Tag Archives: running tips

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.


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.


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!


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.

For the Beginner Runner–Guest Post by Jen, The Marathon Mom


Today’s post comes 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.  If you have never thought about a running coach or trainer, I highly suggest you do!  Jen is a wealth of knowledge, and she can get you where you want to be in the running game! 


I think I am asked at least daily for running advice whether it be from those wanting to start running or those wanting to improve. Recently I’ve had many questions from friends and family training for their first races. I love sharing my passion for running and hope I can pass this on to others too. I thought about the most frequent questions I am asked and decided to put together a list,

When do I start to like running? I think this is the most frequent question and I always hate to say “there are some days I still hate running!” For me the key is to take it easy some days and push myself other days, enjoy the surroundings while out and savor the victories whether this is running that 1st mile or a PR. Like anything new it takes work and does get easier, I still remember when 3 miles was a chore and now I can’t remember the last time I wanted to stop after 3 miles.

Along the same lines: When does it get easier? Everyone is different, but you need to listen to your body and not feel that you need to push right away or on every run. Like I said above it is something new and will get better. Remember it took us more than 1 step to learn to walk.

How do I motivate myself? Sign up for a race to have a goal and soak in the excitement of the race atmosphere. Find friends or a group to run with, making that commitment to others is motivation to get started and it is always nice to have company in tough times to push us further, then go out for coffee afterwards. Listen to music, buy new running clothes and enjoy the fact that you will feel better and have more energy.

What happens when I skip a run? Listen to your body and if you aren’t feeling it, having pain or need a short break then don’t run. Missing one run of the training will not hurt you, do not make this a routine but don’t be afraid to rest a sore leg, sleep in when you are sick or shorten a run. If something doesn’t feel right and your stride changes then don’t run through it, do something else (swim, bike, elliptical) and see how it feels later.

And finally don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Compete and push yourself to improve while accepting that things happen, life gets in the way and we all have bad days. Learn from these and work through them. Remember we are all different and can’t compare ourselves to someone with different talents and abilities. Work to improve on what you can do and have done, not what others can do.

How do you find time to run as a mom? Before I was a mom I was told so many times “just wait you will stop running.” That didn’t happen and I knew it wouldn’t. It takes time management and some compromise. I often workout early in the morning (4am during the week), take advantage of nap time and hit the treadmill at home or the gym childcare is a great benefit. Take the kid with you running, for us it was the only way I was guaranteed a nap the 1st year! But now we look at animals, stop at the park and I get a complete workout. We schedule long runs, sometimes splitting days and other times splitting BOB duty. I might sacrifice an extra hour of sleep or time to read or clean the house for a run, but it makes me a better mother and everyone is much happier.

What are the best shoes? Don’t buy what is cute or the brand your friend has. Go to a running store for a proper shoe fitting and don’t be afraid to take them back if they don’t work after a run (most stores around here are fine if they are slightly worn). Please don’t wear that pair of shoes you bought 5 years ago for step class. Most complaints I hear from new runners is that their legs, knees, feet hurt and then I find out they are wearing bad shoes, such a simple solution to prevent frustration.

I have been running about 10 years and was instantly hooked. I have come a long way from those first steps and my first marathon (Disney 2003) where I finished 5:20 to consistently running 3:30 marathons and running competitively. I learned to love the sport and train right. I have coached runners of all abilities for the past 5 years and love it! I am 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.

Check out my running, food, and parenting adventures at: