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So you’ve caught the running bug and now you want to do a race. Yes girl! There’s nothing like setting yourself a new challenge that’ll pay off in more ways than one. But if you haven’t already noticed on the interwebs, it can be tricky finding tips for running that’s accessible to the newbie runner, and in the worst cases, written in plain English. Still, the last thing you should do is embark on a race without the guidance of a training plan, even if the jargon-free ones are hard to find.  A training plan will give you a structure for your training, help you avoid injury, and support you in getting to the finish line.

To help you on your way, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite training plans for beginners. Whether you’re doing a sofa to 5k or you’re preparing to conquer a marathon, these programmes will  definitely help you meet your goal.


Bupa provide a series of simple, straightforward training plans for beginners, covering everything from a 5k to the marathon distance.  The site also includes a comprehensive breakdown of how their programmes work, but the information is easy to understand and will do a great job in setting you up for your first race.


Even though I’ve been running in ASICS trainers for the last year, they’re not paying me to say how much I love their My ASICS training plan online app. It lets you customise your own plan according to the distance you’re doing, the date of your event and your goal. In fact, I’ve used it to train for a few half marathons and it’s very reliable. Ideally, you should use My ASICS if you want to improve on a previous race time, but overall, it’s a digital training partner that won’t let you down.


When I got serious about running in 2011, everyone was using the Nike Running app (nowadays, it’s all about Strava ) and unsurprisingly, Nike training plans. Sure, Nike were hawking all of their running wares in the process, but to their credit, their 5k and 10k plans were always worth checking out – simply because they’re ridiculously straightforward and very well-designed. Strangely enough, they don’t include the half marathon distance (opting for 15k instead) – but what they lack in the longer distance plans they make up in presenting race training as a piece of cake.

Pop Sugar

You’ll rarely find me cruising on the Pop Sugar website – unless it’s fitness related. Surprisingly, they do some of the best, no-brainer training plans around – I love their Barry’s Bootcamp plan – and their race training plans are no exception.  They’ve got a 16-week one for half-marathons which might seem like a  massive commitment, but it’s a goodie – and you can also print it out for keeps. 

By: Matilda Egere-Cooper (who’s training for life, nah mean?)

Liked this? Check out our free running gear checklist for beginners.

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