The Half Marathon is one of our favorite race distances. It’s long enough to be a test of endurance, but the training schedule is nowhere near as demanding as a full marathon. Once you build strong base fitness, you can run a half marathon on Friday, recover over the weekend – then go again. While the ‘Half’ is a necessary milestone on the way to running a full marathon, it’s a rewarding event in itself.
13.1 miles: It isn’t half of anything.
13.1 miles (or 21.09 km) is the perfect race distance for new runners looking to develop both speed and endurance in tandem.
Our first-timer half marathon training guide walks you through the recommended preparation, running schedule and what to expect on Race Day.
Half Marathon Pace Charts
Training for a half marathon and want to finish in a specific time? Our HM pace charts below show you the exact pace required to achieve your time. Don’t forget you can use our pace calculator to see a breakdown of the splits required to smash your goal!
Half Marathon Mile Pace Chart
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Half Marathon KM Pace Chart
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How does your pace compare to the fastest half-marathon runners in the world?
Take at the current fastest half marathon times:
Men’s Fastest Half Marathon
Eliud Kipchoge is the current world-record holder. The Kenyan set a dazzling time of 57:31 at the Lisbon Half Marathon in 2021.
If you want to match Kipchoge, you’ll have to sustain a frightening pace of 4:23 per mile, or 2:44 per KM.
Women’s Fastest Half Marathon
Letesenbet Gidey, of Ethiopia, is the current world-record holder for women. She set a time of 1:02:52 at the Valencia Half Marathon in 2021.
Her time breaks down to 4:47 per mile, or 2:58 per KM.
Average Half Marathon Times
Only a handful of elite athletes will ever get close to these records. So what is a respectable half marathon time to aim for?
The average half marathon time for men is 1:55:26 and the average marathon time for women is 2:11:57. Keep this in mind when setting your race targets!
Half Marathon Tips & FAQs
The Half Marathon is one of the most accessible races for first-time distance runners. It’s short enough to not require months of training, but long enough to provide an exhilarating test of your grit and cardio fitness. Check out our best half-marathon tips, training guides, and commonly asked questions:
“The half marathon gives you almost all of the satisfaction and achievement of the marathon and far less than half of the aches and pain and fatigue.— Jeff Galloway, Olympian and Running Coach
Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide is among the bestselling running books of all time for many reasons, but above all others is this one: It works. With Higdon's comprehensive approach and tried-and-tested methods, any runner will learn how to optimize their training and achieve their marathon goals.
Running a Half Marathon: The Facts and Figures
Master The Basics To Running A Fast Half Marathon
Ready to slay your first half marathon? It’s possible to complete a HM with a fairly moderate training schedule and a good cardio base. But if you want to run a truly fast HM, you’ll need to cover the basics well. Get in good shape, eat well, and protect yourself from injury. Our resources below can help:
GET IN SHAPE TO RUN LONGER
If you want to push your HM time below 2 hours, you’ll need to raise your base fitness levels.
Nutrition for runners
Eating the right food in the weeks leading up to a HM (and on the day) will shave minutes off your time.
injury AND Recovery
Learning injury prevention techniques, and the art of recovery, will set you on the path to an impressive HM.