workout log: 11/16 – 11/22

With company here for most of this past time, I just did what I could, when I could.  And looking back on it all now, I’m really happy with it all.

I often write a workout schedule for each week, but sometimes I really enjoy just winging it each day.  That’s the key with my exercises in this stage of life though – doing what exercises I feel like doing and finding a balance of “enough” (not too much or too little).  We’re all a work in progress, yes?!

Sunday, November 16th
45-minute Walk with J & Zida
this upper body workout:

Upper Body & Core Strength Circuit Workout

Monday, November 17th
10-minute warm-up Walk
lower body strength workout (just did a bunch of random moves in the fitness room until my muscles were fatigued)
25 minutes of Elliptical intervals

Tuesday, November 18th
rest day

Wednesday, November 19th
5-minute warm-up Walk
1-mile Run (9:09)
upper body weights/strength workout
1-mile Run (8:58)
10-minute high incline Walk

Thursday, November 20th
30-minute Walk in the morning,
then in the evening I did
10 minutes of Elliptical intervals
and intervals on the treadmill….
.25-mile Run + .25-mile Walk with high incline, repeated for 3 total miles in 33:53

Friday, November 21st
no set workout – we spent a lot of the day walking all around the city

Saturday, November 22nd
full-body strength training workout (took about 20 minutes)
then 60 minutes of Walking on the treadmill with very high inclines at times (similar to this workout below just two times through) – it’s the way to sweat when you walk!

30-Minute Incline Intervals Treadmill Walking Workout.jpg

workout log: 11/2 – 11/8

this past week’s workouts:

Sunday, November 2nd
60-minute Walk with Jesse & Zida

Monday, November 3rd
3-mile Run (24:02)
20-minute Walk

3-mile Run

Tuesday, November 4th
this workout (I love that it keeps me moving and it works practically everything at some point),
3 times through:

Upper Body & Core Strength Circuit Workout

Wednesday, November 5th
30-minute Walk with Zida
15 minutes of Yoga

Thursday, November 6th
15-minute Legs & Glutes workout (I’ll be sharing it soon)
30 minutes Elliptical intervals

Friday, November 7th
30-minute Walk with Zida
upper body weights workout

Saturday, November 8th
2.5-mile Run (20:10)
20-minute Walk

workout log: 9/1 – 9/14


Monday, September 1st
3.5 miles of walking/jogging with Jesse (I think we probably ran close to 2 miles of it)
40-minute Bike Ride

Tuesday, September 2nd
upper body strength workout
core workout
45-minute Walk

Wednesday, September 3rd
55-minute jog/walk, 5.25 miles total  (I figure I ran just over 3 of those miles)

Thursday, September 4th
lots of walking around San Francisco (so hilly!)

Friday, September 5th
a lot of walking around San Francisco again

Saturday, September 6th
Jesse and I went for a 30-minute jog/walk around the neighborhood of where we stayed (again – so hilly!)

Sunday, September 7th
repeat of Saturday’s

Monday, September 8th
upper body strength workout (I’ll be sharing soon)
2-mile Run
20-minute Walk

Tuesday, September 9th
lower body strength workout (again, I’ll be sharing it soon)
30-minute Walk

Wednesday, September 10th
3-mile Run
30-minute Walk

Thursday, September 11th
Jillian Mcchaels’ Yoga Meltdown video (level 1 – 35 minutes)
30-minute Walk with Zida
this workout, but instead of timing it I did it 8 times through with a little break between each round…

Toned in 10 - full body circuit workout -

Friday, September 12th
2-mile Run
30-minute Walk

Saturday, September 13th
40-minute Walk with Zida
and a lot of packing up the house

Sunday, September 14th
2-mile Run with Jesse
30-minute Walk

Dirty Girl 5k Mud Run {recap}

My sister and I completed the Minneapolis Dirty Girl 5k Mud Run this past Saturday – and it was so much fun!

