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Beginning Runner Plans: A Comparison of What’s Out There

May 27, 2014

portrait of a mid adult woman jogging in a parkSpring has finally arrived here in Saskatchewan after what was (and definitely felt like) a long winter. Sadly, my running efforts so far have been weak. I allowed the weather to be an excuse not to run, and then had a legitimate reason not to run when I was dealing with traveller’s diarrhea for two weeks (gross and uncomfortable).

Now that I’m pretty much recovered from a gastrointestinal perspective, I’m ready to start running. I looked at joining a local “Learn to Run” group to increase my accountability, but nothing is starting in the near future, so I’m turning to online resources for a beginning running program. To be honest, I’ve started over running so many times, I could probably sit down and draft a reasonable plan on my own, but sometimes it’s nice not to have to do much thinking.

Without further ado, here’s a round-up of the best resources I found online.

1) Couch-to-5K

The Couch-to-5k plan has been around for years and now has an app (available on iTunes) to get you from a non-runner status to running a 5k in nine weeks. It provides a gradual increase in running time from week to week, which is good for letting your body tissues adapt to the stresses of running. I have never tried this plan, but having an app that I can download to my phone is appealing in terms of increasing motivation. It’s like having someone coaching you while you run.

Find the Couch-to-5k plan here.

2) Women’s Health Beginning Runner Program

This is is basic, but pretty consistent with other plans I’ve seen. It’s been designed by Jenny Hadfield, who writes for Runner’s World, and looks reasonable. The plan is slightly more flexible that the Couch-to-5k plan and allows you to choose whether you want to run three or four times per week. This plan builds up from running two minutes at a time to five minutes at a time over four weeks, and then provides guidelines on how to build your total running time from there. The other plus is that it includes a couple of days of cross-training so that you’re not just running. The downside is that it doesn’t have a table that you can print out and check off as you go along.

Find the Women’s Health Beginning Runner Plan here.

3) The Runner’s World 8-Week Beginner’s Program

I love Runner’s World magazine and look forward to its arrival in my mailbox monthly. Naturally, they’ve got an online running plan for beginners. I have to say that I’m not in love with this plan and I’ll tell you why: I think it adds too much running time too early. I don’t find running easy and I struggle through every cardio session I do, so to go from one minute of running at a time during the first week to four minutes of running in one shot during the second week seems daunting. I would feel like I’m going to puke up a lung. However, if you have a stronger cardio base, this plan offers a little more variety over the course of the plan and might be a good choice.

Find the Runner’s World 8-Week Beginner’s Plan here.

4) Skinny Ms. Running Program for Absolute Beginners

I love that this comes as a downloadable chart! The plan takes you from walking to running, which is nice. It also includes strength training, which I think is important. What doesn’t work for me is that, over the course of two weeks, you build up from running one minute at a time to running eight minutes at a time. Sorry, my cardio base sucks and that’s not going to work for me.

Find the Skinny Ms. plan here.

5) Super Skinny Me 10 Week Plan

I like this plan. It’s flexible, providing you with guidelines to run three to five times per week, and the running builds up gradually over the course of the ten weeks, ending with twenty minutes of running by the end. The chart isn’t so much a daily calendar as the instructions for the week, but it’s easy to understand.

Find the Super Skinny Me plan here.

Is there a beginning runner plan that you like or have used in the past?


Running Again, and a Few Links

April 16, 2014
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I’ve started running again. Had a left knee/ITB-related twinge today, but it’s feeling good now. The plantar fasciitis in my right foot is not completely healed, but the running isn’t irritating it, so I will continue on. I’m up to 4 min running, 1 min walking. My daughter, who seems ridiculously smart for an 8-year-old, asked me the other day if I could say a sentence when I was running. I admitted that I couldn’t always, and she said, “Then you’re running too fast.” I have no idea where she got this from, but she is one smart cookie. Keeping that in mind, I ran as slowly as I possibly could Monday (I’m not sure it was actually running, that’s how slowly I ran) and periodically talked to myself to make sure I could “say a sentence.” I had a run in my schedule today, but my hips are still feeling sore from Monday’s run, so I decided to pay attention to my body and do some yoga instead. I can get a run in tomorrow, after an extra day’s rest.In addition to running, here are a few things that have caught my interest this week:

Simple Living Simplified: 10 Things You Can Do Today to Simplify Your Life

The start of a series on emergency preparedness from A Bowl Full of Lemons

A set of photos that I bought from Carolyn Cochrane on Etsy I surprised myself by receiving them in the mail, buying frames, and hanging them all in one day.

photo 1

Songs for a wedding playlist that I volunteered to help put together for my brother’s wedding next month

What songs do you love to hear at a wedding reception?


5 Great Pinterest Finds: What I Did With My Monday

March 31, 2014

5 Great Pinterest Finds

Today was a good day. I went for a run/walk this morning (sunny but still f’ing cold out there), meal planned, made a shopping list, actually blow dried my hair, went out for lunch with a dental supplier, picked up a few Easter items from Target, went grocery shopping, cleaned out the old and moldy food from the fridge, unpacked the groceries, and made supper.

I also got sucked in by spent some time on Pinterest and found some really good ideas. Thought I’d share.


I found this blog post on background and pattern generators. My mind was blown. I had no idea that such things existed. Can’t wait to try this out! Best discovery since PicMonkey.

Easy Cinnamon Sugar PopcornI had a hankering for sweets, and thought popcorn would be a relatively healthy choice. At least I’d get some fibre along with the fat and sugar, right? I tried out this recipe and thought I was fantastic. It was easy to make and delicious.

