Please feel free to contact me at if you have a question you would like to see answered on the blog. I tend not to communicate via Facebook. I do communicate via Twitter, but I prefer email.

I can’t guarantee you a detailed response but I will do my best to answer your question.

  • Felix32

    The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in our body. The nerve starts at the back of the pelvis and runs downward through the hip area and buttocks into each leg. Sciatica is pain along the sciatic nerve. It usually results from compression of nerve roots in the lower back.

  • Jordan

    Coach Johnson,  besides the fact that the bent is faster than the straight, what is the difference between the Linear Leg Swing straight and linear leg swing with a bent knee.  Basically what I am asking is what is the purpose of doing both besides the change in speed?  Is there any different type of muscle recruitment?

    Thanks and love the site and vidoes. – Jordan

  • CoachJay

    This is a great question Jordan.  The only reason I assigned the bent leg in the Myrtl Routine is that I wanted a something that felt a bit quicker and might challenge the range of motion in a way that felt natural to a runner.  Also, there is the idea of “juicing the joint” meaning that you might get a bit more snyovial fluid in the hip by working it a bit faster.  

    I love your thinking regarding recruitment, but that wasn't the idea.  I simply wanted to finish with something quicker to challenge the range of motion.

  • guest

    Hi Coach Jay, I am going into sixth grade and am starting cross country running ad track and field. I am a good sprinter but I am really out of shape. I also would like to become a better distance runner, but after a mile, I get a stitch in my side and I have to stop. How can I become a better runner overall? I'm tired of hearing “Practice, Practice, Practice…” 

    Thanks for your time– Will

  • CoachJay

    Hi Will.

    I think you should do two things.  You should find a local coach who is interested in developing you as an athlete over the next 6-7 years.  Some coaches really enjoy this process and you'd be well served to find a coach who has a long term view of training and can help you with a long term plan.

    Second – and you may not like this – you'll have to run to become a better runner, so the “practice, practice, practice” advice is good advice.  

    Finally, make sure that you love running.  There are other sports and activities you could be doing and at this young age it's a good idea to do a lot of activities while you run a bit.  The key is that you're active…rather than playing video games.

    Good luck Will and thanks for writing in.

  • Grace

    Coach Jay,
    I have a problem.  I am a middle school cross country runner and run 3.5 to 5 miles 6 days a week.  My team just starts practice tommorow but we can only run about 4 miles a day no matter what.  Also, we do homework(speedwork) once a week and  I was informed that that is not a good way to train at my age.  What do I do?  Thanks, G

  • Greg

    Hi Coach.
    As I've said in the past, love your site.  Any suggestions for those of us injured and told no running (or biking or elliptical) for THREE weeks!?  Broke my little toe and was given permission for the pool only, as the Doc did not specify what I can do in the pool I've taken up running in it.  I have one of those funny belts and other then pretending to run, I have no idea what I should be doing.   Oh and did I mention in 9 weeks I'm running the NYC Marathon…… !

  • Ric

    Hi Coach Jay!  I love your website and really appreciate all of the info you've made available to us.

    I recently started training with a heart rate monitor and have come to the realization that a large majority of my training has been anaerobic based on my average heart rate vs max heart rate.  My question  is how much time would you devote to aerobic base training especially since I've never done base training before?  I'm training for the Chicago Marathon in October and usually take a break from events until April for a local 10-miler.  I've read anywhere from 6 weeks to 8 months is recommended and just wanted to get your take on this.


  • Scott

    Hey Coach, I have a question for you. When running hills,
    what is the best running position to be in for maximum efficiency and speed? My
    reason for asking is another coach and I have different philosophies about
    technique when running up hill. His take on form while running up hill is that
    running tall with your hips underneath you is most effective and efficient. Mine,
    on the other hand, is that your upper body should be slightly bent forward with
    your hips shifted slightly back.

    My rational for the above reasoning is that your upper body,
    I feel, should somewhat mirror the terrain that you’re running. An example I
    used was if you were rock climbing up a wall you would want your upper body to
    be as parallel to the wall as possible for maximum efficiency while climbing.
    The more perpendicular your upper body became to the wall the less efficient
    your body becomes. Speed, I further explained, would have similar effects for
    the same reasoning.

    His example was climbing stairs. He stated that if you were
    climbing stair it would be easier on your body if your hips were under you and
    you were standing tall. Further, short choppy steps would be most efficient.

