New Year, New Goals: 5 Free Training Plans to Help You Nail Your Runs in 2019

January 3, 2019

It’s that time again—it’s a brand new year! You’ve renewed your purpose, made new running goals and it’s time to hit the road (or trail!). But now that you’ve made your 2019 running goals, what happens next? Now, my friends, it’s time to create your training plans.

We know, it feels a lot like homework (it kind of is), but it’s the kind of homework that does the opposite of a 2am college paper or an impossible math problem. Instead of making you feel beaten down and hopeless, it inspires you. It gives you the next step forward. It gives you something reliable in the somewhat unpredictable adventureland that is a new year.


And the best part? You don’t have to come up with it on your own! The beauty of being part of a community of runners—whether you prefer the road, the trail, the treadmill or a combination of them all—is that you’re not alone. There are tons of running resources out there to help you get started, even if it’s not your first rodeo. Take a peek at a few free guides, find one that’s right for you and get ready to run (and walk and jog and rest and recover) like a pro.

1. For the First Time Marathoner: The New York Road Runners Guide

Never run a marathon? It’s probably best to start out on the conservative side of training plans. Check out this free daily tracker that tells you which days to run, which days to cross-train and which days to rest your body.

2. For the 10K Runner (or Any Runner): Hal Higdon’s Training Guides

No matter your level of expertise, everyone needs a plan, right? Runner and training guru Hal Higdon sure thinks so. The runner with decades of experience posts his training plans online for free, but he also offers a more personalized, daily tips and motivation for a small fee. And the best part is he separates his guides based on your experience, so no matter your level, you get the resources you need.

3. For the Nike Addict: Nike+ Run Club

We know, you drank the Koolaid and there’s no going back. Lucky for you, lover of all things Nike, you can get your training plan right where you get your favorite kicks! Download the Nike+ Run app or peruse the Nike site to find training plans based on your goals, the distance you’re running or just to improve the way you run.

4. For the “Not a Runner” Runner: A DIY Couch to 5K Plan

You know what a lot of runners say? “I was not a runner for a long time. But then something changed.” That thing could be a training guide to help you get started or to develop a routine. Try this one from Shape Magazine, or if you’ve already fallen in love with Hal Higdon’s Guides, he’s got one too.

5. For the Runner Who Wants to Go Ultra: Ultra Ladies Training Guides

Not just for ladies, these training plans are downloadable, printable and meant to help take you from your novice runs all the way through until you’re a seasoned pro. You’ll get a few tips and explanations for why you want to stick to the plan, and you’ll even be able to get personalized coaching if you need it.