Here are a few websites that provide free marathon training plans. These website provide week by week details for the marathon training program that you are advised to follow to be well prepared for your marathon. Some of these websites only give training plans, while some also let you log your daily runs. In addition, some of these websites are especially for half marathons, which is a good stepping stone if you have never ran a full or half marathon earlier.
Disclaimer: I am not a runner. I like running, but I believe my laziness to spend so much time that running requires overpower the joy that I get from running. So, I cannot personally vouch that the training plans provided by websites are good. However, they seem to have been created by professionals and people seem to be using them, so I would go ahead and recommend them. And I believe that if you have decided to run for a half or full marathon, then at least having some training plan as a guidepost is better than no plan at all. So, if you have not been able to find a better free marathon training plan, go ahead and use the ones mentioned below.
18 Weeks Marathon Training Program at 26.2
Let me start by saying that this is the least good looking website on the list. But I have added this marathon training website at the top because it gives most details about training plans than any other free website I came across. It has a free 18 week marathon training plan. It has three plans actually: One for beginners, second for intermediate, and third for Experienced. You can see training plan for any week and choose your level (beginner / intermediate / experienced). For each week, it gives a clear schedule of the miles that you need to run on any day, as well as rest days. In addition to the schedule, it also details what is expected from you each day, so that you can know whether a 3 mile run is expected to be at a normal pace or fast pace. And it also shows some tips for each week so that you can prepare better for your runs. This training program is completely free and does not even requires any registration.
Fitness.com Marathon Training Schedules
Next on this list are half marathon training plans offered by Fitness.com. It actually offers 5K, 10K, and Half-Marathon training plans for free. What I liked best about this website is that the training plans are downloadable as a PDF. So, you can easily print them and paste on some wall where you can easily keep a tab on your marathon training. For each day of each week, it clearly shows the number of miles expected to run, as well as difficultly level. You will need to create a free account on the website to download marathon training plans. For my testing, I just used a disposable email address. While you are on the website, you can also check out some great articles around nutrition, running tips, hydration, safety & comfort, etc. (look for “Running” section on left sidebar of Fitness.com to explore these articles).
LogYourRun.com Marathon Training Plans:
LogYourRun was earlier my first choice to put on this list of websites that provide free marathon training plans. The reason was that it provides plans for 5K, 10K, 15K, half marathon, as well as full marathon. In addition, you can choose training plans as per your skill level: beginner, intermediate, advanced. And for each choice, multiple training plans are listed. However, for each training plan, it only provides the miles to be run on each day. It doesn’t tells you recommended pace, nor gives you any additional tips. So, I had to bump it down on the list. But one very big advantage that comes with this website is that you can log your runs on this website, if you create an account on this. So, you don’t have to separately maintain a log of runs in a Excel or paper.
YourMarathonTrainingPlan.com Free Marathon Training Plans:
This is probably the only website on this list that is entirely dedicated to marathon training. Most of the plans are paid, but it has a section which has some good free marathon training plans. It offers training plans at different levels: Couch to Marathon, Beginner, Experienced, Elite. For each plan, it shows you week by week details. And for each day, it shows number of miles to run as well as pace / level of difficulty. In addition, the website also provides many free resources around general marathon training tips and nutrition.
Shape.com Half Marathon Training Schedules:
Shape.com magazine has listed some pretty nice half marathon training schedules. Unfortunately, it is only for half marathons, and I wasn’t able to find any full marathon free training schedules. However, the training schedules that it provides for half marathon are pretty good. For each day, it shows miles that need to be run, and the minutes you should walk and run. Also, the website has lot of articles around running tips, nutrition, health etc. So, if you are preparing for half marathon instead of full marathon, this should be your go to website for free half marathon training plans.
Bonus: While researching for training plans, I came across this printable PDF from Furman Institute of Running. It gives a very detailed workout for first time marathon runners. Do check it out too.
All the above websites provide good marathon training plans, as per my opinion. If you are planning to run a marathon and follow these plans, do share your experience in comments below. And if you know of some better websites out there that provide free marathon training plans, let me know about those too in comments below. Happy running!