The marathon distance, which is 26.2 miles, is too far for some people. Instead, they try the shorter alternative, the half-marathon.
As the name suggests, the distance of a half-marathon is precisely half of the distance in a marathon of 13.1 miles.
Open division half-marathons are always mixed with runners from all fitness levels.
You can compete with new beginners, experienced beginners, amateur runners, and even some advanced athletes that may want to challenge themselves and beat their PR (personal record) of their own half-marathon time.
Half-marathons are designed to replicate the same pressure, excitement, and experience in a marathon. The only difference is the distance and the amount of preparation you need to take.
Arguably, suppose you were serious enough about improving your average half-marathon time. In that case, you need to put more or less the same amount of time and effort you would put in like you’re training for a marathon.
Now, 13.1 miles may sound like a long-distance run for your average runner, but these half-marathons are not that long-distance as you may think. It’s a race that’s between the balanced of intensity and distance.
The race is long enough for testing out your endurance but not short enough that you need to train your leg speed more than your stamina.
Although the distance is cut in half, the intensity of joining and competing in a half-marathon is remarkably similar to what you would expect in a standard marathon.
Most people have done numerous amounts of preparation beforehand to beat one’s record.
Whether you are joining the half-marathon for fun and leisure, competing with other athletes, or trying to set a new record for yourself, there are things you need to know and steps you need to take to have improvements and better results.
Besides, everybody wants to see themselves improve on their hobbies and this is what this article is all about.
The Average Half-Marathon Time
Since the sport has been rising in popularity lately, many people are involved, which means it won’t take long to find out that there’s a local half-marathon happening in your area.
Needless to say, the reason you’re searching for this article in the first place was to improve your average half-marathon time. Knowing this, different people have different average half-marathon times.
According to Matea Matošević, an Olympic runner that writes for Olyrun, the average half marathon time is between 2:03:21 and 2:10:32, which means that the moderate running pace is between 9:25 and 9:57 minutes per mile.
This means an average person would typically spend over 9:57 minutes per mile. Now, if you’re a complete beginner, there’s nothing to worry about, you’re starting out feeling great about the half-marathon experience, but in the future, there are many ways you can improve that.
Physical capabilities significantly affect the average half-marathon time of every person. Realistically speaking, there’s no general idea of an average half-marathon time for everybody.
You need to consider many factors, such as age, gender, weather, route, and many more when it comes to summarizing the average time from different people of different origins.
Factors that can Affect your Half-Marathon Time
Many things can affect your average half-marathon time. As previously mentioned, one of them is the fitness levels and capabilities.
Before proceeding with the preparations and training you must do to achieve a new personal record, we have to assess the problems regarding why you haven’t shown progress even after numerous tries.
It’s essential for you, the runner, to determine what’s holding you back from your potential of beating your record.
This is where we help you find the roots of your problem, create a solution relative to the problem, improve that weakness and vulnerability, and turn it into one of your greatest strengths.
However, this does not mean we have control over all the factors that affect your time. Instead, we’re going to improve on the factors that we control, and at the same time, you are the weakest on. That way, we can efficiently determine what isolation exercises you should do to improve.
These differences cause a significant impact on the average time you tally and your overall PR (Personal Record). If you want to improve your average time, then we suggest that you read and fully understand what’s holding you back from your goal of having an ideal average time.
Here are the factors that can affect your average time, they are not arranged in any sort of order, but it should give you a great idea of what slows you down in getting a better average time:
- Physical Fitness Levels and Capabilities
Every person has different kinds of fitness levels and capabilities. That’s why if you start with an average lousy time, it’s completely okay.
It’s also relative to the topic of age and gender. Since we’re talking about fitness levels, we might as well just include that professional half-marathon runners are people from the age group of 28-33 years old, according to Matea Matošević from Olyrun.
The importance of each person’s fitness levels entering the race is vital because BMI and the person’s body fat come in. You don’t have to take these measurements necessarily, but it can also improve your time.
A light person would do a better job of having a better average time than a person that’s obese, right? That’s the point. Fitness levels matter on improving your time. The only way to improve your fitness level is constant training and proper nutrition.
