There’s no doubt that pounding the pavement is a good-for-you-activity. Running boosts brain power, strengthens the heart, reduces stress and can even lower your blood pressure. And signing up for a race in 2016 — from a 5K to a marathon and everything in between — is a great way to stay focused, commit to regular exercise and boost your endorphins. Plus, with most races, there’s usually beer at the finish line. But now that you’ve committed, what does it take to get to the start line? Explore the four methods below, choose your plan, lace up and hit the pavement.


1. Couch to 5K: More of a casual-walk-in-the-park kind of girl than a let’s get in a few miles before brunch girl? Then this plan is for you. This beginner’s guide to running is exactly what it sounds like. It will take you from binge-watching Netflix on Saturdays to crossing the finish line after your first 3.1. The nine-week program has you running three times a week, starting slow and gradually building up to a week full of continuous jogging.

2. Run-Walk-Run Method: Created by former Olympian Jeff Galloway, the run-walk-run method is set up to minimize injury and fatigue. It’s centered around taking strategic walk breaks to avoid exhaustion and integrate shorter run intervals. Galloway has a training plan for everyone, with specific workouts catered to the 5K, 10K, half-marathon and marathon.

3. CrossFit Endurance Program: The program incorporates traditional CrossFit and strength training workouts with three days of endurance, done as both shorter tempo runs and interval workouts. It’s the ideal schedule for any experienced athlete used to a rigorous agenda.

4. Hanson’s Marathon Method: This training plan is definitely not for the faint of heart. Experienced runners who are looking to take their training to the next level and conquer a marathon might consider this program. Designed by the coaches of the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project, this method ditches the weekend long run and instead spreads moderate mileage throughout the week, so you’ll never run more than 16 miles. Be prepared for a mix of speed, tempo, strength and easy workouts.

Are you race-plan ready? Tweet us which race you’ve signed up for at @BritandCo!

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