Because the New Year is here and so many of you are likely beginning your race training this week — probably many for the first time — you’re probably also trying to figure out the best training plan that fits into your life.
It’s no easy task. Some plans are ideal for people without children or those with careers that don’t demand super-long hours; that’s how my life was when I was in my twenties, when I had all the time in the world to devote to running.
That’s why we decided this week to put together this list of some of the best free half marathon training plans that are out there. (You can even check out our comparison of several of these plans here.)
1) Our 12-Week Training Plan for Beginners
Based on a training plan for a full marathon I ran years ago, this plan is our most popular and is designed to gradually increase your mileage for long runs by one mile every week — to let your body and mind adjust to running 13.1 miles in tandem.
2) 16-Week Training Plan, for More Experienced Runners
This plan is designed for people whose schedules don’t allow for running five days a week — a variation on our 12-week plan, with an additional day off during the week.
3) 20-Week Training Plan, for Beginners or Experienced Runners
For some runners, the prospect of preparing to run a half marathon in three months is a bit daunting, so we’ve prepared this plan to offer a more gradual buildup to race day. It starts with four days of running each week, later transitioning to five days.
4) Hal Higdon’s Training Plans
This legendary runner and author of more than 36 books is famous for his half marathon training plans for novices and advanced runners, and even offers a separate plan for walkers.
5) Jeff Galloway’s Training Plans
Designed by Atlanta’s own Jeff Galloway, who competed in the Olympics and started his own chain of running stores, these plans are perhaps most famous for Galloway’s “Run-Walk-Run” method.
6) Boston Athletic Association’s Training Plan
This plan is designed specifically to get you ready for Beantown’s annual B.A.A. Half Marathon in October, and was put together by the same group that organizes the legendary Boston Marathon each year.
7) Jenny Hadfield’s Training Plans for Walkers & Runners
Also known as “Coach Jenny,” this popular Runner’s World columnist offers 6 plans for everyone from walkers to walk-runners to experienced runners.
8) Nike’s 14-Week Training Plan
This plan is intended for runners that take part in the Nike Women’s Series races, especially the (now defunct) Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco. Note that the link below is to a PDF on Nike’s website, so you’ll need to download it to your desktop or phone.