The course was 3.1 miles with 12 obstacles scattered throughout that distance.  The location seemed perfect for it – out in a quieter area, through fields and tall grass.  Brooke and I both agreed that the course was good.  The obstacles weren’t really challenging or anything, just muddy and messy, but that’s what we expected.  The event was organized pretty well in that the morning flowed smoothly, but we didn’t get our free t-shirt as promised (or a free beer post-run).  I guess their management changed over in the last month or something and that interrupted that promise.  We weren’t very happy about that – it seemed kind of lousy of them, especially since this race is so expensive!  Regardless of that though, we’re still really happy we did it.  Great memories, and I couldn’t think of anyone better to have run this with :)

brooke and I - dirty girl 5k mud run before

brooke & danica

pinning on our bibs - brooke and danica


tying shoes

walking to the start - mud run - brooke, danica

starting gate - 5k mud run


start! brooke, danica, running, 5k mud run



brooke, danica, muddy 5k run

5k mud run - brooke, danica

I love this picture above…we’re not sisters or anything ;) 

brooke - climbing ropes - 5k mud run

rope wall - 5k mud run dirty girl

brooke & danica - finished dirty girl 5k mud run

dirty girl 5k mud run - brooke, danica

brooke & danica - mud run!

love her!

And a big thank you to my husband (who’s an awesome photographer) for taking all of these pictures and for patiently being their for us on Saturday :)

Jesse & Danica - after mud run


workout log: 7/27 – 8/2


Sunday, July 27th
30-minute Walk
4-mile Run (36:21) with my sister!
30-minute Walk

Monday, July 28th
rest day

Tuesday, July 29th
this upper body workout:

Upper Body Strength Circuit Workout -

and then a 30-minute Walk with Zida

Wednesday, July 30th
2-mile Run (19:03) with Jesse and Zida
plus some walking before and after

Thursday, July 31st
no workout, but an active day – just a really long day at work, some house cleaning at night, and a quick walk with Zida before calling it good on the day

Friday, August 1st
this lower body workout, 3 times through:

beach booty workout

and then a 1-mile Run (8:40) with some walking before and after

Saturday, August 2nd
Dirty Girl 5k Mud Run with my sister!  Recap will be up tomorrow :)

workout log: 7/20 – 7/26


Sunday, July 20th
Jillian Michaels’ Yoga Meltdown Video (level 1) 35 minutes
35-minute Walk

Monday, July 21st
3-mile Run (25:57)
with some walking before and after

Tuesday, July 22nd
this workout 3 times through with 15-lb. weights:


this core workout 2 times through:

no breaks Core Workout -

and then a 30-minute Walk with Zida

Wednesday, July 23rd
2-mile Run (Jesse, Zida, and I all went out for this one – my stomach was upset and I was overall just dragging…not all runs are great…we did what we could though and did 2 hilly miles in 18:05)
30-minute Walk (split up before and after the run)

Thursday, July 24th
30-minute Walk in the morning
30-minute Walk in the evening

Friday, July 25th
this lower body workout, 4 times through (loved this one!)…

Bodyweight Strength Lower Body Workout -

and a 30-minute Walk with Zida

Saturday, July 26th
a 30-minute Walk in the morning
and a lot of dancing at the wedding at night!

workout log: 7/13 – 7/19

Since I have more of a workout routine now with training, I’ve decided to bring back my weekly workout log posts. I like having them to keep me accountable and to look back on as needed, plus it’s an easy platform to share any great workouts I discover or create.

This past week went well!  I’m a little sore actually, but it’s the good kind of sore.  I’m reminded that this isn’t going to be an easy few months, even though it’ll be rewarding come October!

Sunday, July 13th

Jillian Michaels’ Yoga Meltdown Video (level 1 – 35 minutes)
and a 30-minute Walk

at home yoga

Monday, July 14th
3-mile Run (26:07) with walking before and after
Hip Hop Groove Fitness Class (~50 minutes)

Tuesday, July 15th
this upper body strength workout:

Upper Body & Core Strength Circuit Workout

Wednesday, July 16th
sandwiched between two walks…
3-mile interval run (some sprints, some hills) in 24:26

3-mile interval training run

then, because a good song came one, I tacked another mile on…this mile felt pretty tough, especially once that good song ended ;)
4 miles total

Thursday, July 17th
rest day

Friday, July 18th
this lower body workout, which is an oldie and a goodie:

beach booty workout


I realized that it’s been a really long time since I’ve dedicated a workout to lower body, and it’s my favorite kind of “strength training” so I’m excited to be doing it weekly again.

