How to Estimate Your Half Marathon Finishing Time
If you will be running your first half marathon, you are probably wondering how long it will take you to run out 13.1 miles. How can you estimate your finishing time? Predicting a finishing time for a long-distance race is pretty tough, since there are a lot of variables you should take into account. Among others, you need to consider your mental and physical preparation, your current fitness level, elevation on the course, altitude, and weather conditions.
Of course, estimating race times isn’t an exact science, and you can never predict it exactly, especially when it comes to the newbies. However, you can use the specific race calculators and charts in order to approximately determine a “ballpark finishing time.” These are mainly based on your recent race, no matter what distance it was.
One of the most used race predictors is Running for Fitness. You should enter the particular data in this race calculator, such as your gender, age, as well as the distance and finishing time from your recent race. Since we are talking about the half marathons, you need to select that distance. The race distances range from 200m to 200km, meaning you can utilize this predictor not only for half marathons but also for other races. As for the time, you need to enter your finish time of a race you participated in the past few weeks. This way, you will know your current fitness level. Based on different formulas, this online calculator shows a few different predictions for various distances from 200 meters to 200 kilometers. In addition, you can choose the option “other distances” and type in the exact value of a race distance.You can see the predictions based on age grading, VO2 max, Riegel, and Cameron formulas, as well as the average prediction times.
Besides the race calculators, you can also use a race chart like this one below to estimate your finishing time. If you know your most recent finishing time for a 1-mile, 5-K, or 10-K race, you will be able to predict your half-marathon and marathon finish times. Keep in mind that the race charts show the average time you might achieve under the assumption that you do the appropriate workout for that race.
Only experienced marathoners will be able to accomplish their predicted time with great accuracy. If you are going to run your first half marathon, add 5-10 minutes to the chart/calculator prediction.
What is a good finishing time for the half marathons?
If you just run your first half marathon, you surely want to compare your finish time with other runners’ times. In most cases, the finishing time ranges from slightly more than 60 minutes for elite marathoners to over 3 hours for first-timers and slower runners. What is considered a “good time” when it comes to the half marathons?
It is hard to compare finishing times for half marathons because there is a great variation among runners. This time mainly depends on gender, age, and previous running experience. The male professional runners are capable of running a half marathon in slightly less than an hour; the female experienced runners can win in about 1 hour and 10 min. Keep in mind that these are finish times for professionals, while the vast majority of runners are not able to run a half marathon close to these times. According to Annual USA’s Half Marathon Report, the average finishing times for the half marathons in the United States last year were 2:22:21 for females and 2:04:00 for males.
For runners with some previous experience, breaking 2 hours is a common goal. To achieve such a time, your running pace should be 9:09 per mile. That finish time is considered a decent time among half marathoners. More competitive marathoners aim for even shorter times such as 1:45 (about 8:00 per mile pace) or 1:30 which requires the running pace of 6:51 per mile. On the other hand, most of the first-timers aim to finish a half marathon rather than achieve a specific finish time.
What else should you consider?
When estimating the finishing time, you should take into consideration race course. It’s not the same if you run on a flat or hilly course. That will considerably affect your time. Also, you need to take into account the average altitude of the particular course. It is more difficult to run at a higher altitude.
Check out the race results listed on the official half marathon’s website for the race you are planning to run or you have done. There, you can find the wide range of typical finish times, including the times of the age groups, times of those who finished the race in the back or in the middle of the pack, and top finish times.
Keep in mind that some half marathons have the specific time limits. This means all participants have to finish the race under a given time.
If you’re going to participate a half marathon for the very first time, you should focus on completing the half marathon rather than your finishing time, which is a big achievement. Your finishing time is going to be better as you gain more race experience and train more.