Free PDF Running
Training Plans

Choose from 24 plans, either 8 or 12 weeks long, in beginner, intermediate, and advanced versions!

4.9 Stars from 853 reviews

I used the free 12-week training plan for my first half marathon. I used always be injury prone and would push hard on every run I did but I learnt a completely new approach by following this plan. It allowed to me to actually enjoy the runs more. And I smashed my dream finishing time! It can be tough to follow a plan but I altered and adapted to suit my week. I would highly recommend following one.

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Including beginner, intermediate, advanced PLANS

How To Train For Running Events

The best way to train for running, is by starting off with easy, manageable workouts and building them up gradually over a period of weeks and months. Don’t do too much too soon, or you’ll soon end up injured or demotivated.

Running fitness grows steadily over time, like coffee dripping through a filter and accumulating in a jug. If you have no background of fitness or sport, it’ll take you longer to get fit enough to run 10km. Once you’ve built that fitness, it’s easier to maintain it.

Specific Training Tips For Running

Around 85% of your training should be done at an easy pace, where you can maintain a conversation. If that means you need to walk for a while during a run, that’s fine. Low intensity training boosts your fitness and is kind to your body too, meaning you’re less likely to get injured.

The other 15% of your training can be done at higher intensities. This normally involves harder efforts with frequent rests, once you’ve done a good warm up. Our online training plans include speed sessions, easier aerobic workouts and regular recovery periods, so you improve consistently throughout. 

Aim to run at least twice per week, ideally more. The duration of your runs will depend on your current fitness and the type of event you’re training for.

Your training workouts should start off relatively short and progress gradually over a period of weeks and months, so that your body gradually adapts to the loads placed upon it. Include regular recovery days and easy weeks, so that it never feels like a drag. The more you enjoy it, the longer you’ll stick with it. Consistency and gradual progression are the keys to improvement.

No matter how experienced you are, be cautious about progressing your speed and distance, to avoid injury. Soft surfaces are generally better than hard ones for reducing injury rates.

If you’re a fit beginner, you could kick off your training by running two miles each time, increasing by one mile per month. Do most of your running at chatting pace, even if it means you include some walking. It’s also good to include some harder efforts, interspersed with plenty of easy stuff. For your harder days, you should follow pre-planned workouts, so you’re more likely to complete a quality session.

There are normally two 40-minute strength and conditioning sessions per week with our running plans. These workouts can help balance your strength and flexibility, which leads to more efficient movement patterns and fewer injuries. We suggest you only do strength work in addition to at least two runs, rather than instead of them.

How Long Do I Need To Train For?

Entering a running event is a great way to kickstart your training, because it adds a sense of urgency to your preparation. The earlier you start training for your target event, the more time you can build up your fitness gradually. Fitness adaptations take weeks and months to occur, rather than days. 

If you’re a beginner who has some recent background in fitness or sport, give yourself eight to 12 weeks to get fit and ready for a 10km event. In fact, no matter what level you’re at, it’ll take eight to 12 weeks to significantly improve your fitness.

4.9 Stars from 853 reviews

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Planning Your Off-Season

You can start our Off-Season (Fitness Maintenance) plans anytime you like.

They’re designed to help you maintain a good level of fitness when you’re not specifically targeting an event, such as, during the off-season, or anytime you’re taking a break from racing.

Planning For Your Event

For the best outcome, input the date for your “A” target race and the tool will default to a plan that will fill that gap nicely. If you want, you can then adjust the plan length to start it on a different day.

Note that you can still work in other, smaller races during your plan too!

The longer plans start easier and progress more gradually. This has a bearing on the difficulty level you choose. For example, a 12-week plan starts off at a higher level than a 36-week plan because with 12 weeks left there’s not as much opportunity to build up slowly.
Short Medium Long
4-12 weeks
14-24 weeks
27+ weeks
Required fitness level
Training phases
Fitness tests
Our Standard and Masters plans are designed to get you ready for your target event, while our Off-Season plans allow you to recover from a tough season but still maintain your well-earned fitness.
Approx. age
Under 40
Over 40
Recovery weeks
Every 4 weeks
Every 3 weeks
Strength sessions
1-2 per week
2 per week
1-2 per week
Likely goal
Train for event
Train for event
Maintain fitness
This table provides a brief overview of which level might be right for you, to help you get the most out of your plan. You should also note your current fitness levels and how many times you have done this event before.
Little to none
1-3 years
3+ years
Time to train
Likely goal
To finish
At least top half
All our plans are available either for sale directly on the TrainingPeaks Store (where you can also see screenshots of sample weeks), or you can subscribe as an Unlimited Athlete to be able to swap freely between all of them, among other benefits outlined below.
$24 to $159 per plan
From $24 per mth
Flexible, structured training
TrainingPeaks training app
Coaching videos, articles & FAQs
Email coach support

During plan only

Swap freely between all 900+ plans
Help setting up your training zones
Coach fortnightly engagement check
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