Meet Coach Jenny Hadfield

Take a moment to meet one of our Horizon Fitness expert bloggers, Coach Jenny Hadfield!

Coach Jenny is a published author (her books include Marathoning for Mortals, Running for Mortals, and Training for Mortals), a coach, public speaker and endurance athlete. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology, a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science and is a certified coach and personal trainer. She is a columnist for, and has written for Women’s Running Magazine, Cooking Light, HEALTH, and Women’s Health. She was also recently recognized as one of Greatist’s 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.

An avid runner, Coach Jenny has competed in hundreds of running and adventure races all over the world, including the Boston Marathon, Eco-Challenge in Borneo, New Zealand, and Fiji, and the Inca Trail and Antarctica Marathons. Her unique coaching style draws from her struggles to get started in running to crossing the finish line at the Boston Marathon. Read more on her website.

We recently caught up with her (in-between her many running adventures) to ask a few questions:

How long have you been doing what you do? 

CJ: My career in running and fitness has been evolving for over 22 years.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone who wants to become healthier?

CJ: Surround yourself with a community of healthy people. Whether online, in a group at your local running store or gym or one-on-one with a friend, healthy living is contagious. You’ll learn their tips, receive support, establish camaraderie and have a built in source for accountability.

How would you describe your coaching/training style?

CJ: One word, flow. Everyone is unique, and what I most enjoy is helping people learn how to run their best lives. My philosophy is all about making your workouts and healthy habits flow with your life. 

Check out Coach Jenny’s most popular articles:

How to Start Running

Treadmill Workouts to Keep Workout Fresh

What to Do the Night Before a 5K Race

New to Running

Seven Benefits of Fitness Trackers

Easy Workouts While Traveling


New to Running

Now is the perfect time to start dipping your toe into the running waters to see if it’s right for you. If you’re not quite ready to commit to a 5K, but are wondering what it takes to get started, here are a few answers to your new to running questions. We also included a few helpful related articles for you to read that will help you take a deeper dive into each topic.

What do I really need to get started? One of the best things about running is its simplicity. You will need a good pair of shoes, but if you are completely new to running, for your first couple of runs, even a pair of cross trainers or older running shoes will see you through. Head out for a 15 minute run/walk in whatever athletic shoes you have and commit to buying a decent pair of running shoes over the weekend. A good running store can help you determine your foot strike and appropriate footwear, knowing that most new runners will benefit from more stabilization or cushioning (leave the minimalist shoes for the veterans). As you get more committed, a running watch or heart rate monitor are nice additions. As you stick to regular runs, consider adding a GPS or pedometer style running watch or monitor to your list, to allow you to better track your pace and mileage. (Related: When to Replace Your Running Shoes)

What should I wear? Aside from the shoes, just about any comfortable clothing will see you through your early runs. Once you start to add in higher mileage and frequency, runner specific clothing that includes more support, less chafing (you’ll know when you need this), wicking, and better options for insulating during winter runs are nice additions. For winter runs, dress in layers, keeping a wicking later near the body and a wind resistant layer on the outside. You can add in a layer for insulation when it’s cold enough. Dress as though it’s 20 degrees warmer than the actual (plus windchill) temperature, since you’ll be warmer from running.
(Related: How to Wash Your Workout Clothes)




How far should I run? Initially, shoot for time, rather than mileage. Start with a run/walk plan that gets you moving for 20 minutes (including warm-up and cool-down). Add on a minute or two every week until you get up to 30 minutes total. Be careful about adding on too much time or speed too quickly, sticking to no more than a 10% increase every week. While it takes longer to work up to your mileage, it saves you from being sidelined by shin splints or injuries. (Related: Coach Jenny’s Zero to Running Program)

How often should I run? Give yourself at least a day to recover between your runs. Your initial running plan should be two to four days per week. On non-running days, use your indoor cycle or elliptical trainer to reduce soreness or round out your program with yoga or strength training. This continues the benefit of daily activity without introducing too much stress on your muscles and joints. (Related: Best Surfaces for Running)

Have fun! Get started on running now to set yourself up for a healthy and active winter. The most important step you can take is the one that gets you out the door. Enjoy the simplicity of running and feel free to add in more equipment and clothing to reward yourself along the way for sticking to your commitment.
(Related: 5 Ways to Keep Running Fun and Boost Motivation)

Join the Sofa to 5K Challenge


Have you ever wanted to run a 5K race? Well now is your chance! In just 10 short weeks, Coach Jenny will have you up and running — and well on your way to completing your first 5K.

The easy-to-follow, 10-week Sofa-to-5K training program begins Monday, September 15, 2014 and ends with running a community 5K by Sunday, November 30, 2014.

When you sign up, you will receive weekly email updates from Coach Jenny during your training, including workouts and helpful tips to completing your first 5K. We also invite you to join the Horizon Fitness Sofa-to-5K Challenge Facebook group for even more exclusive help from Coach Jenny, including real-time answers to your questions.

Once you complete your race, visit the Sofa to 5K Challenge Facebook page to upload your race photo and story of how the Challenge changed you and you will be entered to win a Horizon Fitness treadmill, elliptical or exercise bike . All participants will also receive a custom Sofa to 5K t-shirt!

First things first: sign up by visiting the Sofa to 5K website. You’ll also find a welcome video by Coach Jenny, a sample training plan and the official contest rules. Also don’t forget to sign up for the challenge group – a great way to find support and motivation during the program. Join us here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]