How can I help you?

How can I help you?

What are your running goals?

What do you struggle with?

What are the things that keep you from reaching your potential as a runner?

What would help you enjoy the journey of being a a runner?

Are there questions you have about training that you have yet to find the answers to?

Please comment below.  I will read all comments.  These comments will help shape the posts in the coming weeks.

Thank you.



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  • http://curacingteam.com Brandon Smith

    I always am trying to get every last ounce of benefit out of my long runs. I know how important aerobic benefits are and I feel like I am missing out on possible improvements if I don’t run my long runs hard. I treat it as a hard day and surround the day with easy running on both sides. Is it most beneficial to run long runs so hard or would it be better off to back off and run a more neutral pace like I see many other runners do? I believe there is a good research to support olympic lifting for power development. At what point in your opinion are runners ready for olympic/power lifts? I know Steve Magness has published some good stuff in RT about “training to kick”. As a 27 year old runner with no college experience I have tried these methods on myself and still found at mile and 5k effort that holding pace left me too exhausted to kick at the end of a race, while other college runners with more speed will pass me in the closing meters of a race. Any thoughts are great. Thanks for all you do.

  • mike nielsen

    What are some good workouts for 5km training?

  • Eddie Sahyoun

    speed interval training for a half marathon, preferably a progression run type. Let’s say mixed into a 75 minutes run.

  • Patrick Carroll

    I would love to better understand the importance of Tempo/Threshold work in the competition and peaking phases. Where and how do you fit it in for your athletes late in the season when the focus is more geared towards races and race-specific work?

    How does it differ for a miler vs a 5k-10k runner.

  • Dave chanter

    Hi jay
    I have a female athlete marathon runner who has recently PR at 3:10 marathon and 1:29 half iam looking to improve her speed endurance encouraging shorter races and we are currently doing sessions such as 10 x1 k@ 4 ins off 90 secs and 16×60/60 also introduced the progressive long run however my concern is that she wants to run an ultra (34miles) in June and I don’t want to do over distance runs iwas contemplating continuing with the prog runs maybe up to 24 miles and on alternate weeks doing back to back long runs eg 12 Saturday 18 Sunday to run depleted would you suggest this format or long first then medium would appreciate your input have also tried to implement ancillary work into the schedule ultimately the goal is to go sub 3 in the marathon thanks in anticipation dave

  • Coachcuthbert

    academic question…I would love to get your take on Steve Magness’ new book Science of Running. I find it persuasive but wondered how his opinions on the value of VO2Max and neuro-muscular limitations were seen by a wider audience.

  • Jen Paulson

    I have bad knees. Started in high school with a broken patella. Had piece removed but tore up a lot if cartilage(120+cc’s removed). Several years later had the ligaments surrounding knee tightened. Fast forward 17 years and it is failing again. Patella feels loose, clicks, and occasionally locks briefly. What is the best path to take with injury. Orthopedic, sports doc, chiro, massage… The choices are vast. Obviously I want to keep running! Should I just keep running to strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee cap? I am returning from my fourth pregnancy and don’t want anything setting back my training.

  • Ryan It’s T-Time Tripicchio

    I know you were waiting for Jay to comment but I definitely have some thoughts on the matter. If we’re taking it in the context of your 75 minute run a good progression run might be 10 minutes at easy pace to settle in, then doing a fartlek of 2 miles at goal pace, then 0.5 miles active recovery (in terms of time maybe 20 minutes at goal pace followed by 5 minutes at recovery). If you wanted to make it more of a progression maybe start at date pace and then each run go faster until you hit goal pace.

    My other favorite that’s a little more long distance oriented was to do half of a lactate threshold workout (let’s say 3×1000 at threshold pace with 1 minute recovery) then go out for a long run and then come back and do the other half of the workout back on the track (3×1000 at T). That way your legs get the feel of running faster when you’re tired.

  • Ryan It’s T-Time Tripicchio

    Brandon,

    What distance are you training for specifically?

  • Ryan It’s T-Time Tripicchio

    Jen,

    I used to be plagued by knee injury quite a bit. Two things that ended up making a world of difference for me: one Jay’s eight week strength progression. One of the best ways to fix what’s going on in the knees is to strengthen the hip flexors to make it more stable. The second thing is to change up your form. I used to really over stride and strike hard on my heels. Now I hit more midfoot with my feet striking underneath my hips. I’d suggest taking a look at goodformrunning.com as a good place to start. Good luck and don’t stop running!

  • http://curacingteam.com Brandon Smith

    I was training for mile now 5k. I guess my overall question is, does training to kick impead your ability to hold pace and is the strength endurance workouts posted from canova/magness etc. the best way to enable a kick at the end of a race? Or is the difference that I am racing people with better developed anaerobic systems? I maybe I just needed more time to train to run the time I wanted. What things do coaches who coach athletes in competitions where a kick and pace are necessary to win a race do? Do you compete/coach Ryan?

  • Ryan It’s T-Time Tripicchio

    Yes I do coach and compete. 6 time marathon and I also coach cross country and track. I’ve found that a few things can help the development of a “kick”. One thing you could try is to add this 500m technique to the end of your workouts. On a track start at the 100m start line and take the first 200 fast, not all out but fast, then take the next 100 m at a slower pace, not recovery but not flying either. Then the last 200m let whatever you have left fly. This way you learn to run hard and fast when you’re tired (which is really what a kick is).

