How To Dominate Sub 2 Hour Half Marathon Training

sub 2 hour half marathonHalf marathon training consists of much more then running a few miles during the military work week.

You have to truly want it if you are to make waves in your fitness levels.

The military is comprised of some of the brightest minds and fittest individuals in the world.

We aren’t lacking in the initiative department.


We all want success but successful running takes more then wanting.

There are no short cuts in this sport and I know far too many service members are self-​​sabotaging themselves into believing they don’t have what it to takes to run their specific 2-​​mile goal time or 5K to marathon performance goals.

I am here to tell you, you do have what it takes but you had better be willing to make the sacrifice to better your life and your fitness to earn a breakthrough.

It doesn’t come any other way.

It is no wonder that all it usually takes for people to create breakthroughs in their life is simply for someone to believe in them.

I have had people in my life, both civilian and military, who have stuck their neck out to ensure I was given a chance.

They know who they are and for that reason I am forever indebted.

If you are not waking up giving your utmost to achieve your breakthrough you are sacrificing you gift and the support they have given you.

I have recently written a step by step guide for runners, military and civilian alike, who are seeking a rock-​​solid half marathon training guide.

It is called the Sub 2 Hour Half Marathon Manifesto.

I want to see runners, military and civilian, achieve goals they thought were reserved for others. Those with talent and more ability.

You had better get out of that realm of thinking or you will never reach the success level you deserve.

You only have on shot in this life. You might as well dream big. It has to start in the mind before it will ever become a reality in your life.

I like thinking of the impossible.

It makes life worth living and I wrote the sub 2 hour half marathon manifesto to help runners around the world to get the most out of their athletic ability and interact with other runners from around the world who have achieving a great race as their goal.

I have written on improving your two mile run time here on the Daily PT but my true love is talking with Soldiers and other service members about long distance running.

What I didn’t want to create was simply a 12-​​week customized half marathon training plan without any motivational contact or interaction with my readers.

The manifesto is far more then simply a half marathon training plan. It is razor sharp insight on what it takes to run faster at distances from the 2-​​mile all the way up to the marathon and why so many runners fail at maintaining pace.

It is written for half marathoners, but the fundamentals taught within it, can help runners at all distances.

It has enough motivation to fill an NFL football stadium.

A vital component to running success is understanding what you are doing and why. The manifesto discusses both in getting you to run a faster race.

What runners in the armed forces need is more motivation and I am not talking about the motivation to train. We have that.

It is having something to read that they can go back to anytime during the week to remind themselves that they have what it takes to succeed, having daily reminders when they are not working out can go a long way in the success of the service member.

The great Zig Ziglar said it best, Of course motivation is not permanent. But then, neither is bathing, but it is something you should do on a daily basis.

What The Sub Two Half Marathon Manifesto contains and goes over

  • Race Pace Training — The most common reason for men and women in uniform missing their goal run times on the APFT is that they have not spend sufficient time at the pace they are wanting to race at. What do I mean?

Let’s say you have a goal time of 15.00 for the 2-​​mile run. You have to realize the importance of training at 7.30 mile pace.

I would also add that it is vital you train at paces far exceeded 7.30 per mile pace if racing at 7.30 mile pace is going to feel more controlled.

Easy 2–3 mile runs a couple times during the work week is not going to cut it and neither is doing short sprints that last 50 meters.

You have to gradually extend, over time, the amount of time you are spending at race pace and you have to be just as serious in your recovery runs or you get less bang for your buck.

You can’t push everyday and expect a deposit on your investment. You have to balance hard and easy days so take it seriously.

You have to focus on tightening in on the energy systems of the body.

You must create a lactic acid buffer system that only faster running can create. Easy runs at 9.00 mile pace is not going to get you to running two, 7.30 miles in an APFT test and earn you a 15.00 2-​​mile time.

The same goes for the half-​​marathon.

You have to train at the paces you want to hold and often times runners miss the mark because they have not spent enough time at or below the paces they are seeking.

It isn’t a lack of talent or motivation. It simply takes a few minor adjustments in training and results will come.

That being said, don’t expect it to be an easy ride because it won’t be. Running faster times means you have to train aneorobically (without oxygen).

Running fast assists in recruiting more fast twitch muscle fibers.

The more muscle fibers you are able to use the faster and less fatigued you will become when you race.

End of story.

Pace kills in a race situation and there is a big difference between running to burn fat and gain general fitness and training at speeds to burn fat relative to the paces you want to race at.

The trick to running fast and maintain goal race pace is understanding the importance of lactic acid and when you can clear it faster then it is building up, then you will cut time and drastically.

It is more then just putting one foot in front of the other.

There must be a strong foundation of mileage built as well. Service members are already highly motivated to train. This surely isn’t the problem and I have been around the block long enough to know it isn’t specifically a lack of talent.

half marathon training

I am a firm believer that talent that doesn’t work will always lose to the heart and drive of someone who does.

You must train at specific paces to hit specific goal half marathon times.

The principle applies from the 2 mile to the marathon distance.

I knew when I was still a 2.43 marathoner that to run my goal (then) of 2.22.00 I needed to run 5.25 per mile pace for 26.2 consecutive miles.

