/ Half Marathon Time

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Voltemands - on 11 Apr 2012
A bit of a - How long is a piece of string question, I know - But on the scale of things how is 2 hours and 40 minutes (specifically the Reading marathon) as far as half marathon times go?

Would you rate it -
A) A good time for a reasonably fit person (may do a session of cardio twice a week)
B) A bad time for a reasonably fit person
C) Standard sort of time for a mid twenties, regular road runner who gets out a few times a week running 5k to 10K per session.

The reason I ask, is that I'd like to try compare the result (of a friend) to the result I get in my first half later in the year. I understand that it can depend on the route so comparing is hard, but I'm a competitive male :-)
DreadyCraig - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to Voltemands:
That's pretty slow.
I'm not massivly fit, but I did put in months of training beforehand and I ran the Fleet Half in less than 2 hours.
johnnyslowfeet - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to Voltemands:
You missed out
D) a slow time for a one legged man carrying a fridge.

I vote D
Double Knee Bar - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to Voltemands: Pretty slow for a fit regular runner. Should be targeting sub 2 hrs. I managed 2:06 i think but i had major blisters after 6 miles due to wet trainers.
tony on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to Voltemands:

At a recent half marathon I ran in Scotland, the winning male time was 1.08.49. The slowest male time was 3.04.20. A time of 2.40 would have put you in 1104th position out of 1111 runners.
Steve John B - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to Voltemands:

Definitely (B)
Steve John B - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to Steve John B: This is somewhat confusing as it's ranked by 'gun time' not 'chip time' (which seems odd unless you're looking to break the world record):

http://www.readinghalfmarathon.com/results11/half.pdf
tony on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to Steve John B:

Those results do give chip positions and gun positions. It's chip times you shuld be looking at if you're comparing times, since this is the time for the acurately marked distance. I'm afraid it doesn't do much to improve a 2.40 time - even if that's a gun time, with an associated chip time of about 2.25-30, it's still pretty slow.
Steff - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to Voltemands:

I am afraid, it's time that would have you seen pulled out of the race in most of the races around were I live (eastern Spain), as the time limit is usually 2:15 or 2:30. So being brutally honest it's B from your list.

However, having said that for a unfit person that has never run before, just finishing a half is not too bad, although I struggle to see the point in it. The injury risk and lack of fun would put me off, if I was in such a situation.

BTW, "a session of cardio twice a week" is not what I would consider "a reasonably fit person" ;-)
ankyo - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to Voltemands:
Or,
E ) It doesn't matter. At least they are getting off their backside and doing something unlike a very large part of the population. ;-)
Fishmate - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to Voltemands:

Defo B) I can walk 20km in 2:30 averaging 8kph over mixed undulating terrain so probably similar or better on a road course at HM distance. I wouldn't consider myself particularly fit yet compared to many others on this site. With a good build up you should be looking for sub 2 hours.
Voltemands - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to Steff:
> (In reply to Voltemands)


> BTW, "a session of cardio twice a week" is not what I would consider "a reasonably fit person" ;-)

Although I do kind of agree with this statement, I think that's because I'm often at running/riding events. If however you spoke to Mr or Mrs average, they'd say a couple of cardio sessions per week is pretty fit. Most of my non-fitness friends think I'm sort of iron man-olympian type, and I only cover 70ish miles p/week on the bike, try to do one 10k run and climb twice weekly. Whereas people like me and you know that in reality that is only a reasonably good effort and nowhere near what some, more dedicated types get up to.

Voltemands - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to Voltemands: Thanks for all the answers. Pretty helpful. I thought it may have been a slow time but as I said, no experience with HM events yet. Sounds like I should be aiming for at least no more than 2 hours then.
Liam M - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to Voltemands: As has been suggested, it will put you toward the back end of the field in a lot of races. Though I do know quite a few people who will run halfs in not significantly less, and still very much enjoy it.

