Training for your first 5k, half marathon, full marathon or otherwise? Every runner has his or her own pace, weekly mileage, that eventually develops over time and trial and error (especially if you are me). For those of you who are relatively new to running or are an on and off again casual runner looking for a more structured plan for an upcoming race… here are some good (free) online training tools to help get you started.
Couch to 5K – Also known as the C25K, this is a very popular ease into your first 5k race 9 week training plan.
10K Novice Training – Hal Higdon is a very well known coach and author of Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide. His site also offers free 10K training schedules (8 weeks long) for “Intermediate” level runners as well as “Advanced” and “Walker”. Pick and choose what works best for you! In addition to the 10K plans there is also a section of various marathon training schedules here.
Runner’s World Smart Coach – A free online and highly costumizable training plan (you have to be a member of the Runner’s World site which only requires an email). I’ve used several instances of Smart Coach programs to train for almost all of my half marathons. Some of the cool features of the customizations include adding a recent race time, how much you run a week (or want to run a week) and what level of intensity you would like to train at. Did I also mention they also have an iPhone app?!
Jeff Galloway’s Marathon Training Schedule – A 32 week plan for runners and walkers to finish their first time marathon. Jeff Galloway is another popular coach, author and inventor of the Galloway method of running (run-walk-run). I have run a few of my half marathons using the Galloway method and although it is up to personal preference (some runners don’t like the idea of ever walking during a race) despite taking the obligatory walk breaks I’ve seen some good finishing time results (my current half marathon PR was run-walk-run).