Saturday, July 19th
4-mile Run in 35:26
plus a walk before and after

How I Make My Half Marathon Training Plan

For each half marathon I’ve run, I’ve followed a training plan that I made for myself.  When I created my first training plan a couple of years ago, I started by looking through the most popular training plans out there – from Hal Higdon, Runner’s World, Jeff Galloway, etc.

I used the key concepts from those plans, incorporated my own research, threw in what works best for me (and my schedule), and went from there.

post hot summer run

Each training plan I make seems to work better and better as I learn what’s needed for an optimum training plan-  injury prevention, strength, endurance, and even time improvement, all without ever getting burnt out.

Here’s how I set it all up:

  • I print out a calendar (or make one by hand) – this is the easiest way for me to do it, but you can create it on your computer or phone as well, of course.
  • Choose which day of the week you’ll do your long run – I always choose Saturday mornings.
    The morning part is key since that’s the time of day the race will be and I can practice my breakfast/timing/warm-up routine, and there typically isn’t a time constraint on that day of the week.
  • Choose 2 weekdays that you’ll do shorter runs.  for me…
    Monday – an easy-paced run, typically 3 miles, two days after the long run so that my legs get a good shake-out.
    Wednesday – this is interval training day (highly beneficial! and something I’ve picked up along the way), typically a shorter distance run with either hill or speed intervals, also allows for 2 recovery days (from running) before the long run on Saturday.
    **this is especially important for runners who are working to increase their time – sprint intervals will improve your race pace!
  • Friday (the day before the long run) is a full REST Day.
  • Tuesday is for upper body strength training (lift those weights!) and a little core work (another essential part in injury prevention).
  • Thursday is lower body strength training (mostly bodyweight exercises for me) and a little core work.
  • Sunday is dedicated to at least 20 minutes of yoga (though I typically do this dvd) and typically a nice walk, too.  Do not avoid all movement on this day or your muscles will be *that* much more sore from the day before, which will trickle into the coming week and make all of your training more difficult.  Sundays are nice in that they don’t require too much time and are very low intensity – easy but important.

All in all, my typical training week generically looks like this:

half marathon training weekly schedule

half marathon running 10.21.12

Other Notes:

–> My longest training run is usually 11 miles.  I did 12 once, but I think it was unnecessary.  10 or 11 is sufficient.  Do this run 2 weeks before race weekend.

–> Life is unpredictable and schedules get busy – go with the flow and adjust your training plan accordingly that week.  Just be careful not to let it become an excuse.

–> If you have a decent running base, about 12 weeks is a sufficient amount of time to train, in my opinion.  It all just depends on what kind of a running base you have and what your goals are for that particular race.

foam roller

–> STRETCH STRETCH STRETCH!!  Do dynamic stretches before running, do static stretches after running (post cool-down).  Foam roll for a bonus/cushion.  I cannot emphasize this enough – it may not seem important at the time to stretch but I promise you it’ll help prevent injuries!

–> You can see down below in the October calendar what my final week of training looks like.  It’s very low-key!  It’s important to stay moving a bit but not overdoing anything.  I skip lower body strength training that week and implement extra rest time.  This has worked well for me the past 5 times so I’m sticking to it.

Here’s what my training plan looks like for this race:

half marathon training plan month 1

half marathon training plan month 2

half marathon training plan month 3

half marathon training plan month 4

A few other questions I’ve received about training:

How much is too much?

Most half marathon training plans I’ve seen call for 4-5 days of running each week.  For my very first half, I started out this way, but after just a couple of weeks I knew it wasn’t going to work – it was just too much for my body, so I created my own training plan.  Once in a while, when training, I’ll throw a random 1-mile jog into the mix that isn’t planned for, but ultimately 3 days of running per week works great for me.
So my answer?  Figure out what works best for YOU.  You won’t do yourself any favors by pushing too hard – you’ll know the difference between pushing to better yourself and pushing to overwork yourself.  Choose the former and your training and race will be great!

