What Is A Good Time For A Half Marathon?
Training for a half marathon can be quite challenging.
It gets even harder if you have a goal to complete the race in record time. Speaking of which, what is a good time for a half marathon?
This is one of those questions that elicit an “it depends” answer.
Many factors come into play when it comes to determining what would be considered a good time for a half marathon.
Keep reading to learn more.
What is a Half Marathon?
A half marathon is a road running event that covers approximately 13.1 miles or 21.1 kilometers. That’s typically half of a full marathon.
It is also commonly referred to as a 21.1K or 21K.
In many cases, the event is held at the same time as other road races such as 5k or full marathon. And sometimes, ribbons or medals are awarded.
Regardless of where the event is held and whether a finisher medal is awarded, the most important thing is training right for the race.
With proper training, you will be able to gain mileage and increase your speed to complete the race in good time.
World Records for Half Marathon
To help answer the question, “what is a good time for a half marathon?” here is a quick rundown of selected world record-holders for the fastest half marathoners in different categories.
Keep in mind that these are elite-level half marathoners.
In other words, let their records motivate you, but don’t beat yourself up if your results are pale in comparison to theirs.
Men’s Half Marathon World Record
The fastest half marathon run to date is a record 57:31 minutes. This record was set by Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo with a 4:27.2-pace per mile.
Kiplimo broke Kenya’s Kibiwott Kandie’s former record by only one second to become the new world half-marathon champion in Lisbon, 2021.
In the United States, the fastest finish time for the male half marathon is 59:43 with a pace per mile of 4:33.3. This record was set by Ryan Hall at the 2007 race event held in Houston.
Women’s Half Marathon World Record
Letensebet Gidey from Ethiopia holds the world’s record for the fastest half marathon in the women’s category.
Gidey completed the race in 1 hour 2 minutes and 52 seconds at the 2021 event that took place in Valencia.
She broke the RAK, 2020 record of 1 hour four minutes and 31 seconds set by her fellow countrywoman, Ababel Yeshaneh.
What Would Be Considered a Good Time for a Half Marathon?
There is no such thing as a “good time” for completing a half marathon course.
It all comes down to experience, fitness level, age, sex, and training. An elite runner will definitely complete the race in a shorter time than a first-time runner.
There may even be some determining factors that are out of your control, such as the conditions on the race day.
However, it is safe to say that most racers of the same experience level tend to cross the finish line within certain time limits.
A good half marathon time for complete beginners would be about two to three hours. You should be proud of yourself for crossing the finish line, even if it takes you longer than that.
For experienced half marathoners, completing the race in two hours is a common goal. This puts the average pace at about nine minutes nine seconds (9:09) per mile.
Highly competitive marathoners need to maintain a pace of anywhere from 6:51 to 8:00 minutes per mile or even faster.
This will allow them to smash their goal of crossing the line between 1 hour 30 minutes and 1 hour 44 minutes.
A good half marathon time for elite marathoners is an entirely different ball game.
As expected, these athletes set harder targets!
Elite male runners usually complete a half marathon in a little under an hour, while most elite female athletes cross the finish line in about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Of course, these goals can be impressive and even a bit overwhelming for a beginner.
But time isn’t the most important thing when it comes to running the half marathon, especially when you are just getting into the game.
If it is your first half-marathon, your goal should be completing the race!
It takes a different level of commitment to prepare for a half marathon and that’s a huge accomplishment in itself, regardless of how long it took you to cross the finish line.
Instead of obsessing about time as a beginner, your focus should be on maintaining the healthy habits that come with training for the race.
How Long Does It Take to Train for Half Marathon?
Generally, it takes about 12 weeks of training to get a half marathon runner ready for the go.
But this can change a bit, depending on your experience level.
If you are a rookie with zero running experience, you will probably want to train for about 15 to 16 weeks.
This will help you build your mileage and form.
But for experienced runners may only need to train for about 6 to 8 weeks to get prepared for the half marathon.
Here’s something you’ll want to keep in mind about training, regardless of your experience level.
The last two weeks of your training must be dedicated to the half marathon taper. This means progressively decreasing how much you run.
You want to reach the start line on the race day ready and well-rested to give your best performance.
So, what is a good time for a half marathon? The answer depends on a handful of factors already covered in this quick guide.
If you are a beginner, focus on getting the right training.
Don’t worry about setting or beating any records for now. Your speed or pace will improve with time.