The big half: what’s a good half marathon time?
Just signed up for a half marathon? You’ve navigated your way here, so chances are you’re at least thinking about it.
Maybe you’re on the hunt for some stats before committing 100%? Though we’d argue a ‘good’ marathon time is different for everyone, getting your head around average pacing and overall times can be useful when setting goals and figuring out your training plan.
So, let’s start with the basics…how far is a half marathon?
A half marathon is 13.1 miles, that’s roughly 21km. Your time will depend on a number of variants, including your age, fitness level, and chosen route.
How long does it take to train for a half marathon?
Most half marathon training plans span 10-12 weeks, though it is possible to condense these down to 8 weeks if you find yourself a little short on time.
What is the average half marathon time in the UK?
In the UK, the average half marathon time is 2:02:43. Now if you’re a total beginner, this probably seems ambitious…
So, what is a good time for your first half marathon?
For first-timers, getting over the finish line anywhere between 2:20:00 and 3:00:00 is a great goal to aim for and with 10-12 weeks of training, it’s totally achievable.
What is a good time for intermediate half marathon runners?
For intermediate runners (i.e. regular runners! This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve completed a half marathon before) sub 2 hours is a popular goal.
What is a good time for elite half marathon runners?
When it comes to elite goals, times vary between male and female times. For men, elite times generally fall between 1:10:00 and 1:30:00. For women, they sit somewhere between 1:20:00 and 1:40:00.
What is the half marathon world record for men?
The fastest-ever half marathon time was recorded in November 2021 at the Lisbon Half Marathon. Ugandan athlete Jacob Kiplimo set the new world record when he crossed the finish line at 57:31. Yikes!
What is the half marathon world record for women?
The women’s world record is held by Ethiopian athlete Letesenbet Gidey. In October 2021 she completed the Valencia Half Marathon in 1:02:52.
What is the average time it takes to run a half marathon?
We’ve covered overall times, but what about pacing?
On average in the UK, male half marathoners keep a pace of 8.96 mins per mile (that’s 5.57 mins per kilometre) while female runners keep a 10.29 mins per mile pace, (that’s 6.40 mins per kilometre).
Now you’ve got an idea of what your goal should be, the next step is planning to make sure you reach it.
3 Tips for Improving Your Half Marathon Time
- Perfect Your Pacing
The half marathon will test you physically and mentally. While focusing on your anaerobic fitness is a must, a lot of runners spend too much time trying to improve their stamina and not enough time perfecting their splits.
Pacing is a mental game – it can be tempting, particularly in race conditions, to blitz through your first mile at a pace you’re never going to be able to maintain. But doing so will only leave you gasping for breath and struggling to make it over the finish line.
The best way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to run even splits. Decide on a comfortable race pace, and stick to it from start to finish. Doing so will ensure you stay below your lactate threshold, and reduce the risk of early fatigue and heavy legs.
- Hit the Gym
If you’re trying to avoid injury, strength training is non-negotiable. 1-2 days a week in the gym will also help you run faster and more efficiently, by improving your muscular coordination, power, mobility, and stride.
- Follow a Training Plan
Consistency is key when it comes to achieving your running goals and the best way to stay consistent is by following a training plan. They provide structure and ensure your workouts are tailored towards reaching your goal.
There are hundreds of coach-approved plans available for free online.
Which half marathon should I choose?
The UK has so many amazing half-marathon events to choose from, it just depends on what you’re looking for…
For the nervous newbie
Not just a race, this iconic event is a full-on festival. A guaranteed good time with a fast, flat route and on-course entertainment, this run is the perfect entry-level race.
One of the world’s biggest half marathon events, this unforgettable experience is a true gem in the racing calendar. The city shuts down to accommodate the massive crowds, meaning the route is always lined with cheering spectators, music zones and ample aid stations.
For the escape artist
If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, but still beautifully scenic, Run Tatton is the perfect choice. Set in rural Cheshire, participants are invited to run the flat, wildlife-studded course as fast or as easy as they like.
Explore the beautiful flat marsh landscape surrounding Lydd in Kent on this rural, out-and-back course. Popular for its supportive, social atmosphere, this half marathon is an excellent choice for first-timers.
For the hill lover
Swap the roads for trails in the gorgeous Oxfordshire countryside. Set in the picturesque Chiltern Hills, this 21k course definitely isn’t flat, but what it lacks in ease it makes up for in views.