What is a Good Half Marathon Time, Really? (Exploring Different Goals)

What Is A Good Half Marathon Time (2)

Running a half marathon event or just ran your first half marathon? Then you probably want to know what a good half marathon time is.

Let’s get straight to it. A good half marathon time is 2 hours or less

Runners call this a sub two-hour half marathon and it’s a great benchmark to work towards and achieve. It’s a time that will even raise a few eyebrows of fellow runners if brought up in conversation!

Bear in mind, though, that two hours is the average half marathon time for fit runners who clock in a good number of miles each week.

So if you’re new to running, don’t be discouraged – as two hours is more than possible to achieve through consistent training.

And if you want to know what a good half marathon time for beginners is, plus how to improve your half marathon time, you’ll find everything you’re looking for below.

What Is A Good Half Marathon Time For Beginners?

Running a half marathon, a solid 13.1 miles (21.1 kilometers), is a huge achievement – regardless of time. Tracking your time is still important, however, as it will give you something to improve on!

For beginners, a good half marathon time is around 2 hours and 30 minutes. 

This is a good time to shoot for if you’re attempting your first half marathon and have comfortably completed a few 10k runs in under 75 minutes. 

Half marathons require you to pace yourself more than 10k runs, so a 2.5-hour half marathon is a good realistic target for a first attempt.

Tracking your pace? A 2 hour 30 minute half marathon requires a pace of 11:27 per mile!

What Is The Average Half Marathon Time?

For the “average” half marathon time, there are several factors to take into account. These include age, sex, fitness level, and running experience – all of which affect running times.

But for the relatively fit average male, the average half marathon time is 1 hour and 50 minutes.

For the relatively fit average female, the average half marathon time is 2 hours and 10 minutes.

As a result, the general time it will take the average relatively fit runner to run a half marathon is around 2 hours. Pace-wise, this requires clocking in each mile in 9 minutes and 10 seconds or under. 

What Is The Half Marathon World Record?

Curious to know what the world record half marathon time is? Of course you are – world records aren’t just impressive; they’re also inspiring!

The men’s world record half marathon time is 57 minutes and 31 seconds, which was set by Jacob Kiplimo in 2021.

The women’s world record half time is 1 hour, 2 minutes, and 52 seconds, set by Letesenbet Gidey, also in 2021.

Speedy, right? These are elite-level runners, so even seasoned runners will struggle to get close to these times!

Despite that, everyone can improve their half marathon time – and there are a host of ways it can be achieved. 


How To Improve Half Marathon Time

No matter how long it takes you to run a marathon, or even where you currently are in your running journey, it’s always possible to improve your pace and endurance.

The following tips will have you running in the right direction. 

The best thing is that these tips can be applied by runners of all ages and abilities – and a few of them might even be things you never thought of before!

Time Yourself

Timing your half marathon informs you of your current running ability and gives you a hard number to improve on.

So if you’re not timing your runs yet, download a running app or pick up a fitness tracker and time your next run and log your results.

Train Your Pace

To achieve a specific running time, tracking pace with a running app or fitness tracker is important.

A good beginner half marathon time, for example, is 2.5 hours, which requires a pace of 11:27/mile. The closer you get to this pace, the more achievable a 2.5-hour half marathon will become!

Stretch Before You Run (And After)

Stretching before you run won’t just improve performance, but reduce the risk of injury – something that will set you back.

Five to 10 minutes of dynamic stretching is important before setting out, followed by five to 10 minutes of post-run static stretching.

Get Adequate Sleep And Rest Between Runs

Fatigue builds up over time. So while it might seem like a good idea to run as much as possible, it will actually work against you.

Adequate sleep the night before a run is vital, as well as making sure not to overtrain by giving yourself regular rest days.

Fuel Up Before You Run

Drinking electrolytes and even creatine before you run can help improve your running time.

The big thing is carbohydrates, though, such as whole grains and starchy vegetables, which will fuel your muscles with glycogen and help you run for longer. 

Wear Comfortable Running Shoes

Even running shoes factor into your running performance, including running times.

And it’s not about grabbing the best running shoes you can find, but making sure they fit comfortably. Running shoes should also be replaced every 300–500 miles of use.

Mix Up Your Training

The name of the game is to train endurance and pace. But even other forms of training can help improve your half marathon running time.

These include running uphill/incline, training speed runs and HIIT, and running on different terrain, like grass and gravel.

Prepare Yourself Mentally

The mind often gives up before the body – as many athletes will tell you. This makes mental preparation and self pep talk vital both before you run and while you run.

Draw motivation from past PBs you have achieved and tell yourself you can keep going!

The Bottom Line

To summarize, a good half marathon time is 2 hours or less. This is also the average half marathon running time for relatively fit runners who train regularly.

For beginners who are new to running half marathons, a good half marathon time is around 2 hours and 30 minutes. 

But no matter what your current half marathon time is, it’s more than possible to improve your time through consistent training. So get out there and keep running!

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