Half Marathon Pace Chart
So you’re interested in doing a marathon, but being the sensible person that you are, you are going to do the half marathon first of all. Wise decision. It’s better to prepare properly and work your way up to the big one rather than jump off the cliff headfirst without a parachute. Not only that, you will achieve better results by doing things in the correct order. In fact, using your secret weapon – a half marathon pace chart – will enable you to improve your running and tackle the 13.1 miles of a half marathon with total confidence.
What is a Running Pace Chart?
Running pace charts can be used for any type of running, but they basically help you work out your given pace for any given distance. If you want to know how fast you need to be running to complete 3 miles in 18 minutes, you would look at the chart and it tells you that in order to keep that time a race pace of 6-minutes per mile is necessary.
Why Would I use a Running Pace Chart?
Essentially they give you an average time that you can use to compare your speed against your friends, for example. On another level, you may wish to compare your half marathon average speed – or pace – to your full marathon pace. In order to do this the quickest and easiest way is to approach your running pace chart and see where you stand.
They might not be high-tech by today’s standards, but pace charts are still an essential part of a runner’s tool kit in order to keep track of one’s running times and general fitness tracking.
If you run regularly and get to know your range of worst case and best case scenario, then you will naturally become familiar with the range of times and figures that suit your running style.
While it’s always good to push yourself and aim for a quicker pace, don’t beat yourself up emotionally if you can’t move into the next speed bracket. As long as you are healthy and enjoying your running that is more important than being miserable and holding onto figures that your body isn’t up to.
Instead of thinking of pace charts as some form of medieval torture device that you have to perform in the lowest-times section, you should think of them as a helping hand, a device that is nothing more than another feather in your cap to make life easier and not harder.
They’re simply a glorified spreadsheet so don’t let that fact get away from you.
Half Marathon Pace Chart 1 for Experienced Runners
Here’s a half marathon chart for experienced runners who are capable of per-mile pace of anywhere from 5.30 to 7.50. The charts I found are in two halves, but that doesn’t mean anything really. They could have been split into four sections – it was just how they came so don’t get upset if your times are in chart 2.
Half Marathon Pace Chart 2 for Novice Runners
Part 2 of the half marathon chart is for runners who can manage to keep in the per-mile pace range of 8.00 to 10.20. This is where most runners, especially beginners will feel most comfortable.
I know I say it often, but you should concentrate on your own running and don’t compare yourself with others in a bad way. While it is good to compare yourself to someone for inspirational purposes, it shouldn’t go any further than that. We are all unique in our running abilities so stay positive and quietly go about your running programme on your own. Keep on working and training consistently and your running will keep on improving however gradual that may be.
Steady progress is what we all aim for, but by being consistent and grinding hard when others are having a day off will get you places that more naturally talented runners won’t ever get to see. Yes, talent is great, but heart and determination have won more battles and races than you care to imagine.
As my favourite boxer – Floyd Mayweather says: “Hard work, dedication!”
How to Use a Pace Chart?
You don’t need any training for this one, as you have already guessed it’s just a case of deciding what time you’re aiming for and looking up the correct column and row of the chart.
Alternatively, if you have completed a run then you wish to reverse engineer your time, the procedure is exactly the same apart from you are starting off on your finishing time and looking at where it points to both axis, up and down.
Half Marathon Expert Training Plan
If you’re an intermediate or experienced runner then the above half marathon running programme will be ideal to get you back to full fitness in eight weeks. You can always cut a week or add extra weeks in if you feel that your body needs some extra running or more of a rest if you are feeling lethargic. Tiredness isn’t a good feeling when you are running and training hard. Especially if it’s summer time and the heat on top of your tiredness will sap the life out of your body and the fun out of your running.
Don’t be a tough guy – if you need time of then it’s good to have a few days rest. This is even more appropriate if you come down with a cold or other illness. While it is tempting to get back on the road as soon as possible, a doctor that I know told me that you will push the virus more deeply in your system so it is best to be fully fit whenever you go running. Doctor Jerry was a runner himself, so he should know what he’s talking about!
Half Marathon Novice Training Plan
Similar to above, here’s a half-marathon training chart for novice or beginner runners. Maybe you lie somewhere in-between the two programmes. All you have to do in this instance is adjust the times and mileage to suit your fitness level.
As previously mentioned, you can add or subtract rows to suit your mood. You may feel that you need an extra few weeks in order to really give you the confidence if it’s your first half marathon. Conversely, you may feel super fit and could do with taking time off the programme. The key is that you enter your marathon on race day fully prepared and feeling confident.
