Tag Archives: jill conyers

Jill Conyers Answers Your Questions – Part 2

We are taking a quick break from Clean Eating this week for Part 2 of Jill Conyers Guest Post!  Today Jill has all your answers to the questions you asked her earlier in the month.  Thank you Jill for taking the time to answer all our running and fitness questions.  If you didn’t get a chance, check out Part 1 of Jill’s Guest Post.

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Andrea’s readers submitted great questions that cover a variety of running topics. Whether you’re new to running or have been running awhile knowledge is progress and improved running performance. There are so many things I wish I would have known when I started running.

If you can’t tell, I like talking about running as much as the running itself.

Question #1. I’m a “somewhat” beginning runner. What can I do to get a faster pace? I seem to be stuck at a 12 min pace. If you google this question you’ll get a million+ recommendations and tried and true techniques. Based on my experience, I saw the most improvement in my pace when I:

1. Strength. 2-3 days of consistent strength training every week.

2. Flexiblity. At least 1 day of yoga a week. The stress reducing benefits of yoga is a bonus.

3. Speedwork. At least 1 day of speedwork every week with a variety including intervals and tempo runs. Track intervals are my favorite type of training run! For more information on the benefits of speedwork check out Adding Speedwork to Training.

4. Stretching. After a run and almost nightly whether I’ve run or not.

5. Core Strength. Core strengthening exercises improve form and function for running.

6. Fueled to Run. Make sure you’re fueling your body with the quantity and quality it needs to support your level of activity.

7. Rest. 1 or even 2 (depending on your weekly mileage) total rest days every week can make the difference between just to training and fabulous and productive training.

Question #2. I have done 3 half marathons up to this point using the run/walk method. I run between 4-8 minutes then walk 1 min. depending on where in the 13 miles I am and how good I am feeling. I want to boost the amount of running time. In addition to a couple halves I would like to get 1 marathon next fall. Now sidelined due to a torn meniscus. When I start training back up after my surgery what can I do to up my running portion? First and foremost take the time to fully recover from your injury. Returning to running too soon or trying to return at your pre-surgery distance and pace can cause you to reinjure yourself and/or prolong a full recovery. When you’re 100% recovered refer to the question below about increasing mileage.

Question #3. Do you take supplements since you run long distances and lift weights? I lift weights 4-5 days a week and take supplements, but I want to start getting into running and run my first 5K in 2013. Will the supplements I’m taking (protein, bcaa) hinder my running? The supplements I take are not running specific. The vitamins I take and nutritional supplements (protein powder and Spirulina) are based on overall health and consultation with my doctor. With a diagnosis of Hypothyroidism and being relatively new to a vegan diet I consulted with my doctor (Internal Medicine) ensure the major change in my diet were not causing vitamin deficiencies. I take multivitamin, calcium, Vitamin D, and Flax Oil (vitamin) daily. I also use protein powder up to 2x/day and Spirulina several days per/week. While I’ve never heard of or read that protein supplements hinder running, consulting with a doctor will likely give you the information you’re looking for.

Question #4. I’d love to hear her thoughts on the best way to build to a half marathon distance. I currently can run 3-4 miles without a problem, but I feel overwhelmed trying to increase that to 13.1! Feeling overwhelmed is to be expected. You’re asking your body to run more than 13 miles!

1. You need to have built a base. When I ran my first half marathon I found that most half marathon training plans assumed that you’ve built a weekly mileage base of at least 15-20 miles. Your longest run should also be at least 5 miles.

2. Choose a plan. There are unlimited books and online resources for half marathon training plans. Plans range from about 10-16 weeks. For my first my preference was the 16 week plan. The extra time ensured that I would have more than enough time to gradually build up to running longer distances and it gave me a little wiggle room for setbacks or interruptions in training.

3. Train with intention and purpose. To get the most out of your training runs use a variety of different types of runs each with a purpose. When I train for a race with the goal being pace I follow a plan that includes speed work on a track, tempo runs, and long runs.

4. Cross train. Add a few days of little to no impact exercises to maximize your running fitness. In addition to running, I strength train 3 days/week and, ideally, I’m able to add a day of yoga.

5. Find a running buddy or group! The motivation of not doing this alone is invaluable. You’re much more likely to commit and stick with training with the support and accountability of running friends. I’m fortunate to have my ultra-running husband as my running buddy.

6. Lastly, and quite possibly the most important for performance and reducing your risk of injury, rest! Your body needs time to rebuild and repair. Skipping rest days make it difficult for your body to recover and make you more prone to injury.