    I can also recommend “hammer intervals”. I learned this one from Will Freeman. Let’s say you’re doing 12×400′s at vVO2 max pace. The 9th and 12th intervals are faster than the others while the 10th and 11th go right back to the regular target pace. The benefit is again you learn to pick it up when you’re tired and you also learn how to shift pace in the middle of a race.

    In my general experience you can greatly improve your finishing speed by adding a few strides on your easy days. In regards to if Canova’s stuff causes you to lose endurance I think his athlete’s success at longer distances says otherwise. I think as long as you keep the focus primarily aerobic volume wise you can include the faster stuff no problem at all. Jack Daniel’s suggests anywhere from 5-7% of total volume for that kind of dedicated work (referred to as repetition pace in his book) but I definitely believe it has a good place in training, especially for a 5k.

  • http://curacingteam.com Brandon Smith

    Thanks Ryan,
    I will try out some of these training techniques. I think in my first training cycle I tried to combine too much variety in kicking techniques and confused my mind and body. I will keep things simple and keep working. Would also like to see you input, Jay. Though I realize you do not get spring break like many of us teacher/coach folks.Thanks again Ryan.

  • Bret Willhoit

    I am a high school coach and I am struggling with adapting to the hard days hard, easy days easy routine. For the length and intensity of the runs, that’s what I have always been doing. My issues comes with the supplemental work after the run. If we have a shorter, recovery type run, we have a lot more time left in practice to get in a variety of strength building activities, mainly resistance (weight) training. But then I wonder if that goes against the easy days easy plan. When we go long or significant amount of reps or intervals on the track, we have less time so we usually get in the Myrtle or other general strength work. We typically have about 2-2.5 hours of practice each day and I try to stick to that; with everything else these student athletes have going on. So I fear that if I was to truly implement the hard days hard route that we would have 3 hour practices and 1 hour practices on the easy days. Is there a way to have a somewhat consistent practice schedule and have hard days hard? Thanks in advance!

  • Nick F

    Hey Jay, thanks for the great videos! I have a question about integrating strength training into marathon training (both preseason and the 16 week leading up to the race). I have run 5 marathons, mostly Grandma’s and Mankato last year, and my best time is 4:20. My goal is to break 4:00 this year at the Twin Cities Marathon (October 5th). Most of the training programs that I find only have the distances to run, which is fine, I’m good at that, but I’m confused as to when to incorporate strength training (core, upper body, and especially with legs and plyo) and how much to do. Any advice would be great. Thanks! -Nick

  • Ryan Kindinger

    While I know each person is different, at some point distance runners probably start to fall into pretty predictable pace groups.

    Are there specific things you would suggest for each level of runner trying to drop their times and increase their overall fitness level?

    Tips for breaking 9:00/mile pace? Breaking 8:00/mile pace? 7:00/mile pace? 6:00/mile pace?

    I’m curious about what key points of advice you might have for me and the others in the 8:00 pace group, but also how your advice would change from group to group. There are countless articles and videos with tips and advice, but it’s sometimes hard to figure out what is most relevant and what to really focus on.

    Thanks for all of your help.

  • Nick Edinger

    For an experienced runner any information on workouts in the race specific phase of a 5k plan other than race specific intervals. (After a tone of anaerobic threshold, aerobic threshold, long runs, and some strides and alactic sprints.) Jack daniels repetition sessions? More threshold work? any more anaerobic miler type workouts like 8 X 400 with short rest? any days devoted soley to a sprints session? Thanks

  • http://coachjayjohnson.com CoachJay

    The long run can be run as a progression run – two out of three weeks you probably feel well enough to run the last few miles at a hard, but controlled pace. But on the third week you just get in the time on your feet.

    The research shoes that Olympic lifting improves muscle fiber recruitment. However…you need someone to teach you how to lift AND you probably don’t have the general strength right now to go into the weight room and do that type of work. Body weight to med ball to kettlebell to weight room work is a good progression.

  • http://coachjayjohnson.com CoachJay

    5 x 1,000m or 10 x 500m are both good because they add up to 5,000m of work. But make sure you have the long run and threshold work in your schedule when training for the 5k.

  • http://coachjayjohnson.com CoachJay

    This is a great questions Patrick. Love it. If you will allow me, I will save this for a blog post. Very good question and the spoiler is that you must keep in threshold work when peaking for a race.

    …but I don’t love the term peaking. http://www.coachjayjohnson.com/2010/01/peaking/

  • Nick Kallas

    Are tempo runs important for 800/1500 training, are these training types the same? Do all out 500/600′s (2-3) with full recovery (7-10) minutes benefit running a fast 800/1500?
    And how important is the long run day for this type of training?

  • http://coachjayjohnson.com CoachJay

    First, great job helping her to the 3:10/1:29.

    My first thought is to separate the Ultra racing from the marathon racing. Keep the Ultra racing fun and adventurous, then keep the specificity for the marathon in there. 24 miles is not bad marathon training, but you have to fuel near the end of it to make sure it’s still a safe run. I would focus on 3:05 marathon then shoot for sub 3 on a fast course.

    But that’s just me. Perhaps get in touch with Sage Canaday – http://sagecanaday.com/contact/ – as he has a solid marathon PR but is also a very good Ultra runner.

  • http://coachjayjohnson.com CoachJay

    I am only 10 pages in so I will need to get back to you. That said, the connection between the neuromuscular system and Running Economy are real.

    Here is an article I wrote on the topic – http://www.runnersworld.com/workouts/speed-development?page=single

    Here is the video – http://www.coachjayjohnson.com/2010/06/speed-development-running-times-part-1/

    Run fast and you recruit more fibers.