If you enjoy running/racing to some extent who cares how long it takes - just make the challenge personal, and you'll know if you've done yourself justice or not.
Simon Caldwell - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to Steff:
>BTW, "a session of cardio twice a week" is not what I would consider "a reasonably fit person" ;-)

I agree. I'm much fitter than average (though less fit than the average fit person), but have no idea what "a session of cardio" consists of :-)
Voltemands - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to Toreador: OK Mr Pedanto. I mean a session of activity that increases a persons resting heart rate for anywhere between 30 minutes and 1 hour 30 minutes. I think it's not unobvious what I meant by that.
lowersharpnose - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to Voltemands:

B) A bad time for a reasonably fit person

Given that they had done some training and were not ill.
andy - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to Voltemands: You can get a WAVA rating (which gives you a %ile of the population at your age group).

If you put 2:40 for a 25 year old male into http://www.panix.com/~elflord/wava.html

it shows that's 37th %ile - i.e. 2/3 of 25 year old males would beat you. It's pretty poor for a "reasonably fit person", to be honest. I'd expect a mid twenties bloke who is "reasonably fit" to be able to get under 1:50 without a lot of training. If their "cardio sessions" consist of going to the gym twice a week and doing 15 minutes of cardio work in between chatting or lifting weights then under 2 hours. 2:40 would suggest either something went pretty drastically wrong or they're not really a "reasonably fit person".
Simon Caldwell - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to Voltemands:
> OK Mr Pedanto. I mean a session of activity that increases a persons resting heart rate for anywhere between 30 minutes and 1 hour 30 minutes.

In that case, I average less than 2 of those per week, but could do a hilly off-road half marathon in less than 2 hours 40, so that would make it a very slow time :-)
Sonya Mc on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to Voltemands: Slow. I did my first half in 2hrs and 2mins and that was stopping training several weeks before as I was ill and because I can't run fast due to arthritis *and* it was a hilly run. I'm doing another half in July and haven't run at all really since last Sept (started training again this week <utter agony :oD > I'm going to be unfitter than I was last time but I'm still aiming for under 2hrs.
Liam M - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to andy: WAVA is useful for comparing across age categories or gender, but it's not quite as useful as it first seems, as it's based on the record for your category/distance, rather than an actual aggregated finishing time distribution.

There may be a few more subtleties in some of the values, but essentially it appears the calculation of WAVA comes from 'Record time for your category/your finishing time' (x100 for a percentage). It would only give the percentile if the distribution of times was uniform, rather than normal (or probably slightly skewed).
Steff - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to Voltemands:

> If however you spoke to Mr or Mrs average, they'd say a couple of cardio sessions per week is pretty fit.

That's because Mr and Mrs Average these days are nowhere near "reasonably fit" ;-)

I run between 7-10 times a week and currently consider myself nowhere near the level of fitness of someone who has manual labour job or lives in a less privileged country. I recently calculated that my grand father did just a slightly lower mileage as I currently do just by walking to work and back. He also had to dig out coal from a mine for about 8 hours in between. He was Mr Average 50 years ago.
Sorry, just went off on an unrelated rant, but it's one of my favourite topics ;-)
highclimber - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to Voltemands: 2:40min is better than 2:41 mins!
mag_to_grid - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to Voltemands:

Anything under 100min could be considered a good time for a half marathon.

I come in usually between 1.30 and 140, last one was 1.42 with a knee injury.

As for 2 sessions of Cardio a week, it depends what else you are doing and what your cardio consists of, generally I only run or do "Cardio" twice a week, the other days I will do circuits, climbing, weight or hill walking none of which I consider to be cardio. I dont consider myself very fit but I am definitely fitter than average but what is average??
hokkyokusei - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to Voltemands:

> C) Standard sort of time for a mid twenties, regular road runner who gets out a few times a week running 5k to 10K per session.

What is their typical time for 5k & 10k?
steelbru - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to Voltemands:
As has been said it is a slow time for someone in mid twenties - the example from a race of bottom 1% of males, HOWEVER, still better than 95% of the population who were sat on their backside doing no exercise at all :-)
IainRUK - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to steelbru: I think a fit person should be sub 2 hrs for a half. just under 10 minute miling. 2:40 is pretty poor for a runner. sub 1:45 solid run. I think most fit males should comfortably run sub 2.
mugglewump - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to Double Knee Bar: Gay
The New NickB - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to Voltemands:

I don't quite understand the question, your friend ran 2:40 which is a slow time on what looks like a fastish course. If you run even a little bit, like 10k once or twice a week you should have an idea of what you want to be targeting for the half, 10k x 2 + 10%, although people often end up with slow half times because they have not run beyond 10k and end up walking the last 5 miles.
Eric9Points - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to Voltemands:

Just had a look at the results from a half marathon I did where the times are in Excel format.