Spring-Wreath-Craft-LocurtoI like to change my fireplace mantel fairly frequently and wanted an easy, inexpensive wreath to add to my display. I stumbled across this post and bought some napkins today. We’ll see how my version turns out…

Editable Rainbow CalendarI was looking for a calendar that I could use to put my workout plan for the year into. Sure, I’m sure I could manage to cobble something together in Excel or I could handwrite something into a calendar, but I had a vision of something fun and electronic. Enter, the calendar above found on Etsy here. It’s easy to use and exactly what I was looking for.

Easter Candy CenterpieceIn all honesty, I pinned this one awhile ago. Who doesn’t love an inexpensive Easter decoration? I picked up some jelly beans and Peeps and tried my hand at making this centerpiece – minus the flowers.

Are you a Pinterest-lover?

Spring Fever: Bitten by the Organization Bug

March 23, 2014

I conquered the fever and chills of last week, but I have a headache that keeps coming back. Grrr. I feel like it’s a sinus/tension combo, but that’s a total guess.

Now that I’m feeling better and the temperatures have climbed to near freezing (we actually were melting around here for a week or so before sub-zero winter weather returned), I’m finding that I’m getting some energy back and I’m feeling motivated to work on some organizing around here.

My husband has the organization bug, too, and has been working on some built-in shelving in our mudroom. The guy has been putting it off for over 5 years, but let me tell you, it is looking pretty amazing so far. See?

Mudroom 1 Can’t wait! For now, we’ve got bins and jackets hanging out in the hallway and front room and the clutter is driving us nuts.

I’ve also been working on our pantry, and I’ve been struggling with our office and storage for my daughter’s craft staff. We don’t use our office for much beyond a dumping ground, and so we find ourselves with piles of paper on our dining room table because the papers don’t make it to the office. Not so convenient when asking the kids to set the table.

I think I’ll head to Target tomorrow and pick up a couple of wall folders I’ve been eying for awhile, and then to Indigo, where there I saw some very sleek aqua inboxes by Toppin. We’ll see if I can’t make a dent in the stacks on the table.

Do you feel the urge to start spring cleaning once the weather starts improving?



My Sick Winter

March 19, 2014

I am so sick right now. Fever, chills, big-ass headache. Yuck, yuck, yuck.

FeverIt has been the winter for getting sick, and I hate it. I’m very careful with hand-washing practices (dentist, so hand hygiene comes with the territory) and have significantly improved my nutrition as of late. I’ve been getting regular exercise and lots of rest. I feel like I’m doing everything right, and yet, this is the 3rd time I’ve been super-sick this winter. At least I’m not puking this time (*knock on wood*).

Today’s sick day has involved me lying on the couch, watching my new obsession, The Good Wife, and my old obsession, The Walking Dead.

I was also planning to start doing some run/walk intervals with week, but I will be postponing, naturally, until this lovely illness passes.

Do you get sick very often? What do you do to recover? Is there anything you do to boost your immune system? Do you have a current TV obsession?

Keep Calm and Love Sleep: Fighting My Bad Sleep Habits

February 24, 2014
Found this on Pinterest

Found this on Pinterest

I haven’t been sleeping well lately. I think it’s a combo of things: my left hip has been bothering me, the Olympics were on and I would stay up late watching, my daughter hasn’t been sleeping well and crawled in once and slept on the floor another night, my husband hasn’t been sleeping well, and I was sick with some sort of terrible stomach bug last week. Once I fall into bad sleep habits, I find difficult to get back into a good routine and get the rest I need. It’s sure been making it hard to get up in the morning and I’ve been feeling sluggish during the day. Tonight, I walked on the treadmill, did some yoga, I’m about to brew some Mother’s Little Helper, and the only caffeine I had today was in the morning in the form of Cinnamon Heart tea.

I thought it might be helpful to post a few sleep-related links, just in case you’ve been having sleep troubles, too.

How to Sleep Better

How to Sleep Better and Have More Energy

How Can I Sleep Through the Night

What’s your go-to when you are having trouble sleeping?


Workout Motivation: Why I Love Netflix

February 17, 2014

Netflix is one of my favourite things. I am not a huge T.V. watcher (although I used to be) and I don’t have the patience to figure out when T.V. shows are on (except for The Walking Dead, which I watch quite religiously, being a zombie freak), so Netflix is perfect for me. I get to watch the shows and movies I like when I want to watch them, which turns out to be quite convenient during the winter when I’m stuck working out inside, because if you are a regular on the stationary bike or treadmill, you know how boring it can be.

Instead of staring at the paint on my walls, here’s what I’m sweating to these days:

Friday Night Lights

If you haven’t watched this (now-cancellled) show, you should. My husband and I are totally hooked on the characters in this drama. Tami and Eric Taylor are my parent-heroes.

Breaking BadI’m sure looking forward to seeing how this series turns out.  I’m in season 5 and have been fascinated by Walter White’s (rather scary) transformation into Heisenberg.

ABC-Nashville-PosterI started watching Nashville quite recently, and am loving the soap opera-ness of this show. I am a big Connie Britton fan (see Friday Night Lights above) and find her very entertaining as Rayna James, even as I want to reach into the T.V. screen and smack Hayden Panettiere’s character Juliette Barnes upside the head.


I started watching this show because my sister told me to. Netflix, sadly, has only one season of Homeland, and after watching it, I was hooked on this show. However, I have been able to PVR Seasons 2 and 3 from Bell ExpressVu.

What are your favourite T.V. shows?

NOTE: I realized just today that the links I had set up didn’t work properly for the images. Sorry!


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