How To Run A Sub-2 Hour Half Strong and Injury-Free Without Trying To Plan It All Yourself

Running a half marathon is a significant milestone in itself. The first time I ran my first half marathon, my goal was to finish without stopping to walk!

Yours too?

While training for a half marathon, developing a substantial base number of miles leading into the half-marathon build-up phase is essential. If you can run 6 miles run/walking, and you aspire to run a sub-2 hour half marathon, this article is for YOU!

The Basics

It’s essential to have a foundation to build on systematically by applying progressive overload as you inch closer to race day. Many of us runners typically enjoy running in races for many reasons. Several of these reasons include: seeing what we’re capable of, chasing new PRs, breaking specific time barriers, and simply running for the joy of sport!

After the 10K (6.2 Miles), any distance calls for more discipline, consistency, and customized training. Doing this becomes more critical during training when you layer on a time goal for a long-distance race, such as a sub-2 hour half marathon!

The Stats

To achieve a sub-2 hour half marathon goal, you need to hold a 9 minute and 9-second pace per mile (5 minutes and 41 seconds per kilometer).

How To Execute

I recommend that leaving a buffer is a great way to set yourself up for success. Programming intervals and tempo runs at a slightly faster pace than you need to run on race day can make your goal happen. Even if you think you can’t go for it, you won’t know unless you try! Besides, like anything else in life, good things take time.

Setting a date halfway through your training could be an excellent option to keep you motivated to keep training towards the sub-2 hour HM goal. Doing this will also help you keep progressing in a way that works for you without losing motivation or feeling defeated! Changing your perspective while working with a group or a coach can make or break your races. I know it did for me, at least!

Furthermore, it’s essential to keep training varied and fun. This looks different for anyone. Including tune-up races, fun challenges, and/or an accountability system to keep you motivated by your own results as you progress with your training can be your game-changer!

7 Training Staples For a 6-Month Sub-2 Hour Half Marathon Program

1) Include three 10-15 mile long runs in your 6-month training program.

It’s important to not place an emphasis on your pace, but rather focus on the total time spent on your feet. These should be done on consecutive weeks (1x/week) and before the 1-2 week race taper.

Going for a time goal is different than finishing. A 10K time trial is excellent to include in a training program halfway through the 6 month process to see where you’re at and break down what you need to do next!

2) Include a 10K tune-up race or a time trial.

Doing this in your 6-month program is an excellent way to see your progress and pivot where you might need it. Sometimes, even two of them might work best for you! Tune-up races and time trials help keep the training process challenging but fun and rewarding too!

3) Include a tempo run of 6-7 miles at a pace slightly faster than your threshold pace. Depending on your fitness level, this would be roughly 20-30 seconds faster than your half marathon race pace for this tempo workout.

Example workout: 15 mins easy, 2-3 15-20 second strides, 6.2 miles at slightly faster than your threshold pace (15-25 seconds faster than your half marathon time).

4) Include speedwork by way of strides at the end of easy runs or as a standalone workout!

Example workout: 15 min warm-up, 10-20 15 second strides to get used to developing speed, endurance, and keeping your running form from getting jeopardized when tired from the long runs.


Include one long run a week, surrounded by an active recovery day before or afterward. Easy runs with strides 2-3x/week (schedule permitting) and a tempo run once a week when the time comes during the 6-month cycle to do the entire 6.2-mile time trial or tune-up race.

Typically, this is around the 3-month mark for most athletes into the training program.

However, please don’t copy this and apply it to you without thinking about it. Everyone’s different and adapts to training in other ways! Friendly reminder.

5) Hold weekly check-ins with your coach or accountability group on a Zoom call, in person, or via email. Doing this will allow you to address weekly setbacks and wins to keep the training flexible, adaptable based on your athletic needs.

Whether you discuss pacing strategies or use the time to discuss life situations at hand, these calls are the time to collaborate. Doing this allows the coach to work with the athlete and figure out structured training in a fun, motivating, and progressive way, not daunting or harmful for them! The same holds true for accountability partners!

Speaking of getting creative, this nicely leads into my next training staple for a sub-2 hour half marathon: 1-2 cross-training days. YES, WAY!

6) Include cross-training workouts 1-2x/week.

Cross-training is excellent for helping to reduce injuries with the extra volume that half marathon training brings. Cross-training workouts improve your endurance, and stamina.

I emphasize a lot of core in these cross-training workouts too! Try this workout for yourself after an easy run day or on an active recovery day:

Furthermore, according to science-backed research found in this article here, resistance training can benefit distance runners. Lactate threshold has improved in untrained individuals by incorporating resistance training workouts into their overall programming.

To keep bragging about the benefits of cross-training in these mediums, trained distance runners have also shown improvements up to 8% in the running economy following a resistance training session. These minor improvements lead to BIG results, especially for the longer distance like a half-marathon!

Improved neuromuscular fitness, improved motor unit recruitment, and reduced ground contact time ARE ALL variables that will improve your running technique. Improving your neuromuscular fitness through training is applicable for an aspiring sub-2 hour half marathon runner or any runner chasing a new PR and trying to do so injury-free!

7) Include at least one weekly active recovery day ALWAYS!

Active recovery, man. YES! One rest day must be in your weekly program. Doing this will help your body repair quicker with proper recovery techniques from the wear and tear from the intensity and extra running volume from training. Including an active rest day once a week will help your body bounce back, adapt, and allow you to hit the ground running continuously.

Foam roll before and after your runs. The wonders foam rolling can do. Learn more here!

The key to successfully executing this strategy is….by doing it!

The #1 Most Commonly Asked Question For Half-Marathons Addressed

Do I need to do a 5K or a 10K beforehand?

Not necessarily for a race, but it could help!

The smaller tune-up races can benefit you when done during your training. These are an excellent way to gauge your current fitness and see where you’re at while working towards your sub-2 hour half marathon goal!

3 Key Takeaways

  1. Include the staples mentioned above.
  2. Make training a part of your more extensive journey to alleviate stress and to put less pressure on yourself. Training should ALWAYS be fun!
  3. Include the proper mixture of easy running volume and intervals with proper pacing to get you to your sub-2 hour half marathon finish line solid and injury-free!

Let’s Do This!

I just laid out the foundations for you in a 6-month training program to break the sub-2 hour half marathon barrier! I hope you put it to good use, and don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly if you have any questions. You can always contact me right here!

Keep your training fun! Keep it varied, stay consistent, and create a purpose behind every running workout, every run, and even your active recovery day.

Celebrate every win. The small triumphs, the significant victories, and even the setbacks.

They’re all a part of your sub-2 half marathon journey. Even if you don’t get it the first time, every race conditions you to have a breakthrough for what’s next!

Now What?

If you have any questions on incorporating the training staples mentioned above into your training program, email me at

Disclaimer: I am not a Doctor, and this should not be considered medical advice. You should seek appropriate expertise from a Doctor for your situation. And please note, this post is directed towards runners looking to improve running form while running injury-free.

Please leave your comments, suggestions, and questions in the comments.

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