Some may argue that spending a lot of money on running equipment is a complete waste of money. This is not true at all. According to Brilliant Oral Care, good running shoes don’t come cheap but are proven to be worth the money.
Making sure you feel comfortable while running is the sole reason why investing in equipment is helpful in the first place.
Running a half-marathon will take you about an hour and a half to finish on a good day. That’s why being comfortable the whole time you’re doing that is critical.
You want to make sure you have the right size of shoe you use and the right amount of cushion to support your ankles when your feet touch the ground.
Clothing is also necessary because we need to feel warm, but not warm enough to make you sweat just enough to feel cozy.
- Weather Conditions
The runners do not control this, so if you plan to beat your record and tomorrow’s not looking like a sunny day, you better hope for the worst because weather conditions can affect your performance.
Everyone has their preferences when it comes to weather. Some prefer to run in a day full of misty wind, others prefer the scorching heat, while others prefer the cold night runs where the sun isn’t shining.
However, you should consider the weather conditions because you don’t want to be in a situation where you want to beat your record in weather that you’re not comfortable running in.
The best bet you have in getting a better average time is by either getting used to all weather conditions or hope that the next half-marathon will have your weather preferences in your favor. It’s not something that we, runners, can control.
- Half-Marathon Route
Although the three previously mentioned factors were necessary, the route is just as important as you would think. Before joining the half-marathon, you should at least understand the road and terrain you are running on.
Scout the area for a while, make sure you take notes of the different terrain, inclination, and flat regions so that you won’t be shocked at why the route suddenly took you to an area with a mini hill climb.
Concerning your physical fitness, if you know that there’s a hill climb in this half-marathon, you can prepare increasing speed in that area by doing isolation exercises. That way, if hill climbs were challenging for you at first, your body will soon adapt and be used to the changes.
Everybody has that sense of pressure in them when they’re competing with at least two or more people.
The adrenaline you feel in the starting line won’t last until your reach the finish line, and that’s why experience is essential.
No matter how athletically gifted you are, but if you lack the experience and panic throughout the half-marathon, don’t expect that you’re going to have a better average time.
For example, you suddenly have leg muscle cramps, what do you do? If you have experienced something similar to this one in the past, you know how to handle the situation and calmly sit down on the floor and stretch your leg.
Experience is one of the leverages an advanced runner has, compared to the newbies that are new to the sport. The only way to attain more understanding is to join as many marathons and half-marathons as you can.
Before the Half-Marathon
Now that you know the factors that can either slow you down or help you get a better average time, what you need to do now is to make preparations and have some tips on what to do before the marathon.
Suppose you plan on being serious about improving your average half-marathon time. In that case, there are preparations you need to do before actually starting to train for a better average time.
Indeed we have mentioned last things about the preparations you need to make before a half-marathon. In this section of the article, we discuss the more specific practices you should make.
Running a half-marathon is not easy as you think. You must be prepared for the list of things that can happen to you. Injuries, accidents, and unfortunate events can happen without prior preparation.
What Can Happen During the Half-Marathon
We must be prepared for all the things that can happen in a half-marathon. Accidents and injuries are part of the race, and the best way to avoid them is to know what to do in that situation.
According to Ashton Hospital Pharmacy, you should not let marathon injuries hamper your efforts or the hours of training you have put in.
Since many things can happen in the half-marathon, we have gathered some examples and remedies to avoid these instances. Here are the examples of what can happen to you before the marathon:
Blisters are formed by making constant friction from your feet to your shoes. It’s a collection of fluid caused by the contact friction produced by your feet.
There’s a remedy to this. If you constantly have this injury, consider consulting your local footwear for better equipment or use a lubricant barrier. Something like petroleum jelly would do the trick.
Sprains happen when ligaments are stretched out more than they’re used to. They can be extremely painful, which can occur when you decide to have a better average time.
This is because there is so much pressure on the joints. However, similar to other injuries, you can do the RICE technique.
The RICE technique, rest it, ice it, and compress it. It’s a short and straightforward procedure yet a very effective remedy if you want to get out of your unfortunate accident.
Fractures happen when a part of the body breaks down due to significant impacts on a particular body bone.
As the name suggests, getting fractures is by having a broken bone inside your body. Unlike the other injuries and accidents, this one has no remedies, but you can do some safety procedures before rescue comes.
