How fast should I train?

Many new runners ask the question “Just how fast should I be running?”. These notes may give you a few pointers.
The question often sounds like this “I want to do an xx 10k, half marathon, marathon”. Delete as appropriate!

Many clubs and county associations produce ‘standard times’ for awards. In Leicestershire, we have the tables from the Leicestershire Running and Athletics Network to work with.

These standards can also be used to help your training plans. Here’s one way.

Working on a target of a 2 hour half marathon, go to the standards page and check through the mens’ and womens’ standards to find the one nearest to your target. Be brave, go for the one a bit faster.

Looking through the tables we can see that womens’ bronze for age group 45-49 is 1:59:16.

female marathon times

As you increase your mileage, your running technique may need a bit of work. Here’s a few ideas

The crucial thing to remember, when planning training, is that these are target RACE figures.
In a race the roads are marshalled, you don’t have to carry your own drinks and everyone (hopefully!) is going in the same direction as you. You don’t have these luxuries when training. Also, your training is about getting the miles in comfortably and being able to hold a conversation.

Based on that, then training runs could be anywhere between one to two minutes slower than the target race pace.

The figures show a 10 mile standard race time in the same category as this target half marathon is 1:29:46. Give an allowance of 90 seconds per mile adds 15 minutes to this training run. This means that a ten mile training run should be in the 1:45:00 region.

Remember to make allowances for your own attitude on the day, the terrain, conditions under foot and the weather.

This web page is based on a post I originally wrote for the Huncote Harriers website.