Sub 2hr half marathon
If you have dreams and goals of breaking the sub 2hr half marathon I want you to pay close attention this article.
There are runners around the world who are missing this time goal simply because they are not spending adequate time at 9.09 per mile pace.
It isn't that you weren't born with the talent to break this barrier.
You have the potential
You were born with commitment.
I am a firm believer that talent that doesn't work will usually get it's rear end handed to it by the committed athlete who does.
Talented athletes have to watch out because a committed athlete is hungry.
They are seeking ways every minute of every day to better themselves.
They can't rely simply on talent.
They know they have to work harder then the talented athlete just to measure up.
The Status Quo
We have all around us people telling us that we are too fat, not good enough, too slow and lack talent.
Time spent listening to it will take weeks, if not years, off your life.
A sub 2hr half marathon can be broken by changing your mindset and the duration you spend at 9.09 per mile or faster pace.
The status quo leads you into believing your time has past, you are too old, don't have what it takes.
The status quo is not your friend nor is the comfort zone.
If you truly want to break the sub 2hr half marathon or achieve any time goal you had better expect to get out of the comfort zone.
It isn't easy to go after hard goals.
You have to love what you do because any rational person would give up if they don't – Steve Jobs
Easier Said Than Done
Tough goals demand athletes who are tough mentally and physically.
I admire and respect tough love and constructive criticism, always have.
A sub 2hr half marathon will demand a lot out of you.
It is one thing to go out and hold 9.09 mile pace for 5K, go try doing that for 13.1 miles and you will be in for a rude awakening if you have not done your homework.
There is a difference between talking about breaking the 2 hour half marathon barrier and actually doing it.
It takes massive action on the part of the athlete and enough time spent preparing at or below 9.09 pace.
The biggest hurdle many runners face when trying to maintain pace is slowing down, knowing when to taper and hydration.
The truth is if you are doing considerable mileage slower than sub 2hr half marathon pace it will be very difficult to sustain race pace.
The majority of runners seeking to break this barrier certainly have the commitment to make the goal a reality.
The problem lies that any one of these three problem areas could be at fault.
What I don't like is reading or hearing from runners who are depressed or seem to think their best days are behind them when nothing could be farther from the truth.
Longer duration at goal pace
The half marathon is a long race. The marathon is even more complicated.
If you are doing short tempo runs at 9.30 mile pace it still isn't stressing the body sufficiently.
A 4 mile run at 9.30 pace is not going to prepare you to race 13.1 miles at 9.09 or better pace.
What do you think is more beneficial for an athlete wanting to hold 13.1 miles at 9.09 per mile?
A 20 mile long run done at 10.30 mile pace or a 12 mile section of that 20-miler at or near 9.09 pace?
The latter is the correct answer.
The longer you spend at, near or below sub 2hr half marathon pace, the better quipped you are going to be in your next half marathon race, period.
Faster running better results
If you are not disciplined enough to slow down after hard track, road or hill workouts then don't expect to get the most out of your fast efforts.
You can't produce fast results unless you put equal emphasis on recovery days.
I have went out and done 6x1mile on the track at 6400ft elevation hitting each repetition at 4.42-44 before.
Want to know my pace the following day?
9.00 mile pace.
I could care less how slow I am going on a recovery day.
The majority of the time I will not even wear my watch on recovery days.
I know my route but pace is irrelevant on recovery days.
Easy recovery days are meant to be exactly that, easy.
I will not run with a group after a hard track workout either.
You are too susceptible to going faster then you should.
Run faster then sub 2hr half marathon pace
It isn't just extending the time you spend at goal sub 2hr half marathon pace, but also learning to deal with the fatigue of running faster than 9.09 per mile pace.
I'll give you an example.
I am currently preparing for the 2013 Chicago Marathon.
My goal is to run 2.15.00 or 5.09 per mile for the 26.2 mile distance.
This is going to take an enormous amount of energy on part to accomplish.
I know that running at 5.09 pace for 10 miles isn't enough.
I will aim to do 8 to 10, 1-mile repeats on the track at 4.30-40 per rep
In addition, I will have to teach myself to run longer run segments at paces far exceeding 5.09 per mile pace to make it a reality.
Examples of this may be doing workouts such as 5x3miles (a total of 15 miles) on the road at 4.50 pace or 6x2miles (a total of 12 miles) at 4.55-5.00 mile pace.
Vary the speeds you run
Spend some time running various sets at paces that exceed 9.09 per mile pace
This could be 5×2 miles at 8.30 pace or 2×4 miles at 8.45 pace
Keep in mind recovery is vital.
These workouts take a great deal of energy to accomplish.
Specific goals like running a sub 2hr half marathon entails specific training that is 100% painful and challenging.
Faster training more automatic
Your body will adapt to the stress you place on it.
It will fight you early on when it is not accustomed to what you are putting it through.
I guarantee if you are persistent the paces that you previously could not hold will become more controlled and easier to handle.
I believe in a 10-day taper and I talk about this in the sub 2 hour half marathon manifesto but often times runners feel sluggish if they start dropping their work load 3 weeks out.
Running is an individual sport.
What works for me may not work for you and vice versa, but a perfectly timed taper can create a major breakthrough in your running.
I did a 10-day taper prior to the 2007 California International Marathon.
I went to the race a 2.40.02 marathoner.
I left with a 2.19.35 best.
Three weeks may be best for you but if you have never tried holding off your taper until 10 days out, perhaps this is exactly what needs to be done for you to cut those last few minutes off and achieve that sub 2hr half marathon time.
Expect to be challenged
You have to be tenacious in training and in mindset.
You can give in just because you feel off today.
Recover and do the workout again a few days later.
You have to consistently work and stay focused.
A sub 2hr half marathon is a very respectable time.
An individual who is able to maintain 9.09 per mile pace, without slowing, for 13.1 miles is in outstanding shape.
Don't let me being a 2.19 marathoner fool you.
I have dealt with the ups and downs of training just like you.
I know what a DNF feels like and having people around me who didn't believe in my capability.
A big reason I created this website is to see more runners like you achieve their goals.
I hope you will take the advice in this post and go after that sub 2hr half marathon time.
Don't be intimidated
All it is going to take is a higher emphasis on training longer at goal pace and having the know how to slow down on recovery days.
Far too many runners are missing the second part of that statement.
They can master the pace in training but don't have the patience to slow up when they should.
You wan't to get the most return from your training and the only way to do that is ensuring you put emphasis on your easy days.
A great workout means nothing if you aren't recovered.
I felt so good in training. Why did my race go so poor?
Well a lot of factors could go into poor race results but often times it is we push too hard, for too long and not enough focus has been payed to recovery.
Recovery could be eating properly, getting a massage, sleeping more and running relaxed on recovery days.
A lof of things go into mastering the sub 2hr half marathon.
Are you up for the task?