    …and I really likes this quote – https://twitter.com/coachjayjohnson/status/441956197956988930

    Full review in a month or two as I have a lot of work on my plate, but it’s going to be fun to read 10-20 pages at a time. Dense reading.

  • rleduc

    Training logs: what should go in them and how to actually use them. Everyone says “keep a log” – is it just purely anecdotal, or is there a better organized way to summarize data? How do you refer back to it – for what purposes? How is it actually used in practice. Some examples would help.

  • http://coachjayjohnson.com CoachJay

    I would do the full Wharton AIF and strengthening approach. You do AIF for 4 weeks then you start adding strength. I have a bad knee as well and I need to start doing it. Phil has had success with people doing this work and not need surgery. I’m biased because I love Phil and Jim’s work and because I produced the videos. But it’s great and it is worth a shot if you are willing to devote the time to it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfjMuUjZ2SA

  • http://coachjayjohnson.com CoachJay

    Great question Bret and I would like to devote a post to this. Bottom line is you can do some serious GS in short time. Try Core X – 5 min long. Give them 60-90 sec rest, then do it again. That’s 11-12 min and it’s great. But again, you deserve a detailed answer and I will get that to you soon.

  • http://coachjayjohnson.com CoachJay

    Good question. Simple answer – do this progression. This is what the people I coach online do. When they get to the point that this is easy then we add some more work. But this is a great progression and it’s safe. http://www.coachjayjohnson.com/2011/11/eight-week-general-strength-progression/

    Good Luck!!!

  • Ryan It’s T-Time Tripicchio

    Alright Jay, you said to post that email here so I will do my best.

    I recently moved up to Colorado last August and previously I had used Jack Daniels VDOT tables and McMillan’s Calculator to do a lot of my pacing for workouts, both for myself and my high schoolers. For example, I tried doing a cruise interval workout at 7000 ft and I struggled mightily with the pace that was suggested based on my fitness. Now that’s one thing when that happens to me but an entire new problem with my kids.

    I guess my question comes down to how do others judge what pace to work by in their workouts? I used to be a big believer in VDOT and McMillan but I’m starting to wonder if I’m better off doing all of my workouts for myself and my kids at date and goal pace? Or is there a place for those other paces in workouts as well as date and goal pace? And just for the record, I believe this question applies to everyone, not just those at altitude. How does one best adjust the calculator projections based on where they live or what the conditions on any given day are?

  • Ryan It’s T-Time Tripicchio

    Just to piggy back on the discussion I’ve been doing the eight week strength routine for two years now from the very start of training and its definitely the way to go. I’m working on adding the kettle bell and medicine ball routines to my training this summer but the 8 week is a great place to start and follow through to the end of the season.

  • Ryan It’s T-Time Tripicchio

    I’ve used training logs off and on over the past few years just by virtue of having a garmin that enters the info for me. I only add comments to it when I think I need to make a special note of it. I was recently at a clinic where one presenter suggested looking 2-3 weeks at training prior to an injury occurring. They suggested that could help you identify things to avoid in future. Other than that, if you want to look and see where you could’ve changed things for next season, that’s about the extent you really need to use it (in my humble opinion).

  • Tucker Horan

    I have a couple questions:

    First, I come from a high school with struggling XC and track programs. These programs are not competitive and are struggling to get kids to participate. How would you suggest increasing participation and getting high school kids interested in programs like XC and track? Also, once you get kids into the program, how do you to stay motivated? I understand that a lot of this depends on the kids and the coach, but I was wondering if you had any thoughts.

    Second, how long should you stick with a training plan that does not seem to be working? I understand that when you switch training plans it will take time before the body fully adapts and responds to that new training plan. But different athletes respond better to different training plans. Some athletes respond better to low mileage and faster repetitions (200 and 400 meter repeats) while other athletes respond better to high mileage and slower workouts (Mile repeats and tempo runs). Last May I began to slowly increase my mileage from about 20 miles a week to now when I run about 50 miles a week. I also run a lot more mile repeats and tempo runs than I used to and do not run nearly as many “faster” workouts. I’ve seen some improvement in racing (especially in longer races) but have not quite improved as much as I expected. I know there are a lot of generalizations made in this post but I was hoping you had some thoughts on the ideas I presented. Thanks a lot.

  • Kim

    My running goal is a) to run consistently with NO injury (mainly ITBS) and b) improve my speed.

    Every time I get my mileage up the dreaded ITBS kicks in and stops me running for weeks.

    I have been to private physio, NHS physio, had my gait checked, seen a running analysist who filmed me running (3d analysis too). I have also done a programme with a strength running coach…I have spent a fortune in total. Aand yet it still keeps coming back! I also do regular strength and flexibility and mobility work.

    I have twice tried to train for the marathon but both times the ITBS has kicked in once my long run got to about 12-15miles and the weekly mileage was 32miles +.
    So now, when I can get back to running my aim is to get faster, for 5k and 10k rather than aiming for a marathon.

    But mostly i’d just like to be able to run consistently without my IT band getting in the way!

    Many thanks.

  • Nick F

    Thanks Jay. I will definitely give this a go. Any advice as to frequency of these workouts? I’m running 3-4 times a week, so how many times do I add this progression per week? Sorry, I know it’s basic, but I’m struggling with coming up with a training program that is realistic. Thanks again!