The average time for that one, which I imagine is pretty run of the mill, was 1:52:48.

You might want to download the rsults and do a bit more analysis if you're the geeky sort of person.

http://www.nairnroadrunners.co.uk/14401/index.html

Personally I'd have said that if you don't run much anything under 2:10 wouldn't be a bad time.
alicia - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to andy:
> (In reply to Voltemands) You can get a WAVA rating (which gives you a %ile of the population at your age group).
>
> If you put 2:40 for a 25 year old male into http://www.panix.com/~elflord/wava.html
>
> it shows that's 37th %ile - i.e. 2/3 of 25 year old males would beat you. It's pretty poor for a "reasonably fit person", to be honest. I'd expect a mid twenties bloke who is "reasonably fit" to be able to get under 1:50 without a lot of training. If their "cardio sessions" consist of going to the gym twice a week and doing 15 minutes of cardio work in between chatting or lifting weights then under 2 hours. 2:40 would suggest either something went pretty drastically wrong or they're not really a "reasonably fit person".

That performance calculator thing is scarily accurate for me. I put in my marathon PR and then used my rating from that to ask it what my half marathon time should be. The time it predicted was within 45 seconds of my half marathon PR!
DancingOnRock - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to The New NickB: I agree.

You will need to do some pretty serious training to get a sub 2hr if you've only run 10k so far. It's going to take 10 weeks of structured training to get you up to 13 miles for a start. Plus a two week taper.

Good luck.
DancingOnRock - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to Voltemands: I would say a good time for a first half marathon would be 2:15 to 2:20.
a concerned citizen - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> You will need to do some pretty serious training to get a sub 2hr if you've only run 10k so far.

It largely comes down to base fitness, I did 1:34 having run no further than 5 miles before but was properly fit as a result of the Uni Boat Club training (mostly circuits and ergs).
DancingOnRock - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to a concerned citizen: That's the mistake a lot of people make. Tendons and joints take a long time to adapt. Just because your base fitness allows you to run at that speed over that distance doesn't mean the rest of your body will stand up to it. By serious training I mean adding a mile a week and dropping back down a couple of miles every few weeks.
a concerned citizen - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to DancingOnRock:
> Tendons and joints take a long time to adapt. Just because your base fitness allows you to run at that speed over that distance doesn't mean the rest of your body will stand up to it.

My body was helpful enough to point this out for most of the week after.
TheDrunkenBakers - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to ankyo:

Cant argue with that.
The New NickB - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to DancingOnRock:
> (In reply to The New NickB) I agree.
>
> You will need to do some pretty serious training to get a sub 2hr if you've only run 10k so far. It's going to take 10 weeks of structured training to get you up to 13 miles for a start. Plus a two week taper.


Not necessarily it is only a bit of suffering, but not everyone is up for that.
DancingOnRock - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to The New NickB:

Suffering? What is?
The New NickB - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to DancingOnRock:

Most people with a bit of basic fitness could run a half marathon, I mean run, it is just they are not used to it hurting so they stop / walk. It is supposed to hurt, if it doesn't hurt you are not trying hard enough. Not everyone is up for the suffering required to get the most out of whatever level of fitness they have.
DancingOnRock - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to The New NickB:
> (In reply to DancingOnRock)
>
> Most people with a bit of basic fitness could run a half marathon.

I'm really struggling with your use of the words most, bit and basic. I can't agree with you at all.

Liam M - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to The New NickB: It can take quite a while of running and racing to establish what sort of hurting is ok and what is a sign of something going or about to go very wrong. If it all just feels an overwhelming unusual pain you may not be able to discern what to push through and what to ease off on.

