How fast can I get with two years of training?

Hi everyone,

I have been running for a little while now, just increasing my mileage now to cope with 10k races etc, and to prepare for the Great South Run.

But there's a half marathon in two years' time that I would like to get into, but I need to reach a qualification time, which I'm guessing will be about 1.40 ish.

I am overweight by about 10kg at the moment but I was thinking, if I go on a serious diet and start building up the mileage, could I acheive that?

Any hints and tips would be great!


  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Which half marathon are you thinking of?

    What's your 10k time?
  • I would think sub 1.40 is achievable for any average runner with two years to train.

    I've been running (this time) for two years and can do sub 1.40; and I'm average (and middle-aged).

  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭

    Are you a bloke though, Easy Does It? That would help.

  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭

    what hm is it? I have never seen one with a qualifying time before? Normally commercial reality dictates and the average joe I would guess is around 2hrs. Limititing your field to those with a pre attained time of 1hr 40 means about only 10-20% of a normal field can take part.

    Obviously before that race you have to pencil in  other halfs to attain the qualifying time and to maximise your HM time takes a few attempts to learn and trust your pace.

  • literatin wrote (see)

    Are you a bloke though, Easy Does It? That would help.

    Yeh, sorry, I am.  I'll shut it.  Apologies.

  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭

    Easy does it, that is indeed a very generalised first line you write.

    You don't seem to give any consideration to age, gender, injury limiting factors, how much they'd need to train in those 2 years or anything.

    It's like me saying I did a 1hr 34 half  as my 2nd half so anyone should be able to do that.

    Not quite that easy.

  • Give us some info on current training and race times and we can advise. But I'm intrigued by the event; I've don't know of any HM races with a qualification time.
  • loulabellloulabell ✭✭✭

    tbh, the OPs question is one of those 'how long is a piece of string ' questions...  doesn't matter how many books you read, how much weight you lose , what colour trainers you wear, the end result is dependant on the runners mindset, desire to train , physical ability.

  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭
    Stevie G . wrote (see)

     how much they'd need to train in those 2 years or anything.

    It's like me saying I did a 1hr 34 half  as my 2nd half so anyone should be able to do that.

    Not quite that easy.

    Yeah, Stevie had to train really hard for years to get that. image

    In response to the OP, though, it's hard to say if it possible or not though losing the 10kg will probably help. Plenty of people could do it in two years, but plenty of others might train consistently and still not manage sub 1:40 but will nonetheless achieve some pretty decent improvements along the way. If you're doing other races as well, presumably you're enjoying it, so there's no harm having an ambitious long-term goal but, like DT19 says, have some intermim goals along the way (and perhaps some shorter races).

  • It's one for the natwest island games. I live on the Isle of Wight and every two years we take part in this Olympics-style competition for small islands. We just got back from bermuda actually (I was the IW media representative.) I'm gonna need to be fast to win a place with existing runner already probably eligible for a spot. 

    Having been around the team I just badly want to be a part of it. I guess I'm just going to have to give it my best shot. And if i don't make it at least ill be super fit!!

  • Oh and by the way I can do 5k in 27 and in my first 10k race (very hill) 58. Not brilliant times sadly. 

    desperate to improve however and relishing the prospect of dedicating myself to something. Really need an aim - this is a big one but I'm thinking why not shoot for the stars? 

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    What does a normal weeks training look like at the moment?
  • Clare - Small Island Olympics and you can get into the 'Half Marathon' event (not normally considered a proper distance for major events) by running sub 1hr 40? Even as a member of the more attractive but slightly slower sex that is not a stunning time - I presume if you were at Bermuda last time then these are held all over the world?

    Are expenses paid?

    What is the qualifying time for a man for the HM?

    How long do you have to live on the Isle of Wight to qualify? For example Literatin already has a HM PB of 1:28:26 - if she moved to the Isle of Wight for a couple of years would she be eligible for an all expenses paid trip to somewhere glamorous?

  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭

    Skinny, couldn't I just move somewhere glamorous for a couple of years and qualify that way?

    Edit: no offense to the Isle of Wight.

  • Hmmm - I've just Wiki'd the small island games - somewhere glamorous like the Faroe Islands for example!image

    Exciting ambition though Clare - go for it - like you say the worst thing that can happen is you get a lot fitter.

  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭

    That sounds great Clare. I am intrigued to know more about these games. Who else enters? is it taken seriously? I have heard of these small island football world cups where the countries such as Jersey, gibralter etc (all of whom cannot get fifa affiliation) do their own thing.

    You need to answers millsys question before anyone can really help and the considerations made by stevie g.

    Just looked up the country list. Cayman islands look appealing, isle of man does not! I am surprised to see see Iceland in there, hardly a small island in terms of geography or population compared with the others!

  • Sounds Great, go for it. 1:40 is a reasonable time for a woman, but acheivable with consistent smart training. Certainly more acheivable than all the other 'what do I need to do to qualify for the next Olympics? ' threads.
  • The Island Games are an awesome event, and if you search results most winning times are in the 1.22 mark. Which is silly talk! 

    My training is anything between 12-18 miles a week which I know isn't anywhere near enough, but before these games I didn't have this aim.

    ill give it a good go at any rate image

  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭

    Good luck Clare! Also, the Isle of Wight seems to have fielded slower women runners than 1:40 before, so perhaps it won't be as hard to qualify as you think, especially as it's a team event. image

  • Thanks literatin! i might as well shoot for thE stars! 

  • If you are from the IOW, the Gosport Half-Marathon is nearby which is held in November . Its a good race as it is a flat course the whole way through. Would recommend it as a build-up event!

  • ooh that sounds good as I am doing GSR in October, will be a nice step up! Thanks for the tip!

  • I was just going to suggest Gosport, it's flat and known to be fast. You've already mentioned that the 10km was hilly, running a flat event in 4 months time at the distance you are interested in will give you a better idea of just what is achievable in another year's time.


  • If you're on the IOW I was going to suggest next year Ryde 10 (Feb) and IOW Half Marathon (Aug) - both are hilly and will make the GSR and Gosport seem easy image

  • McFloozeMcFlooze ✭✭✭

    I think you'll find that my increasing your distances a fair bit and building up to 30-40 miles per week and losing some of that weight your times will drop quite nicely.  I'm also targeting 1.40 for my next half and came back from having a baby about 15 months ago (having done no running during the pregnancy and for about 8 months afterwards, and getting FAT).  So with two years to play with it could be nicely achievable but work on getting your 5k and 10k times down which will give you an idea of whether you are making good progress towards your goal.  Going up to about 25 miles a week I was knocking a minute off Parkrun times every month (for a while!).  Am up to 40mpw now and improvements have slowed but I still knocked a min off my 10k time in about a month recently (down to 45.12 on a seriously hot day).  

    You need to be looking towards around a sub-45 10k and a sub-22 5k to make it achievable but don't worry if that sounds intimidating now.  Just keep plugging away and those times will drop.  It sounds like a really fun event to be a part of and gives you a great longer term goal!  

  • Its a good time to aim for but I doubt you'd hit it unless you lose the weight.

    That extra weight is probably costing almost 5 minutes just there.

    Sub 1.40 would put you top 10 women in the last half I did.

    It's definitely achievable - but you're really gonna have to train hard and really want it.
  • Oh don't worry I do want it, badly! The weight will take time to come off but it will do, in the end as I increase the miles - they go hand in hand I think.



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