  • Patrick Carroll

    Looking forward to the blog! Interesting read about peaking… What would Wetmore have to say about it?
    I’ve always been “careful” in training, not starting much work at 5000 race pace until weeks after the base phase is finished. I’ll be experimenting this next buildup with 3/4 workouts at 5000m pace and remembering to always keep Neuromuscular work in the mix.

    I’m hoping this will allow me to run faster earlier on and ensuring that my peak is the actual peak of my fitness level rather than just a rough sharpening of my base fitness.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Jay,

    What is the typical weight pattern you see in marathon training? Is it natural to lose weight, gain a bit of weight, etc?

    If trying to lose weight, when is the ideal time/diet practices to make that happen?

  • Ryan It’s T-Time Tripicchio

    Hey Tucker,

    On the first question, there is no easy answer. I’m in the same boat right now, trying to get a program started. You have to show them that you care and focus on trying to make it as much about them as you possibly can. If you’re the head coach, try to make the practice as mandatory as you can (within reason) and remove those that don’t want to show. I guarantee if you focus on the ones you can help that more will show up. As far as motivation, even as cliche as a team chant the beginning and/or end of practice is a nice way to start working on that. Having kids write out goal statements in the beginning of the season is a great exercise. I’ve also had a lot of success with a team “film night” to just get together and watch movies (Prefontaine or Without Limits is highly recommended).

    On the second question, probably more of a Jay thing to answer but that’s where a training log can come in handy. Looking back at what you did can help you see what you could do better in the future. I self coach too and I always question “what could I have done better”? If you just find that your changes aren’t helping after six weeks, mix it up and maybe do what you know works. I’d suggest reading Matt Fitzgerald’s “Run: The Mind Body Method of Running by Feel”.

  • Bret Willhoit

    Thanks for delving into this deeper. As a follow up, I usually do at least some GSM or related activities on the hard days, but I am wondering if I am doing too much on the easy days. Is resistance (weight) training ok on easy days? Or what do you typically recommend for ancillary activities on easy days? Thanks!

  • http://coachjayjohnson.com CoachJay

    I wouldn’t do weight training on the easy days, but rather GS. You can do a lot with GS. Hurdle mobility is a great thing to consider. I don’t have any videos at the moment shows Hurdle Mobility, other than this one – 2:20 mark has some hurdle mobility (HM) – https://vimeo.com/9224805. It’s great for both the core, but also for the hip flexors. I love HM for athletes.

  • http://coachjayjohnson.com CoachJay

    If you are running 4 times a week then that should be one workout and one long run. Do the Eight Week General Strength (EWGS) progression all four days, doing the “hard day” assignment following the workout and the long run.

  • http://coachjayjohnson.com CoachJay

    Hi Ryan. Is 8 min pace your long run pace? If so, how long is that run? Give me a bit more specifics and hopefully I can help.

  • http://coachjayjohnson.com CoachJay

    If you are workout Tues and Fri and then a long run Saturday then I would have one workout day be a threshold type stimulus, one workout day be race pace work workout and then a long run on Sunday. Value the long run – it’s key to running a good 5k, even though there is a lot of BS out there that will say otherwise. But for me the long run and the 5k are directly correlated – rock the long run and your 5k PR will follow. 20 miles on Sunday is not crazy…that’s what I did in college and my college coach knew when he was doing.

  • http://coachjayjohnson.com CoachJay

    I think weight lose and marathon training usually occur together, but not always. If you are doing General Strength (GS) and you are going to the weight room a couple of times a week then you could gain a couple of pounds. But the flip side is you want to be light when you run 26.2 miles. With that in mind, it might make sense to look at a mostly plant based diet. If you have a ton of carbs in your diet then you might look at getting the carbs in a nice balance with protein and fat intake. You need carbs to restore glycogen, yet pasta loading meals are a thing of the past.

  • Nick F

    Cool. Thanks Jay!

  • http://coachjayjohnson.com CoachJay

    I said this above, but the Wharton approach to both flexibility and strengthening has helped hundreds of athletes. That, coupled with seeing a therapist who can help you with some glutt strength, are my two main thoughts. Check out the Wharton links and videos above.

    I’m sorry you’re struggling but I am confident that the Wharton work will help.

  • Anonymous

    What kind of effect have you seen alcohol have on your athletes? Is it a barrier to weight loss if one has a beer with dinner?

  • http://coachjayjohnson.com CoachJay

    Probably a bit harder to stay lean as a beer drinker. There is a link between beer and lower levels of testosterone and that is obviously a problem.

  • Ryan Kindinger

    Jay, 8:00/mile is my current half marathon race pace. My recent long runs have been closer to 8:30–8:45/mi for 9–11 miles. Trying to do some tempo work around 7:30–7:45 for distances from 5K–10K. Thanks again for your help with all of the questions on this post. Lots of great training advice.

  • Michael Friedberg

    Hi rleduc,

    Jay brought this post to my attention and I thought I would offer my opinion. I have been using the training log as a key training tool for years as an athlete and a coach. If you have specific racing goals, the log is
    really your only method for keeping yourself accountable to the plan which you trust will get you to those goals.