First, you shouldn’t move around as much as you would if you have a fractured bone. Call the ambulance as soon as possible as this injury requires treatment from a medical professional as quickly as possible.
Dehydration is an avoidable injury and can even have multiple remedies. If you feel that you’re running on a hotter than average day, then make sure you are hydrated as much as possible.
Drinking the right amount of water before every half-marathon is a given. You can even bring with you running packets that are filled with jellies that have high nutritional values.
Now that you are aware of the potential risks and injuries that can happen to you and how to avoid them in a half-marathon, it’s time to prepare to improve your average time on the field.
- Running Equipment
Wearing the right gear can be a determining factor in having a better average half-marathon time. The reason is simple, half-marathons and marathons, in general, are more about stamina and endurance.
Having the right shoe and clothing can help you stay comfortable even if you ran for an hour straight with no rests.
Running equipment limits you to the clothes and footwear you use and the accessories you choose to bring.
For example, you can use a GPS device to track the pace and the heart rate you’re currently running at. Some even support the service of tracking the distance that you have run before starting the race.
- Nutritional Diet
Eating healthy foods is very important, especially in sports. Whether you’re a runner or not, it’s always important to eat the right kinds of foods.
This video can help you understand what you should eat in one week.
Having a good nutritional diet means you eliminate all the unnecessary fat and improve muscle growth which can increase the speed of each runner no matter what fitness level, gender, and age.
- Ideal Locations of Training
If you plan to train for a half-marathon and already know the route, then it’s advised to prepare on that same terrain and route. You should be familiar with everything as much as possible.
However, if the route is not announced yet, you can try locations with different terrain, inclination, and distance.
It’s essential to get used to terrain to prepare for the conditions it gives you, the runner when you start the race.
Training on routes with inclination will help you determine the right pace you should run at when reaching these prone areas.
Even though you train for a 13.1-mile race, you must go beyond that. You don’t want to finish the half-marathon at your limit. You have to push it an extra mile forward if you’re going to give your finishing sprint a little boost.
- High-Intensity Training
Depending on your fitness level, the intensity of your training varies. However, what doesn’t change is the amount of training one should do before a half-marathon.
Doing high-intensity training will not only increase your leg speed and endurance but will also provide good results for attaining a better average time on your half-marathons.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long should I train for a half-marathon?
If you solely want to train to finish the half-marathon and have no prior experience whatsoever, then around 6-8 weeks of consistent training should get you to your goal in completing the half-marathon.
However, if you plan on beating other runners or setting a personal record time for your half-marathon time, then you may have to consider 8-12 weeks of training.
Your training should have the perfect balance of endurance and leg speed training mixed with intervals and high-intensity training in-between weeks.
The intensity level of the training will depend on your physical capabilities or how much you want to push yourself to the limit. If you want a chance to stand on the podium after reaching the finish line, you’ll do whatever it takes to win.
If you still have further questions, you can watch Half Marathon Training For Beginners! | How To Train For Your First Half-Marathon! And have a great idea of what your first training steps should be.
What should I do to remove nervousness before the marathon?
There is a routine that most of the advanced racers and runners do before every marathon/race they participate in. They warm up.
Now, this warm-up is not your typical warm-up where you stretch for 30 minutes and expect all your ligaments and joints to be relaxed and calm. The introduction they do is much more complicated than that.
They run 400 meters with 70% effort and rest, they run the same 400 meters with 90% effort and rest again, and finally make another 400-meter sprint for 80% effort.
What they’re doing is waking up their nervous systems so they won’t feel uneasy in the race anymore. You can do the same; it’s also crucial that you keep moving in the starting line to keep your nervous systems awake.
Do half-marathons give the same experience a normal marathon does?
Yes, the only difference between a standard marathon and a half-marathon is the distance runners run. Other than distance, there are not many differences.
You shouldn’t treat half-marathons as a more accessible version of marathons because they are not easier. It still offers the same pressure you would get from a typical marathon.
Should I join a training group for runners?
Although it’s not necessary to join a training group for runners, it can be beneficial if you are comfortable with all the people in the group.
It’s great to have someone in the group who falls under the similar skill group you are currently in. Train with that person and track your progress together.