A question I get most frequently asked in my running group is how fit do you really need to be to run a sub 2hr half marathon? The answer I tell everyone is!! it’s not as simple as just fitness there are a lot of other factors to consider when training for this distance and time. I.e fuelling, structured training, consistency, strength work etc. So how would you prepare differently with these factors in mind???
How fit do you need to be to run a sub-2:00 half?
Ideally, you should be able to run 5K in 25-26 minutes and a 10K in less than 54 minutes. If you have prior experience and are returning after a layoff, chances are you’ll progress more quickly than a beginner, thanks to muscle memory.
Regardless of whether you’re a newbie or an experienced runner, you need to condition yourself to feel comfortable running for two hours “Says Gary Howells Run Coaching”. You need to feel comfortable running for two hours at a slower pace than you will on race day, and make sure you’re not left broken before race day.
The average person might be able to run for 5K comfortably, but the effort starts to take its toll after that. That’s because neuromuscular adaptations need to take place for your body to be in the condition to operate at the intensity it takes to run at a certain pace; for a sub-2.00, that’s 9:09 per mile or 5:40 per kilometre. There’s also the mental side: you need to be confident your body can keep going for two hours.
Do I need to take on fuel to run a sub-2:00 hour half marathon?
You’ll need to eat and drink on the road, says nutritionist Victoria Prendiville http://www.victoriaprendiville.co.uk/. Some runners think they can get through a half marathon without sports drinks or fuel, but that can make for painful and slow final mile” she says. Aim for 40-60g of carbs each hour you’re running and practise fuelling on long runs so there are no surprises on race day.
I’m finding the training hard, how do I know when I need to back off?
If you are pushing the pace to get faster or adding distance to go further, your body will talk back to you. During training, learn to distinguish
‘good pain’ (discomfort from leaving your comfort zone) from
‘bad pain’ (something verging on injury). “There is a difference between muscles that burn at the end of a workout and something that hurts every time you take a step says Gary Howells Sports Therapist. Part of training is learning body awareness. You also need to experience some discomfort so when it occurs in a race, you know you can push through it.
What kind of core-work should I be doing on?
Core exercises will help you maintain good form until the end of your race, when I write running plans I always suggest we fit strength work into your weekly training plan. Depending on where we are within our training block will determine on the intensity & volume. Some core exercises I do regularly are:-
- Seated twists
- Alternating jack knifes
- V-sit Hold
- V-sit Crunch
- V-sit Scissors
- V-sit leg flutter
Steady- (Steady runs) should be done 30 seconds to one minute per mile slower than half-marathon goal pace (9:09 per mile).
LSR – (Long Steady Run) This is a long, slow distance run that will build your endurance. Run at an easy pace; you should be able to hold a conversation. This should be 30 seconds to one minute per mile slower than your goal pace.
HMP (Half-marathon pace) – This is the pace that you hope to maintain in the race. Run one mile easy to warm up and one mile easy to cool down.
S&C – (Strength & Conditioning)Follow one of GH Run Coaching’s S&C plans 20min Max workout using the rest of the day as recovery.
Run Club – GH Run Club’s structured session. This will be a high intensity session.
Generic sub 2hr plan