    Let’s say that you want to run 31:15 for 10k, so exactly 5:00 pace (sea level, race conditions), you and your coach might agree that in order to run 5:00’s at your chosen race, a key workout will be your AT (Anaerobic Threshold) run. You will need to be able to comfortably run a bi-weekly 5 mile AT at your towns altitude, under full training volume, at 5:30’s or 27:30 for the entire AT. You would need to plan a series of these workouts over possibly many months in order to do your ultimate AT at 5:30 pace. You could just go to the track (or other measured course) every other week and start running 5:30 pace, and just try to make 5 miles, but that wouldn’t tell you anything about your fitness progression, and even worse you would be running at an effort well above threshold effort, so all fitness benefits you might hope to gain from these workouts would be jeopardized as well. So you might find it more logical to enter the entire series of AT workouts into a log as performance goals and then tweak your goals as you log the actual workouts next to the goals each time you complete a workout. Then you could monitor your progression and if need be adjust your race pace goal as well if you are exceeding or failing at the goal training paces.

    But wait, there’s more! Because if you are already tracking those key workouts (in my example the AT workout) you will probably find it helpful to put those workouts into context with a whole bunch of other things you can record into a training log. Weekly mileage is an obvious data point, but you can also track perceived effort, heart rates, hours of sleep each night, ancillary work, and tons of other things too…whatever you intrinsically know or suspect is a Key Performance Indicator of your running.

    I have been using spreadsheets to track my workouts and runs for years, spreadsheets are great because they are cheap (Google sheets is great, free, and easy to share) , they are easily expandable because you can
    add more columns if you want to capture more data and endless (well almost, I think most brands max at ~1 million records so that would buy you about 2500 years of training on one spreadsheet).

    Finally, I would just add that spending the 5-10 minutes it takes to log the day’s training session is well worth it because it is hard enough to be objective about the results of the workout that you did today, let alone
    one that you did 6 months ago. Your coach probably can’t remember every run you’ve done in the last year, and likely no athlete could remember each of those runs either. So bringing the log to your coach-athlete meetings is really the only way you could even have anything substantive to talk about. Remember the goal is to track performance and induce positive changes, and you can’t even begin to know if you are performing better unless you know how you are performing now
    compared to before.

  • http://coachjayjohnson.com CoachJay

    Mike is a good friend, former teammate AND he’s been on the podcast – http://www.coachjayjohnson.com/2014/02/podcast-024-mike-friedburg/ Thanks Mike for the thoughtful comment.

  • http://coachjayjohnson.com CoachJay

    The counterpoint to this is, of course, ultra-running stud Zeke Tiernan. Not only does he not keep a log, he doesn’t wear a watch. Zeke the Freak. http://www.coachjayjohnson.com/2012/08/podcast-010-zeke-tiernan-interview/

    Both Mike and Zeke will be running the Leadville 100 coming August. God willing, I will be there. It’s an amazing event – hard to describe the energy at 10,000 ft. during the race. Really special.

  • rleduc

    Thanks very much for that detailed and very helpful reply! Thanks also to Ryan and to Coach Jay for posting the link on twitter! I almost missed it! And to Coach Jay for more examples below.

  • Nick Edinger

    Thanks coach,
    I’ve tended to crush some long runs in my general phase but many people seem to advise backing off of them in the specific phase (run then easy just to maintain fitness). So u suggest continuing to run them hard every once and awhile?
    Doesnt interval work such as race pace and vo2 max stuff take away from your aerobic fitness? Or is it just TO MUCH of more anaerobic work take away from aerobic fitness? As I do my race pace work won’t I be getting worse at my long runs and threshold workouts? This is a notion that has often troubled me and is what a lot of experts say.
    Thank you so much for your time

  • Andrea

    Regarding your first question, growing a program has to start with your middle school kids. Here’s why: They are goofy, silly sometimes, but incredibly enthusiastic and can be molded as they get “hooked.” High school CC coaches who are willing to be an integral part of the middle school program, not just a figurehead, will also help grow a program–every kid wants to feel noticed by the varsity coach! Remember that twelve year olds are highly capable, but are still twelve. Keeping it fun, but being able to determine which kids want more serious workouts means a coach needs to be able to differentiate workouts and be flexible with expectations. Some of our young athletes still want to play soccer or hockey or basketball, and we respect that, so until they decide running is their top priority, we encourage variety. I hope this helps.

  • John Kenworthy

    Jay, could you either explain in text or create a video of your athletes’ hurdle mobility. I have decent experience with it but I would love to see the exercises you use, especially the more dynamic/plyometric ones, as well as the cues you’re using with your athletes.
    Cheers, and thanks as always,
    JK

  • http://coachjayjohnson.com CoachJay

    The video above is the best example I have of it. Although we have some from the Building a Better Running videos I don’t do the same exercise Mike Smith does so I need to shoot my own. Glad someone is interested as I would love to get this out to the public later this spring.

  • http://coachjayjohnson.com CoachJay

    LOVE this reply. Dead on and I agree with every aspect, especially respecting the love they have for other sports, yet if they know that the cross country and track programs have fun they often gravitate to running in high school.

  • http://coachjayjohnson.com CoachJay

    I loved Mike’s answer below and I don’t think I have much to add, other than you need to keep one to see patterns in your training. But don’t look at it going into workouts and then have the mindset that you must run faster than the previous time you ran the same workout. Some days we feel well, some days so-so and some days you feel poor. Can’t compare fitness from the day you feel poor to the day you feel well.

  • http://coachjayjohnson.com CoachJay

    A) keep the long run in throughout the cycle, but back off 10-14 days out. B) If you are nervous, then run easy for 60-70% of the run and then slowly squeeze down the pace in the final miles. But that said, I ran hard every Sunday in college and still raced decent. C) In the foundational phase you want to build up the volume of the long run the first week then repeat that volume week number two but run the progression long run.

