Questions of the Month: January

Lunch today centered around leftovers.

Crock Pot Lentils 001

I reheated a big bowl of crock pot curried lentils and topped them with a bit of fresh cilantro. The lentils actually tasted even better today! I suppose sitting in the refrigerator for two days allowed the flavors to develop even more.

On the side I had a sliced Harry & David pear.

Harry and David Pear

When it comes to pears, Harry & David can’t be beat!

Questions of the Month: January

In 2013 I’m hoping to actually stick to the “Questions of the Month” series that I started last year and did exactly three times. Whoops.

Every month I hope to feature a small handful of your questions, focusing on questions that I received more than a couple of times from many of you.

  • I love the wrist wallet that you wore to store your fuel during your half marathon! Where did you get it?

The wrist wallet was actually a Christmas present from my mom and she bought it at TJMaxx. It’s made by Sprigs and they can also be purchased online.

wrist wallet

I’ve also seen a few wrist wallets for sale at Target and Given makes multi-colored wrist wallets especially for runners that hold fuel, keys, an ID, etc. (I love the pink and aqua colors!)

  • I’ve been reading blogs for over a year now and really want to start one of my own but I feel so overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin. Do you have any tips or advice for a new blogger?

Yes! A while ago I started a series on the blog called Blog Talk Tuesdays where I addressed common blogging-related questions from readers, including how to start a blog and what blogging platforms I recommend.

You can always locate the links to these posts and other blogging-related posts on my Blogging page, located underneath the Favs tab at the top of the blog. 

  • I really want to get into running but I cannot run more than five minutes without feeling breathless. I feel like running a 5K would be a great goal for me and was wondering if you have any training plans for beginners that you would recommend. Thanks!

I am a huge fan of Hal Higdon’s plans. He has awesome plans for all different race distances, but his Novice 5K plan is a great one for beginners. And he has a 5K walking training plan! I’ve also heard people absolutely rave about the Couch-to-5K plan. Another quality training plan is Jeff Galloway’s 5K training plan.

Question of the Afternoon

  • If you have completed a race before, did you follow a training plan? Did you like it? Please share any favorites!


  1. says

    I will second the Couch to 5k, especially for someone who says they can’t run for more than 5 minutes without getting breathless, because the great thing about C25K is that you start running for only 30 seconds on and 30 seconds walking. You work your way up to running more than walking, but it’s so slowly you really start to get the hang of it first.


  2. says

    I completely agree about the Hal Higdon plans – LOVE them!! I used his Novice plan when I first started running 3 or so years ago and always revert back to his plans when I need to get back into running after a long hiatus or when training for a new distance. i’m currently training for my first 1/2 marathon with his plan. So far so good! (Knock on wood). 🙂


  3. says

    Two out of these three questions were ones I would have asked you! I’ve just started training for a 10km and started a food blog after months of hesitation. Your tips for both were really helpful, thanks for the advice!


  4. says

    So glad you’re bringing this feature back! It’s a fav of mine 🙂 I have designed my own training plans in the past, which have been loosely based on legit ones. I develop shin splints very easily, so I usually have to extend my training over a long period of time and develop slowly. I also like to always include at least two days of weight work, which I find many training plans don’t include!


  5. Pam Cook says

    When I first started running I did the couch to 5k and loved it! Super easy plan to follow and I felt great working my way up to running longer distances. I am not as consistent as I should be but I do enjoy running. Reading your blog and your workout tips really help to motivate me. Thanks!


  6. says

    I need to go back and read all of your blog tips. I definitely like the question feature. It’s SO different to be a blogger and not just a reader. I honestly thought it would be so much easier, but holy, it’s not. Hah. And getting used to taking pictures is still a new one for me.


  7. says

    I tend to make up my own plans that work for how I like to motivate myself, but I will definitely look at those 5k plans you mentioned. Recently I was reading about the Disney princess half marathon and thought that sounded like so much fun. It just seems like way to hard of a goal for me to achieve. My husband said I should look for one that I could do as part of a relay team. Thought that was a good idea. Thanks for the info!


  8. says

    Thanks for sharing about your wrist wallet. I noticed that one on here too and wondered where you got it. I want to find one! I used a Hal Higdon plan for my first half marathon. It was a great starting point for me. As I got more comfortable with my training I adjusted it a bit.


  9. says

    i’m also a fan of hal higdon! i followed two of his plans for my first half and full marathons, and after using a running coach for my second marathon, i feel even more confident about using hal 🙂


  10. says

    Where is the jacket you wore for the ZOOMA Half Marathon from? It’s super cute!! I absolutely love your blog, you’re a huge inspiration! Thanks for all the great tips 🙂


  11. says

    I’m using the couch to 5K app and I absolutely love it! My running tolerance levels are way up and I’m only four weeks in! Check it out if you are looking for a program I highly recommend it!