Can I stray from this plan at all or do I need to stick exactly to it to have a good race?

My recommendation is to complete these planned exercises, but add in whatever else you might want to do – add flavor to it!  For example, I love going to the Hip Hop Groove fitness class at our gym on Monday nights, and now that my work schedule allows for me to be there, I attend it after my run.  It’s a full night but I look forward to it each week and love it.  Also, each strength training day is open to interpretation – I switch mine up and I’d recommend you do, too!

By the end of each training plan I’ve done, I do start to get a little tired of it – mostly because I’m anxious to just do the race I’ve worked so hard for – but that’s part of it all.  Stick with it, adjust as needed, and keep pushing on.  Running isn’t easy.  Like I told Jesse, this will be one of the most challenging yet most rewarding things you’ll ever do for yourself.

Does running come easily to you?

Heeeeeck NO.  I’ve given up waiting for running to be easy for me.  Some of the runs I go on are enjoyable, but many are tough.  I mean it when I say that I have to work very hard at this.  But I’m so proud of myself every time I finish a run and it produces an amazing sense of accomplishment.  That’s what makes it worth it!

First Half Marathon finisher

{right after I crossed the finish line of my first half marathon}

Do you have a time goal?

These are the times of my previous half marathons:



1:45 <–PR!



This time around?  I definitely want to be under 2 hours, but I certainly don’t expect a PR – I’m just not that fast right now, coming off of a winter/spring with very little running, and I’m completely fine with that.  I’ll make more of a goal closer to the race, but as of now I’m thinking half marathon #6 can be done around 1:50.  Someday I’d like to break that PR though, it just may not be quite yet :)

Half Marathon #3 Finisher


If you have any questions or need clarification on anything, please let me know!

If you’ve run a half marathon before, did you create your own training plan or did you follow a pre-made one?  And how did it go?


Half Marathon #6 (and why this one will be extra special)

the real purpose of running

It’s official – I’m registered to run my 6th half marathon in October!!

In many ways, this race is like the others – I’m excited, scared, intimidated, hopeful, and anxious, all at once.  Running has yet to become “easy” to me (and I’m pretty sure if it ever does that means I’m doing something wrong).

But in other ways, this race will be very, very different.  I took the winter off of running, nearly completely for a couple of months, and since March(ish), run low weekly mileages.  I soon start on my training plan for this Fall race though, and I can’t tell you how excited I am to face this challenge, again, head-on.

This race will be extra special….not just because of what I’ve learned about myself in the past year, but because my husband is running it, too :)

Jesse is registered to run his very first half marathon!

I told him it’ll be one of the most challenging, most rewarding things he’ll ever do for himself.

My aunt is running the FULL that day, and more family members/friends may be running that weekend, too.

There are butterflies in my stomach when I think about it, and I can’t wait.

you're a runner - by Nike

Lower Body Workout for Endurance & Strength {workout log: 2/2 – 2/8}

Sunday, February 2nd
20-minute Walk with incline intervals
2-mile Run (16:18)
15 minutes Elliptical intervals

Monday, February 3rd
Upper Body + Core strength training workout

Tuesday, February 4th
15-minute Walk
3-mile Run (24:51)
20-minute Walk

Wednesday, February 5th
rest day

Thursday, February 6th
lower body workout, 3 times through:

Lower Body Workout for Endurance & Strength

plus this core workout sequence, 3 times through:

30-second Plank
15 Crunches (on the ball)
15 Reverse Crunches (on the floor)
15 Side Plank Dips (left side, then ride side)
30 Jumps (like jumping rope but without a rope ;)

Friday, February 7th
60-minutes Walk with incline intervals

Saturday, February 8th
10-minute Walk
1-mile Run (8:01)
10-minute Walk
1-mile Run (7:58)
10-minute Walk
35 minutes Elliptical intervals