If you are suffering all you have to do is slow down the pace and you will be fine. Yes, even a half marathon can be tough, but it’s not anywhere near as brutal as a full marathon so most runners of any calibre can finish one if they pace themselves accordingly. This isn’t in anyway meant to demean the integrity of a half marathon. It’s still a great challenge, especially when you push a good time and beat your personal best record.
Interval Training for a Half Marathon
There are plenty of different types and styles of interval training, but they all do a similar thing to your body. They push you to the limit – beyond your normal running pace and recovery zone. Then they give you a breather until you are rested enough to blitz your body again.
Some interval sessions or HIIT (high intensity interval training) as the sexy acronym that it goes by these days only differ, apart from the times of course, is in that some are more rigid and others are more varied in their approach.
- Fartlek Interval Training for example, Fartlek – which is a Swedish form of interval training that is done more like a normal run because it is more flexible and less rigid. You either walk, jog or sprint between lamp posts or road marking or trees. Anything really that you can use as a little goal post. If you are running in a barren area then you can simply use your heart rate to run by. When you are absolutely shot then it’s time to stop. You know when you’ve put a decent shift of strenuous sprinting in. Usually one or two minutes is ideal. Maybe even longer if you were doing track work and using the 400 m athletic course as a marker/timer.
- Tempo or Threshold Run is a fast-paced 5K run that is intended to test your stamina and speed. It’s also a good barometer that enables you to keep tabs on your fitness level. You should be aiming to hit your tempo runs at a race pace.
- Hard/Easy Run is just like it says on the tin. You do your normal warm up procedure then run hard for between 1 and 3 minutes, depending on your current fitness level. Don’t go berserk if you are starting out running or have had an extended break. High intensity exercising is more likely to give you an injury if your body isn’t ready for the hard graft. Rest for a couple of minutes by jogging slowly then go at it hard again. Alter the duration of your running and resting periods to suit.
- Negative Split Run by running at a decent pace, maybe just a bit slower than you would in a tempo run, but over a longer distance of say between 6 and 8 miles. Over the last mile hit the gas hard and really go for it. The idea is to make you a stronger finisher and able to handle the extra speed when your body is getting tired.
- Mile Repeats the aim is to run 4-6 miles faster than your goal half-marathon race pace. By breaking your runs up into segments, you should naturally be able to run quicker. However, don’t take too much rest, but run hard and try to knock anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute from your half marathon race pace. As you get quicker, aim to remove more time from your mile repeats. Alternatively, you may wish to use the same pace, but instead of running 4 miles, run 5 or 6, presuming that on your first attempt you didn’t do the full 6 miles. If you are running further or quicker you are improving.
- Broken Miles it’s best if you can do this on a track, but aim for three or four sets of 1200m + 400m. You should be running the 1200 metres at your 10K pace and your 400 metres at your 5K or tempo pace. The science behind broken miles is that you should be able to run the full mile or 1600 metres slightly quicker than if you did it all in one go. Yes, you will be having a break, but it is designed to trick your body – like all interval sessions – into thinking that you did it all in one go, which is what you try and do when the chips are down in the racing environment.
Half Marathon Pace Chart and Training Strategy
Well I hope that you’ve learned a few things that will help you on your running travels. Intervals, pace charts and your general running knowledge will be enough to get you through the 13.1 miles of trail or tarmac. Training strategically is important, especially these days when you are competing with people who are supremely prepared. Knowledge is much easier to accumulate now we live in the Internet era. Although I love magazines, I can’t imagine going back to reading books. What’s the point when you can google almost anything?
Should you need any specific advice or a question that has been bugging you then please feel free to contact us through our email address. There’s a contact form in the footer.
Five More Runner’s Reads
- 21 Inspirational Running Quotes to Turbo Charge Your Motivation
- Running in the Heat – Sun Safety
- How to Breathe While Running – Nose or Mouth?
- 30-Day Running Challenge for Beginners
- Couch to 5K Runner Smartphone App
Have You Used Pace Charts Before?
Not everyone uses them, purely because some people like to rely on their gut instinct or a flick of the wrist and a peek at their watch, but pace charts are essential if you want to get the best out of their running. Let’s look at the simple fact, they were invented for a reason.
You could argue that they complicate things, but I’m all in with anything that gives us a technological edge and if we’re honest they aren’t exactly rocket science. They’re only a chart with a few numbers on for our benefit.
Let us know how you feel about them and if you’ll be using a half marathon pace chart in your training regime.
Until next time – stay safe and happy running.