I want to see more runners run a half marathon in under 2 hours. This was one of my main reasons for writing the Sub 2 Hour Half Marathon Manifesto.
A common problem far too many runners are dealing with is not being able to sustain pace for the entire duration of their races. I have had to suffer the same fate in many of the half marathon and marathon races I have attempted in my 21-year career.
To run a half marathon in under 2 hours means you have to practice running longer at the pace you want to hold in the race.
A half marathon in under 2 hours equates to running 13.1 miles at or below 9.09 per mile pace without slowing down, without breaks.
If you have ever done a great build up only to get to the race and miss your goal than you know the feeling that training at the improper intensities can bring.
You can have all the initiative and drive in the world but if you are not training at the proper pace and for longer durations at that pace you won’t get the job done.
I have always believed that long slow distance running produces long, slow runners – Sebastion Coe, Olympic Gold Medalist, 800m/1500m
Here Are Some Ways You Can Learn To Run A Half Marathon In Under 2 Hours
- Increase the duration of your long runs
Practicing the pace at which you do your long runs is important to but if you cannot do an easy 13 mile long run how will trying to race the distance at 9.09 pace feel?
You have to learn to run farther then the distance you are planning to race in order to build up the additional stamina and endurance you will need on the morning of the race.
Learn you extend your long runs out farther and you will be so much stronger and more prepared to handle running 13.1 miles.
2. Increase the pace of your long runs
This is an area of training not enough runners are paying attention to. They can get out the door and do a 20-mile run but the pace they are running isn’t going to help them when it comes to racing 13.1 miles.
I don’t say that to be harsh. I say it because it is the truth and because I want more runners to reach their potential. You simply will not get there by doing 20 mile runs at 11 minute mile pace.
What would you rather do.
10 miles at 9.09 per mile pace or 20 miles at 11 minute mile pace?
Which of these two workouts do you think is going to better prepare you to run a half marathon in under 2 hours?
If you said the first workout, you are right.
I really want you to understand this. Fast running is not just for elite athletes. If you have dreamed of breaking 2 hours for the half marathon distance but have come up short.
I spent 5 years doing long runs at 7.00 mile pace but wanted to run a marathon in under 2 hours and 22 minutes. An average of 5.25 per mile for 26.2 consecutive miles.
What do you think was the result of my efforts?
Failure and that failure is what propelled me forward and taught me what I needed to do in order to break that time. I finally did that and broke 2 hours and 20 minutes in the process because I left long slow runs behind me and changed up the way I trained.
The same benefits can happen for you. It is just a matter of you changing up the way you conduct your training. Longer, faster runs closer to your goal pace.
3. Repeat Runs At 10 Seconds Faster Than Race Pace
A great tool you can use to offset having to do 20 mile long runs at race pace is to break your workouts into smaller segments.
What do I mean?
Let’s say it is Monday. You want to do a harder workout. A great workout to get you prepared to run a half marathon in under 2 hours is as follows:
1 mile warm-up
3×3 miles at 9.00 mile pace with a 1 mile jog recovery between sets
1 mile cool-down
The purpose of this workout is to train at speed exceeding race pace. Remember, it isn’t just about training at goal race pace but running at speed exceeding race pace.
The reason for this is because you teach the body to rely more on fat burning relative to speed you want to race at. In addition, you are teaching the body to burn less carbohydrate and use fat as your mail race fuel.
What happens when athletes training to break a sub 2 hour half marathon train too slowly?
They slow down, yes, but why?
They run out of sugar. The faster we run the more carbohydrates we burn. Running easy does not teach the body to use fat to race. Notice the bold words.
We burn fat when we run slow. This is fact but training your body by running slowly does not train the energy systems you need to train in order to run fast.
You want to conserve carbohydrates and burn while you race.
The longer you can hold off burning carbohydrates and use fat as your main fuel source the faster you are going to be able to run because your muscles will have the adequate sugar stores they need to continue to function at full capacity.
4. Focus On Recovery
One of the biggest mistakes runners can make is having the drive to train hard but not know when to slow down. You don’t get the benefit of doing long runs hard or doing repeat miles on the track.
The benefit comes in the rest, after the hard session is over with.
The best runners in the world understand this.
I have trained with some of the best Kenyan runners in the world who train so unbelievably hard on their hard days it is hard to describe in a post here on rundreamachieve.com.
I wouldn’t wish some of the pain I have had to endure training with them on my worst enemy (I have none, of course).
That being said, their easy days are about as easy as easy can possibly be.
The majority of American runners I have trained with who are of similar ability continue to want to pay attention to pace even on easy days.
The Kenyans just jog and they don’t pay attention to miles but minutes.
If you ask a Kenyan how far they are running today, you will mostly get an answer such as ’50 minutes’.
Time, not mileage is their focus.
They may do 50 minutes of hard running in the morning followed by 50 minutes of easy running in the evening.
They take their recovery very seriously and they, like me, will tell you this.
In order to run a half marathon in under 2 hours, recovery must be just as important, must be just as much of a focus as your hard training.
If this post has helped you in anyway please leave a comment and tell me what you think.
If you are seeking to break the sub 2 hour half marathon I highly encourage you to consider the sub 2 hour half marathon manifesto.