My best marathon prior to breaking that time standard was still 6.14 per mile pace.

What needed to be done?

A change in the paces at which I trained.

It is that simple.

It wasn’t a situation where I sat back and thought, ‘well, that is just out of my league..the best pace I have run is 6.14, I don’t have the capability to hold 5.25 per mile pace’.

I can honestly say that I never doubted I could run under 5.25 per mile pace but changes needed to be made.

The same holds true for you.

Successful half marathon training means you are focused on your goal pace and are training specifically to hit that pace for the duration of your competition. There are no short cuts.

It takes a simple approach and razor sharp focus to run a great half marathon time anyone, regardless of ability level, can leverage their half marathon training by using the fundamentals written in the sub 2 hour half marathon manifesto.

My overall intent in this manifesto is to get runners who have as their goal of running a faster half marathon,  to get the most out of their God-​​given abilities not only for runners seeking to break 2 hours, but runners of all abilities.

  • Nutritional tips — You will learn a few gold nuggets I have been taught by some of the world’s top distance running coaches that will help you overcome fatigue and speed recovery in running a half marathon time of under 2 hours.
  • Heart rate training — you’ll learn why it is vital for success in your half marathon training. Few runners understand the importance of heart rate training. It isn’t for everyone and I certainly know runners can succeed without wearing a heart rate monitor.

sub 2 hour half marathon manifestoThat being said I also know some of the best runners in the world use them religiously and I go over some reasons for that.

You can use the advice to tweak the way you train. I think you’ll quickly realize that some of the things that are discussed you may have never considered while doing regular Army PT and will help you cut drastic amounts of time off your performances.

  • Failure — I cover a great deal of the content on the importance of seeing failures, not as disappointments, but launching pads to propel you forward to breakthrough performances.

The great running coach, Joe Newton, spoke about the multiple world record holder, Sebastion Coe in a great video.

He, at one time, held 12 world-​​records, two Olympic golds as well as two Olympic silver medals.

The video below depicts some of my talking points which will give you a glimpse of my own mindset of what I believe can help military members surpass their fitness levels and achieve running success.

Failure should never be accepted, but it should be respected. It can teach you where you went wrong and what steps you need to take in order to maintain your race pace for the entire duration of your competitions.

It could be the two-​​mile run or the marathon distance.

It doesn’t matter.

What matters is you take value in being able to adjust course and take action in your future racing. We can’t look back and change any performance from our past. The important concept is knowing we are in control of training properly now, to get the most out of our abilities.

  • Elite coaches and athletes — what they have taught me in over 21 years of competing on a national and international level and I will be sharing with you ideas and training methods I never considered in over 20 years of competing. The advice alone far surpasses the price of the manifesto.

I discuss three coaches I have worked with extensively.

Jack Hazen, 2012 London Olympics head distance running coach who was also my collegiate coach while attending Malone University.

I also cover training tips I have learned from Lisa Rainsberger, the last American female to win the Boston Marathon, my professional coach from 2007–2010 while competing for the Army World Class Athlete Program and a statement made my world renowned exercise physiologist and elite running coach, Dr. Joe Vigil, that changed my life.

  • Specific workouts that will help you earn the coveted sub 2 hour half marathon time. There are necessary changes in your half marathon training schedule that can help you cut dramatic amounts of time off your old personal best.
  • A 12-​​week half marathon training plan specifically geared toward getting half marathoners who are in the 2 hour plus time under the barrier and effectively.

You will learn some of the methods the top runners in the world use and why they use them and much, much more...

In closing, I love what I do. I love working with Soldiers helping them achieve their fitness goals.

There isn’t really a job in the service, unless you are training full time as a Soldier-​​athlete in the Army World Class Athlete Program, where you can train full-​​time and devote all your energy to running.

I have had that very rare opportunity but that being said, you can compete at a much higher level where you are at. I just read about one of my heroes. He is a Japanese man that works full-​​time as a school administrator in Tokyo. His name is Yuki Kawauchi.

He just ran a marathon time of 2.08.15 marathon time at the 2013 Beppa-​​Ouitta Marathon and he chooses to work full-​​time.

He could easily join the professional ranks but he finds importance in balance, values having the responsibility of holding down full-​​time job and training 100+ mile weeks.

I wanted to leave you with a video you can watch when the early morning training is weighing on you or if you start to question if your long-​​term goals can be reached. I often read book and watch videos of motivational content simply to remind me that I am on the road to greatness and always remember, you are as well.

I hope you enjoy it. If you are seeking a change in your 5K to marathon racing. I hope you’ll consider the sub 2 hour half marathon manifesto. Grab your copy today.



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Nathan Pennington

CPT Nate Pennington has been running for 20 years. He was a member of the prestigious US Army World Class Athlete Program at Fort Carson, Colorado from 2007-2010 specializing in the Marathon. He earned a 2008 US Olympic Trials standard taking 4th overall and top American at the 2007 California International Marathon in 2.19.35.

A 11-year active duty Medical Service Corps Officer, Nate brings his passion for coaching, fitness and personal development to his blog at to assist military members and his civilian counterparts to achieve their personal fitness goals.