I'm not sure I agree on the use of the term suffering though - I see suffering as what happens when a race goes bad and when you want to be elsewhere. A good fast run may leave every fibre screaming out to ease back, with legs and lungs burning, but I don't think it feels like suffering.
The New NickB - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to Liam M:

Semantics I guess Liam, I suffer every race.
The New NickB - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to Liam M:

The hurting thing, some people find it naturally, others never really get it. The best athletes can suffer on a scale that us mortals cannot get close to.
Simon Caldwell - on 11 Apr 2012
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> It's going to take 10 weeks of structured training to get you up to 13 miles for a start. Plus a two week taper.
>
I don't agree with that at all. I don't race on roads and haven't done a half marathon but I have done several ultra marathons without ever doing any training in my life, structured or otherwise. Of course I'd do a lot better if I did train, but it's certainly not essential.
Michael Hood - on 12 Apr 2012
In reply to Voltemands:
> C) Standard sort of time for a mid twenties, regular road runner who gets out a few times a week running 5k to 10K per session.

This was almost my sort of situation when (many years ago) I did my first half. The longest I'd run before doing it was 7.5 miles but I was running maybe up to 3 times a week (so long ago I can't remember). I did it in just under 1:35 but it knackered my arches for a little while because I wasn't wearing proper running shoes; Adidas Sambas were ok for shorter distances but not 13.1 miles :-( As soon as I stopped the pain set in and I limped/shuffled home from the finish.

So I think a reasonably fit 25 year old man who runs maybe 3 or 4 times a week should be aiming for a first half-marathon time under 1:45 - that's 8 min/mile pace which is not particularly fast. A similar woman should probably be aiming for sub 2 hours.

A good rule of thumb I read about was to work out your average daily mileage and then multiply that by 3 to get your comfortable race distance. So for a half-marathon you need to have built up to about 30 miles/week. I never really got above 25-30 miles/week but all my (few) halves were between 1:28 & 1:35 and in one of those I was beaten by somebody pushing his kid round in a buggy!!! - overtaken going up a hill !!! - so I wasn't particularly fast.
tony on 12 Apr 2012
In reply to DancingOnRock:
> (In reply to The New NickB) I agree.
>
> You will need to do some pretty serious training to get a sub 2hr if you've only run 10k so far. It's going to take 10 weeks of structured training to get you up to 13 miles for a start. Plus a two week taper.
>
That's a bit of overkill. If you're already running 10k, it would only take 4 weeks or so before you're able to do the distance. You don't need much structure. Just increase the distances you're running, try running at least three times a week (preferably four), try to work up to running half marathon distance a few weeks before the event. You don't need a two week taper for a half.
steelbru - on 12 Apr 2012
In reply to The New NickB:
> (In reply to Liam M)
>
> The hurting thing, some people find it naturally, others never really get it. The best athletes can suffer on a scale that us mortals cannot get close to.

"Ultramarathon Man" by Dean Karnazes - recommended read, that guy thrives on real suffering !
bobbybin - on 12 Apr 2012
In reply to Voltemands: Crikey my PB would have got me top 40, where as when i did my PB (at Reading) i just managed top 80, how standards have dropped
IainRUK - on 12 Apr 2012
In reply to steelbru: I wouldn't get too taken.. many doubt his runs and also question his talent.. if you google you can read many many articles about him..
IainRUK - on 12 Apr 2012
In reply to bobbybin: That's a strong field too.. you don't see too many races with stronger top 50's.. 68 barely broke the top 20..
steelbru - on 12 Apr 2012
In reply to IainRUK:
Really ? Oh well, he has a good imagination and is a good story teller if nothing else............
IainRUK - on 12 Apr 2012
In reply to steelbru: His background is marketing.. in running you can always claim class wins.. target easy wins etc.. if you are half decent.. I've never lost an ultra in the US.. in fact never not taken less than 20 minutes off the record.. and I could keep doing that race after race and build up a huge profile.. or I can go out and try to get beaten in bigger races, better fields, look at more competitive events like marathons etc..
DancingOnRock - on 12 Apr 2012
In reply to tony:
> (In reply to DancingOnRock)
> [...]
> That's a bit of overkill. If you're already running 10k, it would only take 4 weeks or so before you're able to do the distance. You don't need much structure. Just increase the distances you're running, try running at least three times a week (preferably four), try to work up to running half marathon distance a few weeks before the event. You don't need a two week taper for a half.