Question #5. How many miles do you think you have run in your lifetime? Hmmm…about 9000 miles! I’ve been running about 6.5 years and I run about 800-1000 miles every year. In 2012 I ran 1081.5 miles and in 2011 I ran 833.88 miles. So, I’ve run approximately 8000 miles in the 6.5 years I’ve been running.

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Question #6. When did you start running and what motivated you? Blog link. I wanted to prove to myself that I was more than a wife and a mom. I started running in 2006 with the goal of running my first race, The Grape Stomp Half Marathon. I was inspired to start running by my husband running his first race and meeting Ultramarathon Man, Dean Karnazes. The motivation to continue is what I am teaching my kids by my actions and how running makes me feel invincible. Running makes me feel like I can do anything!

Question #7. What challenges have you overcome in order to keep on moving? I overcame the frustration of being injured. The emotional frustration of not being able to run for an extended period of time and feeling like I was totally starting over when I returned to running was a mental and physical challenge. The mental challenge was the more difficult of the 2. Recovering from 3 non-running related surgeries in 2010 was a test of determination. I’d say I passed the test! I came back in 2012 to run 28 races including 1 ultra (31 miles), my first relay and 12 half marathons. Generally speaking, sometimes the day to day life of a mom of 2 very active teens and a wife that works full time presents challenges to consistent running and workouts. My family will always, undoubtedly, be my first priority. I determine my priorities and set goals to make everything else possible.

Thank you Andrea for having me as a guest on your blog!

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I’m a wife, mom of 2, full-time psychologist, Swiftwick, FitFluential, Fit Approach and Girl Gone Sporty Ambassador that is passionate about running, plant-based nutrition, fitness and an overall healthy lifestyle.  I believe living a healthy life is not about perfection. It’s about commitment, effort and progress!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at jillconyers@gmail.com

You can also find me at:


I am not a licensed nutritionist, dietician or fitness trainer. I’m simply a healthy and fitness enthusiast who enjoys sharing information, experiences and ideas. Views expressed in this article are based on my own personal research and experiences. Please consult your doctor with any medical issues, or before beginning a training program.

Strong Legs for Workout Wednesday

Before we get to the meat of this post, I was hoping you would take a minute and send thoughts and/or prayers for my friend Kim tonight or tomorrow morning.  She will be having surgery on her knee Thursday morning.  Thank you!

I am dedicating each week this month to healthier living (as if I don’t already do that), but with a focus on different areas of health each week.  This week I have dedicated to running for beginners and for those who have been running forever.  Next week is clean eating with a guest blog post from The Clean Eating Geek!

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Tomorrow’s post will be from Jen The Marathon Mom.  Jen is a RRCA certified run coach and NASM certified personal trainer working with both in person and virtually training clients of all levels to complete their first 5K or set a PR at a marathon, and she has a great post for us beginning runners and experienced runners tomorrow.  Obviously, I’ve had a sneak peek at her post, and I’m taking every bit of information and applying it to my running.  I know it will help me a ton.  By the way, I know I’m being a total snot for baiting you like this Smile with tongue out.

Workout Wednesday

Today’s workout is designed to give you strong running legs, or just strong legs in general.  I have taken the exercises Jill Conyers gave us on Monday and put them into a workout along with some other great leg strengthening exercises.  For this workout you will be doing supersets.  Each superset consists of 2 exercises. Do 3 sets of each super set before moving on to the next (each superset is in a white rectangle). In between each superset is an optional short core exercise section. Remember to stretch after your workout!
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Jill Conyers Guest Post–Part 1!!

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Today’s post is comes from Jill Conyers!  This post deals with helping you stay injury free as a runner.  In her next guest post (part 2) Jill will have the answers to the rest of the amazing questions everyone asked.

Guest Post by Jill Conyers

People seem to often think running is synonymous with knee problems. I have been running since 2006 and I am happy to say I’ve been knee-problem and pain free. My husband is an ultra runner (he runs distances beyond 26.2) who started running in 2005. He has stayed almost entirely injury free! Knees included!

Based on my experience and research, running does not automatically mean you’re going to have knee problems. My advice? Do what you can to avoid injury and stay healthy overall including your knees. What I mean is train smart.

  • based on your where you are with your running have a plan and follow it
  • don’t over train.
  • REST!
  • cross train
  • strength train

I was specifically asked about how to strengthen your knees for running. I’m not aware of any exercises that can strengthen the knee specifically but there are exercises that can be done to strengthen the surrounding muscles (the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles) and help prevent knee and other running related injuries.

Use the following simple leg exercises to begin your lower-body strengthening program:

Bodyweight Squats (Muscle: Quadriceps):

1. Begin standing with your feet slightly wider than hip-width and your toes turned out slightly. Your hands are by your sides with your palms facing inward. Pull the shoulders down your back toward your hips.

