Which Adaptive Training Plan Is Right for You?

With Global Running Day just a few months away, there’s no better time to start a new training plan.

When it comes to training for races or hitting the next PR, it can be difficult to apply and maintain an effective training plan. Determining the level of intensity as well as how often you run over a series of weeks can be difficult, and there is always the concern of over- or under-training.

That’s why we offer the free Garmin Coach adaptive training plans on Garmin Connect™. You’ll have the option to choose an adaptive training plan to train for a 5K, 10K or a half marathon. Each plan is developed by real-life coaches and provides customized workouts based on your running ability to help ensure you can accomplish your goals. As you move through the provided workouts, the plan adapts based on your progress and runs tracked. You will also receive videos that offer insight and tips on things like preparation and nutrition.

But which plan is right for you? We’ve highlighted the different plans below, so you can better understand where to start.


If you’re new to running, consider starting with the 5K training plan. This is the shortest distance available on Garmin Coach, and the training lasts from 6 to 20 weeks. The kind of runs you can expect will be a mix of easy runs, long easy runs and hill repeats, and goal race repeats as you go deeper into the program.


This is more of an intermediate plan, although it can be adjusted for beginners who are looking for a challenge. The 10K plan lasts 10 to 21 weeks and offers more complex workouts and involves training that is intended to improve endurance and speed. This is where you’ll start to see things like cadence drills and insights to improve running form.

You’ll also receive videos that come with the workouts to explain the importance of things like cadence.

Half marathon

This is the most advanced plan offered by Garmin Coach, and it’s specifically designed to get you comfortable with longer distance runs. It lasts 12 to 26 weeks and features similar runs you’d see on the 5K plan, like easy runs and speed repeats, but obviously with greater distances.

Setting up your plan

Once you’ve selected your plan, you will be prompted to choose the number of miles you currently run in a week. This helps customize your plan, so be honest! If you’re just beginning, there is an option that says you don’t currently run. Next, you’ll need to select your average running pace. If you don’t know the answer, just divide a recent running time by the distance you ran during that run for an approximate answer. Next, you’ll be prompted to select whether you want to train with a time goal in mind or if you just want to be able to complete the distance. This is entirely up to you and will also help to customize the kind of training you will see. Once you’re done with all that, it’s time to choose your coach.

There are three professional coaches in the program: Greg McMillan, Amy Parkerson-Mitchell and Jeff Galloway. All three coaches will help you accomplish your goals. The only difference is in their method. To help you decide, each coach has a video that explains how they approach training.

How to sync your Garmin Coach Plan to your watch

After you’ve made all of your selections, your plan will be created. You’ll be given a start date, and you’ll see that your first training workout is available on your Garmin device after syncing. To see that plan on your device, you need to do the following:

1. In the Garmin Connect app, go to the My Day tab.
2. Look for your paired device, which should be at the top of the screen with a small green circle.
3. Tap the device and you should see your device listed. Across from that there should be a Sync Now icon. Tap that icon.
4. Wait until the blue syncing bar turns to green and that will confirm that the sync is complete.

When these steps are complete, you can view upcoming workouts on your watch through the Garmin Coach widget. You can also view all of your planned workouts in the Garmin Connect phone app, but these could change depending on your performance.

It doesn’t matter how experienced you are or what your goals are. With Garmin Coach, you’ll find the perfect training plan to take your running to the next level.