Running A Half Marathon Without Training – UPDATED 2020 – Average Half Time
Maybe you have been out parting with some friends, or lost a bet with work colleagues and signed up for a half-marathon unexpectedly. Now running a half-marathon seems like a daunting task. But not to worry, hundreds of people each year tackle the 21.1 km distance with little to no training, so you are not the only one.
Before we get into this article, I can’t stress enough that running a half-marathon without training is risky. First, you should ask yourself, should you be doing this?
Running A Half Marathon Without Training
There are a couple of important factors that you must understand before entering any running race without training.
First, make sure you don’t have any underlying medical conditions. It is quite important if your not a seasoned runner, to have a quick check-up to make sure you are healthy enough to exercise.
Once you have gotten the all-clear from your doctor, now is the time to see how your current state of fitness is. Test yourself by walking a mile to see if you can finish in less than 18 minutes. If you find that walking a mile is hard, or your breathing pattern changes, stop right now. Running a half-marathon is probably not for you and you might be better off focusing on a 5 km walk/run and then build-up to the 21.1 km distance.
If you have some background in another sport such as rowing or football, you might be one of the lucky ones. Your underlying fitness from those sports will most probably carry you through the distance. While it might not be the most comfortable experience, you might just have enough base level of fitness to allow you to walk and run the half-marathon.
Can You Walk a Half Marathon Without Training
For most people, it is possible to walk a half-marathon without training. While not highly recommended, most people are used to spend at least a few kilometers a day on their feet.
So in theory you are already accustomed to walking around 14 km per week. So if you are looking to walk the 21.1 km distance in the future, try adding an extra few kilometers to your daily routine. You can do this by parking your car further away from work, taking a small evening walk, and/or focusing on a dedicated walk each week. Then each week try to increase the distance up to the event.
For most people walking a half-marathon is much easier than running one the first time. So for complete beginners that have never run a day in their life, enjoy the distance first by walking it or mixing running and walking together. It will then be a much more enjoyable and safer experience after all.
Running A Half Marathon For The First Time
To be physically prepared for running a half-marathon for the first time, you should be able to complete runs totaling 11 miles (17.7 km) or more. While this is a safe recommendation, as long as you can run and walk for 10 miles (16.09 km), you should comfortably be finish a half-marathon for the first time.
Your training should be running at an easy conversation pace. This means you should be able to have a conversation without breathing too heavily.
Increasing your weekly mileage is obviously a deciding factor on your fitness heading into the event. But remember consistency is the key here and doing too much too soon can lead to injury and burnout. So don’t focus on weekly mileage but rather slowly increasing your longest run of the week.
If you are someone that struggles with injuries or motivation, adding some cross-training into the plan can help keep you injury-free and provide some time away from logging miles on the pavement. It will also help your muscles prepare for the longer runs without the stress of impact from road running.
Average Half Marathon Time
If you have read through this article and decided to give the half-marathon a go, you might be wondering what is the average half-marathon time is.
In the UK the average half-marathon time is 1 hour 55 minutes for males, while the females average 2hours 11 minutes.
You may be thinking this is quite fast, but countries such as Russia (1 hour 45 minutes and 11 seconds) and Belgium (1 hour 48 minutes and 1 second) are already much faster across the distance.
So if you are completing your first event, these times may give you some added motivation to not start running a half-marathon without training.