The OP is running 10km once a week. That's the extent of his running. We don't have any info on how long this takes him or at what effort level.

Doing 3 more runs a week, one of them twice that distance is what I would call structured training.

Running an hour and a half just below your lactate threshold doesn't hurt. If it does you haven't trained correctly.
The New NickB - on 12 Apr 2012
In reply to DancingOnRock:

A healthy bloke in his twenties running 10k once a week, average is probably 50 minutes, a bit of determination and a sub 2 hour half is easily doable. I have done it myself on no training, 10 years older and a good stone over weight at least.

I know follow a structured programme and my half time is well under 1:30, but anyone reasonably fit and healthy can do that.
gregor - on 13 Apr 2012
In reply to original post: more reflections on a typical time without training.

At age 40 on spec whilst on holiday on Barra I did their half marathon (hilly course) on a lovely warm summers day. I had not run at all for 20 years but base exercise was 1 hr squash week, grandad style cycle to work so as not to get sweaty 30 miles week, 10 - 15 biggish Scottish hill days a year (either winter climbing or summer bagging). My time was in the 1.40's (think top end 40's but can't remember for sure) wearing light above the ankle canvas boots (no planning you see).

Found it interesting - base fitness took me to around 8 miles at about 6.50 mins a mile, then the pain in my thighs started and slowly got worse and by the end I was at a painful fast walk at 13 mins a mile. I had to crawl upstairs that night having rodgered so many thigh muscle fibres, took 4 days before I could get upstairs normally.

So if only moderately fit I think an hour off your time is the target. I also think miles in the legs is advisable for running more than 10K on spec!
jakjak - on 13 Apr 2012
In reply to Voltemands:

It's really not great.

my HM pb is: 10kpb * 2 + 12.5%

though I've never done it as part of a race. Say my PB was that average of 50 mins, that would still put me under 2hrs.

Run well, and run alot. A few half marathons before your race-day won't hurt. but the best advice i've seen here is that you should step it up slowly, distance wise.
tony on 13 Apr 2012
In reply to DancingOnRock:
>
> Doing 3 more runs a week, one of them twice that distance is what I would call structured training.

We obvioulsy have different ideas as to what constitutes 'structured training'. To me, structured training would invove a mix of longer runs, shorter tempo runs and speed sessions, with some thought given to the relative intensity and duration of each session. You can do a sub 2hr half without that.
mattrm - on 13 Apr 2012
In reply to ankyo:
> (In reply to Voltemands)
> Or,
> E ) It doesn't matter. At least they are getting off their backside and doing something unlike a very large part of the population. ;-)

This ++

I do halfs in 2 1/2 hours when I'm trying to hit my ultra race pace and I don't really think I'm very fit. I'm also asthmatic, which does affect my running as I usually run out of puff before my legs start getting tired. If I wasn't carrying kit and doing a vaguely hilly course, I'd hope that I'd hit 2 hours. But there's nothing wrong with the time, at least you've got lots of room for improvement.

I've found that in races you do tend to end up pushing harder, so you'll probably go a bit faster in the race anyway.

jkarran - on 13 Apr 2012
In reply to gregor:

> At age 40 on spec whilst on holiday on Barra I did their half marathon (hilly course) on a lovely warm summers day. I had not run at all for 20 years... Found it interesting - base fitness took me to around 8 miles at about 6.50 mins a mile...

That's impressive. I couldn't hit that kind of pace over half that distance on the flat when I was running every other day.

jk
tim heming - on 16 Apr 2012
In reply to Voltemands: Hi! Good one for having a go at it. I'm not a runner and did the Bath Half this year. Being 48 and a keen hill climber, I didn't want to get any injuries, or indeed suffer in any way so I started training last July, almost 9 months before the event. I was aiming for 2 hours as that's what my nephew was aiming for and in fact did it in 2 hrs 3 mins. It was warmer than I was used to and I have more excuses if needed but I think I was midway in the pack (of over 10,0000). Depending on your personal situation, you could probably get quite a bit quicker. And after all, it's about personal goals here (a bit like climbing mountains), not winning. T

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