90 Minute Half Marathon!

Do you want to run a 90 minute half marathon? I’m sure many of you would love to beat this magic number yet feel it is out of your reach. When I started running, I did not even know what was considered to be a good time for a half marathon. The objective for the first race was just to finish it. My first ever race, which at the same time was my first ever half marathon, proved to be a very exciting experience. I prepared it for it and executed it by the book. Click here to read about those preparations. I finished it in just under 2h15m, which was just slightly below average – far from a 90 minute half marathon. As I continued to run, I knew that the next barrier to break at this distance was 2 hours. A year later, I ran the same race in just over 1h45m. This was the difference between a runner of 4 months and a runner of 16 months. A huge improvement, yet I need to admit, the benchmark was not set too high.

Taking Off Time Minute By Minute

More than 50% of my half marathons have been run during regular runs or during longer races. I usually like to take the times set during these runs to compare my results. On a normal run, my time is around 2 hours but I have managed to set my half marathon time in under 1h40m on a few occasions – once even during a 50km race. 90 minute half marathonI knew the 90 minute half marathon time was achievable, I just did not know when this would take place. There are many different races, which are run in different conditions and on different terrains. I was rather realistic and knew that I would have to get all these factors to my advantage in order to have a shot at a good time.

What I Did Differently

I do not train in a set manner. There is not training schedule that I adhere to. 90% of the time, I simply go out and run. Sometimes longer, other times shorter distances. Majority of the time, I keep a slow, comfortable pace. Occasionally, I take advantage of a good day and run fast and long. Very rarely, I do a few intervals and sometimes a bit of hills. I have spent July and August doing high mileage, racking up nearly 350 miles. However, all of a sudden, I went into lazy mode. All of September I ran only 65 miles and only about 30 miles in the first 10 days of October prior to my race. The only bit of good news was that I managed to set a PB of 19:11 during a 5km Park Run and ran 10km under 40 minutes in a race in September. Those two results led me to believe that possibly a little rest was not so bad. In the back of my mind I really wanted a 90 minute half marathon but being realistic, I thought 1h35m was a time to aim for.

Approaching Race Day

No carb loading here. The last three to five days before race day I stay away from alcohol and sweets. I also go very low on meat and dairy. Salads, seeds and wholegrains are my favourites. Also, I did very little running during these days. On race day, I only had a shake for breakfast and a banana. Nothing more. Only water to drink. The only thing I forgot to mention was that in the last four to six weeks before the race I started doing some planks and pushups (maybe an average of 2-3 times per week).

90 minute half marathon

The Royal Parks Half Marathon

So far, the best conditions for a half marathon I have come across. It is a rather flat race with no large inclines or declines. The weather was great – temperature being just below 10C (below 50F). Very little wind and huge crowds to cheer you on! Pretty much ideal conditions. I figured that if I start the race fast, aiming to beat 40 minutes during the first 10km then I could reduce the pace and finish with a good time. That is exactly what I did and managed to nearly close 15km in 1 hour. The other interesting bit which came about during the race was that I did not have anything to drink during it. I once ran 25 km without water at a good pace and figured that unless I feel I need it, I will not drink water during the first 10km. As I passed the halfway point, I still did not need water and decided to carry on until 15km. At that stage, I was still feeling strong so I decided to see if I could last the entire race without water – which I did. Because my body was in such a good rhythm, I figured that if I introduced something new, I just might alter the balance and spoil things.

How did I do? 1h25m26s – all things came together perfectly. 3 years of regular running have proved to be very fruitful. Slowly, by learning new things and exploring new techniques, it is possible to achieve results which not long ago seemed impossible!