2. Engage your abdominal/core muscles to stabilize your spine. Keep your chest lifted and your chin parallel to the floor. Shift your weight back into your heels as your hips begin to push toward the wall behind you.

3. Begin the downward phase by hinging at the hips, shifting them back and down. Your hips and knees bend simultaneously. As you lower your hips the knees bend and will start to shift forward slowly. Prevent your knees from extending forward past the toes. Keep the abdominals/core muscles engaged and your back flat.

4. Continue to lower yourself until your thighs are parallel or almost parallel to the floor. Avoid dropping your hips below your knees.

5. Keep the knees aligned with the second toe and body weight evenly distributed between the balls and heels of both feet. If you can view this from the side, your shinbone should be parallel with your torso and the low back should appear flat or may be showing the beginning of some rounding.

6. While maintaining the position of your back, chest and head and with the abdominals engaged, exhale and return to start position by pushing your feet into the floor through your heels. The hips and torso should rise together. Keep the heels flat on the floor and knees aligned with the second toe.

Stability Ball Hamstring Curl (Muscle: Hamstring)

1. Lie on your back on a mat, placing the backs of your lower legs and heels on the top of a stability ball . Your feet should be lined up with your hips and your toes pulled slightly toward the ceiling. Gently contract your abdominal/core muscles to flatten your low back into the floor. Try to hold this gentle contraction throughout the exercise. Extend your arms out to your sides with palms turned to the floor to help stabilize your body during the exercise.

2. Gently exhale. Keeping the abdominals engaged, lift your hips up off the floor. Press the backs of your lower legs and heels into the ball for additional stability. Do not lift the hips so high that the low back begins to arch. Your abdominal contraction will also help avoid excessive arching in the low back. Continue to press upwards until your body is in a straight line from your heels to your shoulder blades.

3. Exhale. Slowly bend your knees and pull the ball toward your hips until you can rest the soles of the your feet on top of the ball. Your toes may point away from your body in this movement. The hips will continue to lift as you pull the ball toward your hips. Keep the torso stable.

4. Inhale. Slowly press the ball away from your hips until the knees are straight, stabilizing with the core, hamstrings, glutes and arms. Repeat for a prescribed number of repetitions and slowly lower yourself back towards your starting position.

Calf Raises (Muscle: Calves)

1. Position your feet shoulder-width apart, side-by-side, with your toes pointed forward or slightly outward. Shift your weight over your heels.

2. Exhale and slowly raise your heels off the floor, allowing your entire body leaning slightly forward to maintain balance. Do not lose your alignment, especially in the hips and low back. Keep your knees straight and abdominals strong. Continue rising until your weight is on the balls of your feet. Hold this position briefly.

3. Inhale and slowly lower your heels back to the floor. Shift your weight back into your heels and stand up tall.

Glute Bridge (Muscle: Hips)

1. Lie on your back on an exercise mat or the floor in a bent-knee position with your feet flat on the floor. Place your feet hip-width apart with the toes facing away from you. Gently contract your abdominal muscles to flatten your low back into the floor. Attempt to maintain this gentle muscle contraction throughout the exercise.

2. Gently exhale. Keep the abdominals engaged and lift your hips up off the floor. Press your heels into the floor for added stability. Avoid pushing your hips too high, which can cause hyperextension (arching) in your low back. Keeping your abdominals strong helps to prevent excessive arching in the low back.

3. Inhale and slowly lower yourself back to your starting position.

Final Notes:

Start with 1 set (8 reps) of each move gradually increasing reps and/or sets as you get stronger. If that is too much decrease the number of reps and gradually build up to 8. If you’re fitness level means 8 reps was too easy increase the reps to 10 or increase the number of sets. Most importantly start from where you are!

Start with strength training 2 days per week. Increase to 3 days if time permits and as get stronger.

Lastly, keep track of your strength training. Nothing motivates more than seeing the numbers that show your progress.

I’m a wife, mom of 2, full-time psychologist, Swiftwick, FitFluential, Fit Approach and Girl Gone Sporty Ambassador that is passionate about running, plant-based nutrition, fitness and an overall healthy lifestyle.  I believe living a healthy life is not about perfection. It’s about commitment, effort and progress!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at jillconyers@gmail.com

You can also find me at:


I am not a licensed nutritionist, dietician or fitness trainer. I’m simply a healthy and fitness enthusiast who enjoys sharing information, experiences and ideas. Views expressed in this article are based on my own personal research and experiences. Please consult your doctor with any medical issues, or before beginning a training program.

A Big Day

Today is such a big day, and I have several things to tell you about!!