    I think you are overthinking the VO2 workouts and anaerobic workouts issue. If you worked out two days a week and you are in your competition phase then one race pace or faster workout a week (so that will have you running near Vo2), one threshold stimulus and one solid long run. You can do that for many weeks. Then, the week before a 5k you could do a 5k workout one workout and then a workout where you run 5k pace for 70% of the workout and then try to get down to 3k pace.

    I hope this helps. Honestly, if you’re serious, this is where having a coach can help. But I will try to put up some resources later in the summer to better explain these concepts.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Tucker,
    Quick addition to the wonderful team building recommendations & insight from both Ryan & Andrea. In my case, I truly focus on “marketing” my program as a fun and inclusive team to be in. I dont work at the school, so I focus on these avenues to acknowledge our XC student athletes:

    - XC Gear/Clothing is designed to be the coolest looking gear at school. I want fellow students to stop the XC kids in the halls and admire their clothing. It sounds funny, but it helps the younger kids to be admired/noticed just the like the varsity studs. I design & order the gear, and it all functional training gear that can be used year round.

    - Championship Belt for our “Performers of the Week”, a belt for each gender as they are recognized for a notable racing achievement. We also post their pictures on Facebook and our Principal’s Twitter feed.
    - At our year end banquet, we give MVP shirts to the top performing JV & C team runners. These kids are acknowledged for displaying commitment and leadership skills that are crucial for team building.

    Basically, support these kids to feel special for participating in XC. Acknowledgement is important in building the social currency that lets kids feel special within their school/community and look forward to the upcoming year with dreams of improvement, enhanced commitment, and excitement to represent you program. Best of luck!

  • http://www.lawlesspursuit.squarespace.com the_chad

    How do you feel about an elite athlete doubling in the 1500 and 5000? Is there a stimulus or benefit to the 5k due to the “warmup” and faster pace of the 15? Or is the athlete taking on too much work by competing in the earlier event to race to her potential in the latter (assuming the races aren’t being considered merely for training purpose)?

    [Additional info: races are separate by roughly 1hr depending upon specific heats, at most 1.5hrs. 1500 is first. Athlete w/ PBs of 4:17/15:49 respectively. Weather of SoCal in mid-April]

  • Nick Edinger

    Thanks Jay,
    I am very serious and am looking for a coach but feel like I have limited options, not really sure what my options are for a guy at my level. I am hoping to run 14:20 this spring and have big goals of one day going sub 14 and qualifying for the trials (marathon probably). I am always obsorbing as much running info as i can and love learning about it and am a highschool coach myself but i think this actually harms me as far as self coaching goes. sugestions/options/steps i should take as a 23 year old trying to rise the ranks?
    Thankyou so much for your time.

  • Chris McD

    Any tips to improve my current 5k training?

    Mon: 2x3min@5:24, 2×2.5min@5:21, 2x2min@5:15, 2×1.5min@5:00 (2min rest)
    Tues: Recovery, easy 5 miler, strides, core work
    Wed: Fast 3 miles, moderate 2 miles (alter based on energy)
    Thur: Easy 5 miler (~ 6:30-7:00 pace), core work
    Fri: Incline 3x1mile repeats, 2×0.5miles, @<6min/mile (1min rest)
    Sat: 10 miler, core work
    Sun: Rest, pilates

    ALL: Stretch, GSM, and/or AIF!!!!!

    Thanks! Love your blog, tweets and posts!

  • Josh Stevens

    I found your article on “The Jump” to be incredibly helpful. This fall will be my senior year as a member of the high school cross country team. I started running cross country freshman year and track as a sophomore but have been plagued with injuries every season.
    I know that I have very poor external hip rotation, as well as tight hamstrings and quads. After analyzing video of my stride, I can tell that I over stride, causing some heel striking. For the most part, it has been hip injuries (near the glutes) that have held me back. I ran 600+ miles last summer and faired well until a few weeks into the season, when my hip started acting up.
    I feel as though I have the potential to run sub 17:00 and faster, but I just haven’t been able to “break out.” I am committed to working on GSM every day, taking strides seriously, and getting in plenty of fartlek work this summer. Do you have any advice on how I can stay injury-free make the “jump”?

  • David Adams

    Do you have an advice for dealing with achilles issues. I experienced achilles “tendinitis” when I was running in college. It took the better part of a year to fully recover. I’ve been running again for about 2 years after taking almost a decade off. The achilles issues have returned but not to the extent that they did when I was younger. I’m trying my best to prevent that from happening but also would like to keep training as best I can. Any thoughts would help. I have begun doing the pre run lungs that you demonstrated in a previous video. Thanks again

    David Adams
    South Carolina

  • Maxim

    Sub-treshold runs or treshold runs?
    I just finished the book Healthy Intelligent training by Keith Livingstone.
    He’s big sub-treshold runs aka steady state runs, he states they’re much safer than treshold runs. Should I completely replace all treshold runs with longer sub-treshold runs i.e. a much safer approach?

  • Anonymous

    Just finished my second marathon in 6 months and have done all of my training in Merrell Road Glove 2 and 3s (zero drop, 9mm cushion). I usually swap out for a new pair near 300 miles or so.

    I haven’t had any injury problems and besides my feet hurting badly right after the marathon (little to no pain the day after) I haven’t had many problems. Sometimes my feet are achey and hurt for a minute or two when getting out of bed, but that shortly goes away.