  12. says

    Since I started running I’ve participated in either the half or full of the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach, VA. They provide a free training plan with two options, beginner or intermediate, for both races. I love this plan and have used it by adjusting the dates for other races as well! It’s great because you never run a ton of miles on weeknights (good for someone who works full time) and the long runs are spaced out perfectly.


  13. Pedro says

    My first half-marathon, I used the FIRST Half-marathon plan and followed it to a T. I chose that plan because it fit my busy schedule. Two runs during the week, one long run on the weekend.

    For my first marathon, I joined my Fleet Feet distance running club which happened to be targeting the same marathon that I signed up for (ScotiaBank Toronoto Waterfront Marathon 10/2011). Full training calendar was provided as well as scheduled long run with the group (water/nuun along the routes). Definitely worth my $75 for the 16 weeks of running with new friends for 3+ hours at a time!


  14. says

    Definitely a fan of Hal Higdon. I used his plan for 10k training, and I loved it. I’m also using his Novice I plan for my first half coming up. Hope it goes well!


  15. says

    I got a shirt recently that had a zipper pocket on the back of it and I used it and found it incredibly difficult to get to. I’m a big fan of the shorts / pants that come with a zip pocket. That wrist one is handy for clothes that come with out.

    I have raced a bunch of times and when I started I just kinda went for it. I figured being stubborn would get me through it and it worked (10 miles was my first race!). My roommate is a newbie runner and did the couch to 5k and she really liked it.


  16. says

    I used Hal Higdons plan for my first half marathon, which was 7 years ago. I highly recommend his plans too! I don’t use his plans now that I’ve ran so many races & know what to expect. However, the plans I create for myself now are still loosely based off Hal Higon’s website.


  17. says

    Hal Higdon is great! I used the novice version for a marathon but then ended up only doing a half marathon since my fiance was injured during training, and I wasn’t up for training on my own yet. Marathons demand a lot of time and I prefer the half marathon distance for now 🙂 I’m planning to race my fourth half marathon this spring and will probably use the Hal Higdon intermediate version!


  18. says

    Having a wrist wallet sounds like a fantastic idea! I wonder if they make ones big enough to hold your phone in or do you usually use an armband for that?
    I’ve done a few 5k’s and never really trained for them. I just kinda jumped in and tried to run with it. 😉


  19. says

    If someone really wants to get into running, I, as a long time runner and a daughter of two running parents, would recommend to write it down and do it and if I was coaching myself as a beginner runner i would want endurance first, obviously, the speed can wait. I would do something like this:
    Monday: Run 1 mile, jog it, don’t walk it. Or at least run 5 minutes, take a break, run another 5 minutes. Then walk for about 20 more minutes.
    Tuesday: Run 1 mile, walk 1 mile, run 1 mile. Or run 10 minutes, walk 10 minutes, run 10 minutes.
    Wed: Repeat Monday
    Thurs: Repeat Tuesday
    Friday: Try to run 2 miles without stopping.
    Then the next few weeks, just increase the time or mileage by 1 mile or another 10 minutes.
    Never go out and try to run as much as you can as fast as you can–> which is what most ppl do and they end up breathless.

    For races, I’ve been a cross country girl so, i would have 2-3 speed work days (intense) and then 2-3 mileage days for endurance and recovery. That got my in 5k shape like crazy. I brought my 5k from 29 minutes to 25 minutes. Now I’m working on knocking off another minute and now my half marathon will go from 2:15 to 1:53ish. 5ks are a good building block if youre looking for increasing speed.
    I also like doing 10X200m a lot when training for a 5k.


  20. says

    I love the answers about how to start a blog! I started my blog a few months ago so it’s always great to have some tips and guidance.

    I am just looking into training for my first half marathon! I am definitely going to try to follow a plan so that I feel ready for the race 🙂


  21. Kelsey Y. says

    With a goal of completing a half-marathon this year, I actually signed up with a local half-marathon training group in my hometown! Since I’ve loved running since I’ve started, I just needed the guidance of being able to run properly.


  22. says

    I followed Couch to 5K for my first 5K and I loved it! I’ve also used Hal Higdon’s plans for longer races and I love those as well. I’m training for a 10-mile race (and maybe a half!) and I’ve been using one of Hal’s plans but that I tweaked a little to fit my schedule. It’s been going well so far!