First…the winner of the The Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises: Four Weeks to a Leaner, Sexier, Healthier YOU and Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 Days DVD is…..drum roll…Amanda Tipton!!!  Congrats Amanda!!  You will love the book and DVD.  They are among my favorites!  Also, look for an email from me this afternoon!

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Second, Jill Conyers will be guest hosting on Monday.  Jill will be answering the questions about how to strength train and avoid injury for runners.  Then, Jill has had also Graciously (note the capital “G”) offered to guest host again to answer the rest of the amazing questions everyone had.  I loved all the questions everyone had, and so did Jill, so she is kindly hanging around to post again.  I honestly cannot thank her enough for helping us beginning and experienced runners.  I’m throwing myself in the beginner category, and everyone asked questions that I also had!

Tilly

Third…It is a birthday day in our house!!!  Little Tilly is turning 1 year old today!!!  Tilly is our sweetheart that we fostered with RAGOM, and then we ended up adopting her.  I would like to make a quick plea for other dogs out there in need of a home…If you are ever looking to get a dog, please check out your local shelter, or go online and look up “dog rescue groups”.  RAGOM is a rescue group that I volunteer with, and they, like other similar groups, place dogs in “foster homes” until they find their “forever home” and are adopted.  Our lab, Lady, is also a rescue dog from Florida, and she is amazing.  So, instead of going to a pet store (which gets its puppies from horrible puppy mills) look into saving a wonderful puppy or dog at your local shelter or from your local rescue group.

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Back to the birthday girl…My goal was to make frosty paws and dog treats on Wednesday and have a write up for you with the recipes, but since we didn’t have any water, and I had to spend my day melting snow for water, I didn’t get a chance to make her birthday treats.  So, we are doing the doggie birthday baking on Saturday.  Tilly is still getting more stuffed toys to destroy, and all 3 dogs are getting Kongs filled with peanut butter and carrots!  Happy Birthday Tilly!!!

And speaking of water….We now have running water.  Never in my life did I think I would be so happy to flush a toilet regularly!  No more melting snow on the stove for me!!!  Well, at least not until this happens again.

It is workout time!  Here is the treadmill workout I did the other day at the gym.  Time flew by with this workout since I was so busy keeping and eye on my time and changing speeds.  I didn’t add an incline for this workout, but feel free to add a hill or two in there for yours!  Hope you enjoy it, and remember to stretch!
30 Min Treadmill no incline

An Amazing Opportunity and a Giveaway!!!

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Since we are coming up on a new year, I figured I would focus on what a lot of other people focus on at the beginning of the year…Being healthier.  Many of you are starting out at the beginning and looking to improve your health and fitness.  Then, there are others who may be looking to try something new in the healthy eating and/or fitness department.

Therefore, I’m dedicating the month of January to learning more about clean eating and general fitness.  There will be several guest hosts posting during the month of January, and they all have their own specialties in the realms of fitness and health.  We will have The Clean Eating Geek, Allison Sipes, The Go Fit Gals, and more!

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Our first guest host, on January 7, 2013, will be Jill Conyers.  Jill is a Beach Body Coach, Swiftwick, FitFluential, Sweat Pink and Girls Gone Sporty Ambassador that is passionate about running (from my point of view, Jill is a running guru), plant-based nutrition, fitness and an overall healthy lifestyle. She is also a wife and mother of 2 who is living a healthy life that is not about perfection. Instead, she finds that it’s about commitment, effort and progress!  Jill is also the pioneering force behind 12 in Twenty-Twelve, and she has teamed up with Jen the Marathon Mom to host 13 in Twenty-Thirteen, and she will be running her first 50 mile race this year!

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Jill has a wealth of knowledge for those of you who are just starting to run or even just finding your way into the fitness and health world. She also can help those of you who are looking to improve your fitness and health “game” even further.  And guess what?  She is willing to answer questions you have about running, fitness, training, eating, etc!!  Please take advantage of this opportunity.  We can all learn something new that will help us achieve our fitness goals in 2013.  Jill will have a response to your questions in her guest post on January 7th!

Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30The Women's Health Big Book of Exercises - Paperback

To top this all off, I’m having a free giveaway from now till Jan. 3rd!!!!  I’m giving away The Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises: Four Weeks to a Leaner, Sexier, Healthier YOU and Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 Days!!!  I absolutely love both of these items.  I’m always using my Big Book of Exercises.  Actually, my copy is so worn that pages are starting to fall out!!  All you have to do to enter this giveaway is check the boxes in the Rafflecopter on the From Florida to North Dakota Facebook page.  You can leave your mandatory question for Jill on the From Florida to North Dakota Facebook page or Comment section on this post!  Get your entries in by 1/03/13!  Good Luck!!