The half marathon is one of the most popular running distances in the world.
If you’re training for your first half marathon, or looking to improve on your half marathon time, then you may be wondering: “What is a good half marathon time?”
Look no further! In this guide we’ll break down the average half marathon times by age and gender.
We’ll also cover some essential tips for improving your half marathon time.
In this guide we’ll explore:
- How long is a half marathon?
- What is a good half marathon time?
- What is the world record half marathon time?
- What is the average half marathon time?
- How to predict your half marathon time
- Half marathon pace chart
- 5 tips to improve your half marathon time
How long is a half marathon?
A half marathon in miles is 13.1 miles and 21.0975 in kilometres.
This is exactly half the distance of a marathon which is 26.2 miles.
Related: How long is a half marathon?
What is a good half marathon time?
Your half marathon time will depend on various factors such as your age, gender, fitness levels and running experience.
Even the weather and terrain can impact how fast you run on race day.
- A good half marathon time for a man is 1:43:33. This is the average half marathon time across men of all ages.
- A good half marathon time for a woman is 2:00:12. This is the average half marathon time across women of all ages.
Related: What is a good 10k time? Average 10k times by age and gender
What is the world record half marathon time?
The world record half marathon time is 57:31 and this was set by Ugandan athlete Jacob Kiplimo in 2021 at the Lisbon Half Marathon.
The female world record half marathon time is 1:02:52 and this was set by Letesenbet Gidey in 2021 at the Valencia Half Marathon.
Gidey also holds the female world record times for the 5k and 10k distances.
Related: The ultimate beginner half marathon training plan
What is the average half marathon time?
As explained above, your average half marathon time will depend on various factors such as your age, gender, fitness levels and running experience.
You will see from the charts below that male runners are typically faster than their female counterparts.
Whilst runners continue to improve well into their 30s, you will see that running times tend to decline from the age of 40 onwards.
Here is what each ability level means:
- Beginner. Faster than 5% of runners. A beginner runner has started running and has run for at least a month.
- Novice. Faster than 20% of runners. A novice runner has run regularly for at least six months.
- Intermediate. Faster than 50% of runners. An intermediate runner has run regularly for at least two years.
- Advanced. Faster than 80% of runners. An advanced runner has run for over five years.
- Elite. Faster than 95% of runners. An elite runner has dedicated over five years to become competitive at running.
Male average half marathon times by age and ability
Female average half marathon times by age and ability
How to predict your half marathon time
There are simple ways to predict your half marathon time.
You can either use a half marathon pace chart (like the one below) or use a running pace calculator to predict your race time.
Use your performance at a recent race event to predict your half marathon time.
For example, if you run a 5k in 30 minutes, you can use that to predict how fast you will run a half marathon.
Related: How to pace your run
Half marathon pace chart
|Pace per mile||Half marathon time|
5 tips to improve your half marathon time
Now you know more about the average half marathon times by age and gender, here are 5 tips to improve your half marathon time.
#1 Follow a training plan
If you have a goal race time in mind, then you’ll want to find a training plan that is tailored towards you achieving this race time.
Depending on how fast you want to run, the training plan will include a range of different runs and workouts to add variety in your plan.
Variety is key when it comes to running faster and longer.
A well-rounded half marathon training plan will include the following each week:
- 1 long run
- 3-4 easy runs
- 1-2 speed training sessions
- 1-2 strength training sessions
- 2 rest days
#2 Speed train
Speed training like tempo running, interval training, Fartlek training and hill repeats are good forms of workouts to include in your training plan.
They are designed to help you become a stronger and faster runner, as well as improve your efficiency and increase your lactate threshold.
Aim to include at least two speed training sessions in your training plan each week to really reap the benefits.
#3 Mentally prepare
Half marathon training can be grueling but with the right motivation and mindset you will be able to achieve whatever you put your mind to.
There will be inevitable rough patches and off-days during your training, but don’t let these consume you.
Use techniques like positive affirmation and visualisation to help you get you through those tough moments.
#4 Strength train
Strength training is recommended for any runner looking to improve their running performance and efficiency.
Many runners neglect strength training and focus solely on running, when in fact it’s important to incorporate activities like strength training and cross training into your training routine in order to stay injury free for longer.
In fact, various studies have shown that when performed consistently, strength training (also known as resistance training) can benefit your running form and economy and helps reduce the risk of injury.
#5 Rest, refuel and recover
The rest days in your training plan are there for a reason – to allow your body to recover and repair itself in between runs, especially after hard efforts.
Don’t be tempted to skip your run days or run through them as you will risk training overload and injury.
A proper recovery strategy will also include activities like stretching, foam rolling as well as getting enough sleep, eating the right foods and staying hydrated.