11 Week Running Series starts TODAY!

By Alexandra Caspero on January 3, 2013

Welcome 2013! As another year comes to a close, I’ve been thinking a lot about this site and what I can do in the new year to to make it a bit better. While I love sharing my recipe and nutrition thoughts, I feel as I am in a bit of a rut. I want to keep this site moving and I thought it would be fun to incorporate more challenges and projects.

That being said,  I am so excited to announce my first project for this blog: DK’s Virtual Run Club. Whether you are a novice or marathoner, this running club is for you. For the next 12 weeks we will be discussing how to develop a running program, proper form, what to eat before and after a run, clothes, music, exercises and so much more!

Are you in?

This series will run every Thursday, starting today! I’ll also be posting workouts on facebook & twitter so make sure you are following! While this series will focus on running, you can adapt most of these strategies to whatever exercise is preferable to you: walking, swimming, biking, it ALL works.

Let’s start at the beginning, the very beginning. When I train new clients, many of them complain that they hate running. It’s too hard, too intense, whatever. I get it, running is not for everyone (see above) but the hatred could also stem from poor form. Improper form makes running more strenuous on your body, and therefore a lot less enjoyable. Proper form can help you run faster and reduce risk of injury.

Form Check:

✓ Look in front of you, not at your feet. Your gaze should be 15-20 feet ahead of you, anticipating where you are going and avoiding tripping on anything in front of you.

✓ Your toes, knees, and hips should all be in alignment, and that starts with feet pointed straight ahead, not turned out to either side.

✓ Imagine your foot divided in three: your heel, the middle, and your toes. Practice landing in the middle of your foot, not on your heels and toes. Most beginners tend to put too much emphasis on landing on their toes, which can overwork your calves and create shin-splits.

Relax your arms and hands. Clenching your fists leads to tension in your arms, neck and shoulders. Keep arms where the naturally fall, about waist level. Any higher and you might feel tension in your shoulders.

Maintain a neutral spine & pelvis. Keep your head up and shoulders level. As we tire, we tend to slouch over and curl our shoulders into our chest. This can lead to unnecessary neck & lower-back pain.

✓ Keep your stride low to the ground to avoid bouncing. The higher you lift your legs off the ground, the more shock delivered to your joints. Take short, light steps, like a shuffle.

I know it seems like a lot of steps, but making sure you have proper form is crucial to enjoying any type of workout program. Practice good form and eventually it will come naturally.

Now that we’ve got proper form down, let’s work on goals. What do YOU want out of this? If you’ve been running for a while, is there an upcoming race you’d like to enter? Setting a specific mileage goal can be a great way to motivate you and increase your endurance. Maybe you’d like to increase your speed?

My goal? I admit, I am selfishly doing this to get back into running myself. Since I teach a lot of group exercise, I don’t get as much me-workouts as I’d like. Running is as much of a mental workout for me as a physical one. It’s where I can be alone with my thoughts and plan out my goals. In fact- it’s where I got the idea for this project. I don’t have a specific mileage in mind, but I would like to start training for more 1/2 marathons. I’ll be honest. I’ve never been particularly jazzed about the idea of running 26.2 miles, I’ll leave that to the BLs of the world. I do love the thrill of a 1/2 marathon though and will be focusing on more long distance runs, more often.

If your new or somewhat new to a running program, what would you like to accomplish? Running a mile without stopping to walk? Training for your first 5K? Maybe it’s just increasing the frequency that you exercise, like me.

Whatever it may be, take a moment and think about your intention. That will help guide you as we tackle each week.

To help you get started, I’ve put together some basic training programs for running a mile, 5K, ½ marathon, and a marathon. These are only meant to serve as a guide, feel free to adapt them for what you need. You can add or take away as you see fit.

Let’s help motivate each other! What are your goals? Comment below! What would you like to see featured during the next 12 weeks? Let me know!

Master the Mile

Beginners 5K running program

Beginners ½ marathon program 

Intermediate/Advance 1/2 marathon program 

Beginners Marathon program

Intermediate/Advanced Marathon program

Ready Set Go

Ready, Set, Let’s Go


The Ultimate Plant-Based Protein Cookbook + Course

(Includes 40+ recipes!)


Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Chef, and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

(16 comments) leave a comment

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    1. Ella
      May 22, 2017 AT 2:19 pm

      Hi Alex, I know your a runner but sometimes I don’t like to run do you have any other excercise that would be good.

      1. Alex
        May 22, 2017 AT 7:49 pm

        Hi Ella, I think any exercise that you enjoy is the key. I like running but when I don’t, I usually turn to yoga, spinning, walking or taking a group exercise class. The activity doesn’t really matter, as long as you do it! Exercise shouldn’t feel like punishment 🙂

    2. Ultradrol
      August 14, 2013 AT 6:15 am

      Awesome blog! Is your theme custom made or
      did you download it from somewhere? A theme like yours with a few simple
      tweeks would really make my blog stand out. Please let me know where you got your design.


      1. DK
        August 14, 2013 AT 7:48 am

        Thanks! I had a graphic designer do it for me: mike@mikereda.com. Hope that helps! Thanks, Alex

    3. Kale
      January 6, 2013 AT 9:39 pm

      Great post! I can’t wait to ramp up my mileage in the new year!

    4. Laurie
      January 3, 2013 AT 8:44 pm

      As much as I am totally one of those “I hate running” people, I know it’s because I push myself too hard right off the bat and don’t give myself the time to train correctly and ramp up. I’ll be participating in a 10K in April and would love to be able to run the whole thing, without stopping to walk, even if it’s at a slower pace. I look forward to your training program and would LOVE some tips on eating during training-especially for those of us who aren’t training early in the AM, but rather after a long day of work (maybe even leaving straight from work? Pre-workout fuel? Etc). Also, what are your thoughts on training with music vs training/running without music?

      1. DK
        January 8, 2013 AT 9:29 am

        Thank you so much for the comment Laurie! Yes, I will be discussing music (week 3) and what to eat before a workout- no matter what time you head out for a run (week 4). Thanks so much for following, keep us updated on your progress for the 10K! Alex

    5. DK
      January 3, 2013 AT 5:44 pm

      Thanks Barbara for commenting! Hopefully this series will inspire you to increase your mileage- whether you continue with walking or try running!

    6. Barbara
      January 3, 2013 AT 5:35 pm

      2013 is a New Year for me and although I walk several miles during the week, I am not much of a runner – actually hate running, but will take on your challenge and try to increase my mileage by running my first mile tomorrow at the gym (or outside if the weather is nice). Love the idea and the post and will be sure to share. Great Job DK

    7. Carol
      January 3, 2013 AT 12:26 pm

      I’m ramping up my training for my first marathon.

    8. Katheirne
      January 3, 2013 AT 11:31 am

      I want to increase the frequency that I exercise and run 3-4x a week but I seem to be prone to shin splints!