    Before I start my next training cycle, of which I plan to up mileage a bit, I was thinking of switching to something with a bit more cushioning. Don’t want to be foolish adding extra stress to the feet when not necessary.

    Thoughts? Should I just stick with what is working? If switching, what should I look for in a new shoe? Recommendations?

  • Tanner Burnett

    What would be the most beneficial way of getting back into running after being plagued with “dead butt syndrome” or gluteus medius tendinosis? I’ve been doing strength work on my glutes and I’m still having some pain on the side of my glute/hip. I’m thinking that maybe it’s caused from my running form. If you’re familiar with this usually uncommon running injury, do you know of any running form drills that could possibly help this injury go away for good?

  • Nikki g

    What are your thoughts on compression socks/sleeves and kinesio tape ?

  • Diane

    I’m discouraged because I spent all winter training for a marathon, and 13 weeks into my 20-week training schedule I was diagnosed with a stress fracture in my hip. I was following a custom training schedule from Jason Fitzgerald that incorporated exercises to strengthen my hips, because I have had piriformis issues in the past. I joined a gym to get cross-training, I took the scheduled rest days, I watched what I ate. Any suggestions for what I can do next time if I decide to try again?

  • http://coachjayjohnson.com CoachJay

    I really like the idea of running that is a touch slower than threshold pace. But that said, you first need to do some workouts where you learn your threshold and to be honest you should probably run some of those “wrong” and go faster than threshold. That’s how you learn what your threshold is – you run too hard and are trashed the next day. Next time out you get closer to the edge.

    But yes, in sum, I love the idea of running slower than threshold. And it sounds like I need to check out that book.

    …and I completely agree – you will recover much faster from running that is slower than threshold than running that is right on the edge of your threshold.

  • Amanda Rae Kutzke

    I’d love some advice to break into the coaching scene. I’d love to assistant coach cross country or track in middle school or high school, not sure where to begin to look for jobs and training. I don’t have a teaching degree or experience. Any advice on where to start would be wonderful. Thanks!

  • http://coachjayjohnson.com CoachJay

    Kinesio tape, when done right, is really good stuff. Dr. Richard Hansen is the person introduced me to it and it’s great. But find someone who knows what they are doing and then make sure they know how to apply the tape (i.e. I think they have to stretch it as they apply, then it pulls up the skin a bit and I believe there is lymph fluid that goes to the area because of that lifting of the skin…but I could be totally wrong).

  • http://coachjayjohnson.com CoachJay

    I’ll open this up on twitter and see what others have to say. Bottom line is that there is a need for passionate, knowledgable coaches everywhere…and even a bigger need for female coaches as most distance coaches are male.

  • Adam

    Check with your State’s Ohio department of education on what type of certifications/background checks/licenses you need to coach, then pursue them. Once you get those, contact local schools/head coaches and ask if you can be a volunteer assistant with the hours you can commit. I was a volunteer assistant for five years, but I got to know a lot of local coaches and then one recommended me for a head coaching job.

  • Dean Ouellette

    For me I started volunteering at an elementary school, reading everything I could, USAF training and started networking with smart coaches. Then I took on a job at a jr high for cross country and track. Then I had success and they offered me the high school job for cross and track. Now head coach of both. Keep networking and keep reading. There are some great coaches out there who will share all their secrets and tips over a pint or two.

  • Dean Ouellette

    I’d start by talking to some charter schools or private schools. Call and talk to the ADs. I know they are often looking for them around here. That’s how I got started. Had a deep background check that took a month so start early.

  • Summer Running

    Do you believe the summer is only good for long runs, strides, fartleks, and lots of aerobic running? or do you feel that there should be other things incorporated like mile repeats and threshold runs?

  • tdemrun16

    Saw you how does one get into coaching. Best bet, look at local school district websites. They always have things posted. As far as how you can help, I’m really struggling to get athletes to “buy into” the program. Maybe it’s better to say getting the ones who need GS the most to do it without me “yelling” at them.

    I’d be interested in discussing with other hs coaches what they do in the off season as well as during the season to develop strong 800m runners. Also, how to correct some of the “injuries” I deal with every year.

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  • Tanner Burnett

    What would be the best way to come back from running after 5 months of injury due to “dead butt syndrome” or gluteus medius tendinosis? I’ve strengthened my glutes which has helped but I’m wondering if my running form has caused this injury. Are there any key points in the running form that I should focus on to correct it and make this injury go away?

  • Tanner Burnett

    What would be the best way to come back to running from a 5 month injury due to “dead butt syndrome” or gluteus medius tendinosis? I’ve strengthened my glutes which has helped but I’m wondering if there are any running form problems that I might have that could cause this injury. If so, would there be any drills to do to correct my running form?

  • http://coachjayjohnson.com CoachJay

    Here is an article I wrote on summer training three years ago. http://www.coachjayjohnson.com/2011/06/the-jump/ I recently wrote and article for Runnig Times updating these ideas and that will be out sometime this summer. Read the article and then let me know what questions you have.

  • Dean Ouellette

    Absolutely train everything. After a short week or two off we spend 3 weeks or so doing those things to build up again. But from week 4 on we train all aspects. We do threshold runs, mile repeats for high school and 800-1200 m for my jr high. We so speed workouts pretty much all year around. Looking at the Alberto Salazar model of training all aspects year around.