  23. Robin says

    When I trained for my first 1/2 marathon about a year and a half ago, I used a training program for beginners that I clipped out of a Runner’s World magazine. You can also buy it on their website!

    Now I’m about to run in the LA Marathon and am part of the LA Roadrunners running club. We follow a program designed by our coach, Andrew Kastor (Deena Kastor’s husband!) and it is awesome.

    I highly recommend following a training program, especially if you’re new to running. I had been running “casually” for a few years before I decided to train for a half and I was completely amazed by how much I learned and took away from the program. I always thought I couldn’t increase my mileage beyond what I was doing…turns out it’s because I wasn’t doing it right! I literally could not believe how much I improved in such a short amount of time. Back when I was running 10-12 miles a week, I used to say I would never even think about doing a marathon…now I say never say never 🙂


  24. says

    When I did my full marathon, I followed the training plan in Runner’s World for a 4hour marathon (I’m sure it can be found on their website). I ran my marathon in 4:15 and it was super cold and rainy, so I was pretty happy with it.


  25. Sylvia says

    Hal Higdon has helped me cross every new finish line I’ve crossed. Even if it is a redundant 5k; if I had not ran in a while I will pick up one of his plans and run. I’m currently using his 1/2 marathon plan that I download from iTunes that interjects support tips during my run.


  26. says

    I love that you are willing to take the time to answer all these questions. It is super helpful! So, thank you, thank you 🙂

    I followed Hal’s 1/2 marathon plan and found that I really liked it. I will sometimes modify the plan a bit depending on my week, but it is definitely great as a base.


  27. Danielle says

    I’ve heard a lot of good things about Couch to 5K as well, and that is the walking/running planning I am currently on. I’m only on week three but it’s great! A friend of mine used Couch to 5K two years ago and just last month she ran a marathon. If you don’t think you can run you should definitely try this program because I never thought I could run for three minutes either and I was really out of shape!


  28. Lindsey says

    Hey Julie! This is a bit off topic, but how do you make sure you get enough calories in the day? I recently changed to a completely clean eating healthy lifestyle, and I’m finding that these foods are lower in calories, and therefore causing me to loose weight :/
    How do you balance it out to maintain your weight?


  29. says

    I want to run a half, and need to follow a plan to do so. But I secretly hate training plans, and as soon as I tell myself I need to follow one I want to rebel against it. Haha


  30. Carrie says

    I love training plans and almost always follow one. I don’t know if it makes me “better” or not, I just like not having to think about what I’m doing that day. If I wait to decide on the spur of the moment, I’m more likely to take the easy way out. With a schedule, if it says 10 miles, then 10 miles it is.


  31. Jenn says

    My New Years Resolution 2 years ago was to complete a 5k race. I followed the couch to 5k program. I loved that the program broke it down into realistic phases. There is an awesome iphone app that I used. You can listen to your favorite tunes, and the “coach” pipes in at the right times to tell you when to run and when to walk.

    Keep up the awesome blog!


  32. says

    I did a 10k, and I followed a training plan that I found on Marathon Rookie. I wanted the experience of training for a race! I also did a ton of cross training, because I was also working on fitness for a sport, so many times I was tired before I began my run. This probably wasn’t great for my body, but when race day came, I felt super fresh and ready to go!


  33. Emily says

    Hey Julie, I’ve been reading your blog for a while now but this is my first comment! You’ve inspired me to run in my first 10 K race, and I’m thinking of start my own healthy living blog as well. I’ve been reading through your entire “How to Blog” series to get acquainted with blogging in general. I am a complete newbie to blogging but I’ve found your tips and advice really helpful. Just a question for you- you said that you wished you had switched to your own domain and self hosting sooner than you did. Would you recommend starting off self hosting for someone who is a brand new blogger? Or do you think I should try out the free version first to get acquianted with it and then switch over after a few months? Any tips would be greatly appreciated!


  34. says

    When I trained for my half, I created a training plan but followed it pretty loosely! I did all of my prescribed long runs, but I ended up dropping one of the shorter runs and at the end I was battling an injury so I only ran twice a week. Gotta listen to your body, it worked out for me 🙂


  35. says

    The Couch to 5k plan REALLY helped me! I went from not being able to run a block to finishing a 5k. When I started running longer distances I was referred to Hal Higdon’s training plan. I am still very much a new runner so I followed the novice 10 miler and finished!!


  36. says

    Hi Julie!

    Thanks for all the blogging info. I am very new to the blogging community and reading your posts and hearing your advice has been SO helpful. Seriously, it’s amazing. Thanks again!!




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