathon effort.

Faster runs extending in duration, over time, will prepare you to dominate the barrier.

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