  • Summer Running

    Hi Jay, I have a question regarding the lunge matrix. First off I have been doing the lunge matrix for a year now before EVERY run. I understand it’s a way to warm-up pre-run as well as get in some general strength however, I was curious if you are doing general strength exercises (like weights and lunges on your hard days after practice) is it still important do keep doing the lunge matrix? Or is the purpose of the lunge matrix being lost as you are now doing lunges before practice and then even more strength exercises like squats and lunges three times a week? I’m asking this because while I have not had any problems with the LM I find it a bit tedious to have to do the LM before my easy runs or workouts while my teamates are rushing me to finish so we can run or in some cases taking off leaving me to have to catch up to them lol.

  • Dean Ouellette

    I hear people always talking about having fun with your high schooling jr high team and to make running fun. I’m just curious, what other coaches think that actually means. Real examples. We have the 2-3 times a season playing ultimate frisbee, that’s fun. But what else are teams doing.

    To me I think the kids have ‘fun’ when they pr. They have fun on the track or the course when they lower their previous best by a few seconds. Then they smile and enjoy the results. But it’s talked about so often I’m wondering if I’m missing the boat somewhere.

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  • Juli

    Jay, I have an eighth grade son that just finished his track season. His best mile time this year was a 5:08 , with no competition. We live in a small community, 1A , in WA. He is interested in running cross-country in the fall and I was wondering if you could give us some tips on what he should be doing this summer to prepare for his upcoming HS career. Or point me in the right direction. His HS is not known for having a strong cross-country program…

  • Ryan It’s T-Time Tripicchio

    Dean,

    I think in the long run your definition of fun is where all programs should be. But I also think there is a great deal of fun to be had in getting to that point as well. I like to play ultimate frisbee too because physiologically it can get similar benefits to strides but psychologically kids can relax for a bit. I’ve done scavenger hunts, team movie nights, and other outings. Some coaches with greater results and more state championships than I have cut all of that out. I think you can do both.

  • Ryan It’s T-Time Tripicchio

    Juli,

    Jay’s article “The Jump” is a great place to start. I’ve used it several times with my own teams: http://www.coachjayjohnson.com/2011/06/the-jump/

    My only other suggestion would be to express interest to the HS coach that you’d like to hep make the program better for your son. Depends on the coach but sometimes knowing the support is out there helps get the ball rolling.

  • Doug Petrick

    We work with the HS level kids. We try and vary the locations, terrain, types of workouts get fun. I dont know if that is really what is “fun” but I am thinking “variety” might be what I think prevents the stale factor from rearing its head. We celebrate “athlete of the week” with a small prize- t shirt, socks, Kinesio Tape, this is for little victories and to recognize kids regardless of ability level. More ancillary items- stuff that kids may not be used to doing or comfortable with Rope Stretching, General Strength, Flex. We give workouts or runs weird names- Gorefillian & Bertha sound more fun than 5 mile steady & tempo run.

  • Tom Hooper

    I watched the video on whether or not taking an ice bath is beneficial by Dr. Messer. Recently, I have begun experimenting with compression socks. Intuitively, I would think that the same principle of adaptive stress applies with compression as well. Would you agree that it would be best to use compression on the easy/Recovery days?

  • https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.thunderbull_entertainment.realracer GT Racing

    I’ve recently come across a new racing app for mobiles, its name is Real Race: Asphalt Road Racing and it seems to be really like a simulator with arcade mechanics. Driving through dunes and steppes, avenues and lanes, it is like Need for Speed Carbon or Most Wanted, and as a matter of fact the newest part, NFS: Rivals.
    On a scale of 1 to 10 I’d give it a strong 8. Selection of features is almost staggering, and so is its replayability. Beating the leaderboards trully caughts you and you are right away drawn in. It trully reminded me of Fast and Furious. Above all it’s a good, challenging free game.
    There are no pursuits with the police, but maybe it’s good though as multiplayer feature gives awesome opportunity to prove your unparalleled underground drag racing prowess.
    On-screen high velocity gives an illusion of actually being there and hurrying with top drivers as seen in TV. Stress rushes are numerous.
    It has very advanced Artificial Inteligence and I’ve played already ten times in a row or so and it is still enjoyable and interesting. It is kinda cool to drive and overcome other racers on 6 or so maps. Game feels similar to grand prix with GT cars like ferrari or porsche.

  • cue sports

    Simply tap the display of your itablet and begin to strive for the awesome stakes of many players tests in this crokinole pool production. Anyway it is just the cue, the pockets, the 10 billiards balls and you.
    Thine pool artistry in pool will be tested in these copious challenges brought to you by this great development development company. Become the cue master either like a champion or in the arcade style presented here. Your campaign through disparate categories of snooker shall be awesome and deadly. As you will have to drop the 9 ball into the one hole you’ll have to use the freedom of view angle, as you can spin your display in any direction you wish. 2D artworks give edge to this aplication over its competition. The sheer amount of game types could bring you to your knees. This pool play offers you the decisive table test in numerous snooker halls all over the earth. Just you and the straight rails when you baffle the kismeth with your finesse.
    Luckily enough it has a training mode so you should work on your skills as long as you will feel the need to be the pro cue player in the known universe. Have a game of 8 ball, snooker or crokinole, whatsoever you prefer. Whether you come from the UK or France, there will be certain national variety of this awesome cue game.
    Crokinole or straight rail, this thing has everything. As 8 ball pool this is a awesome mobile aplication.
    The greatest pool on android market game ever! Mobile version of one of the best games at any point. Personalization of the gameplay is for the first time in gaming industry so sophisticated that other 9 ball pools can go and try hide and seek with their grandmothers.

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