    In refuting this claim, I feel that when you climb stairs
    you are most efficient when your upper body is bent forward, and matching (as
    reasonably as possible) the angle your body is traveling. Your hips, as mentioned
    in the hill running scenario should be slightly back. I further feel that if
    the energy that you are producing works in the direction that you intend to
    move both efficiency and maximum speed should be obtained. In other words, if
    the energy produced paralleled the terrain, rather than projected in a
    direction other than intended, maximum efficiency would be achieved.
    Can you help in giving your take on this dispute amongst
    Thank you for your time

  • Ikez78

    Hey coach, great article in running times about pre and post run work. I was wondering if you could post a picture of the groaners mentioned in the story.

  • Jay Johnson

    It's supposed to be “groiners.”  I haven't seen the print article yet but I'll get a copy and get back to you.

  • CoachJay

    Hi Grace.  I'll be answering your question as part of my Nike posts.  I'll link to it when Nike posts the reply.  Bottom line is speedwork is a good thing for a young runner.  Yes, you'd be better off to run different distances than just 4 miles every day, but at your young age it's not the end of the world to do that during the season, then go back to your approach to oscillating the mileage.

  • Jonathan Rogers

    Hi Coach Jay,

    I've been following you around the web for ears now and really enjoy all the articles, videos and insights you share. Keep up the great work.

    I am running my second half marathon this weekend – London's Nike Run to the Beat. I expect to average an 8 minute mile.

    I hope to run the London Marathon next year which I would start a training plan for at Christmas.

    What should I do in between completing the half on Sunday and starting training at Christmas for the full marathon.


  • Mike

    Coach Jay,
    Is there a standing-only version of the Myrtl routine?  I often finish a run in places where lying on the ground isn't practical.

  • Rossg10

    Hey Johnny , I just saw your post and was in a similar situation this year. Ran a half in January and am running NYC marathon in novemeber . I can tell you from my own experience/mistake, I should have kept up my long run. I dropped back to a max 10 mile after the half and let it stay there until the marathon training started in July. In retrospect I should have slowly let it go up, maybe 10% every other week. I got injured a few weeks ago and had I got my long run up higher, sooner, I'd be in a better place now for November.
    Just my inexperienced 2 cents

  • Sally

    Hey Coach Jay,
    My daughter runs high school XC and lately complains of almost peeing her pants towards the finish of a race, so much that she has to slow her pace or else.  She is free and clear of any medical issues.  She has raced for a few years so knows the proper hydration/port o potty before you race drill.  Is this a common issue in XC for girls?  Any suggestions as  to what she can do for this?   

  • Jonathan Rogers

    That's interesting very Greg. I ran the half yesterday in 1:39 which was significantly faster than I was expecting (around 1:50). I'm running the best I ever have at the moment so I'm quite keen to keep building. Thanks for the comment.

  • CoachJay

    Hi Sally.

    Wow…what an upsetting issue for a high school athlete to deal with.  I've seen athletes defecate near the end of the race, which is obviously upsetting as well.

    Hopefully someone here will have some advice…maybe there is a doctor who is reading.  I personally don't have any suggestions, other than the fact that some athletes, out of nervousness, tend to sip a lot of liquides in the hour or two leading up to a race.  Hydration is something you can do over several days; as long as she's done a good job hydrating in the days leading up the race, she should be able keep the amount of fluids she's brining in 60-120 minutes before the race to a minimum.

    Again, sorry to hear about this and hopefully someone can help us out.

  • CoachJay

    Sorry for the delayed response Mike.  

    I think the key with when you can't be on the ground (which is a common issue with this routine) is to simply do all of the exercises you can do standing up.  Leg swings are better than nothing and they're good for the hip girdle area.  Also, if you do the lunge matrix along with the standing elements of Myrtl you have a nice warm-up.

    Myrtl -

    Lunge Matrix -

    Thanks for the question Mike.

  • CoachJay

    Thanks for your 2 cents Greg.  Couldn't agree more.  Keeping that weekly long run in is a great way to maintain fitness…but it's also the one workout that simply takes time to ramp up.  Can't go from the 10 mile long run to the all important 20 mile long run in a month.

  • Sarah Haskins

    Hi, as a former high school runner and current triathlete, I know this problem is very common with women.  I believe that when you are running very hard you lose control of your bladder muscles.  Women have a much shorter urethra and their muscles are weaker around the base of their bladder, so they can't control their muscles when exerting to a maximal effort.  This seemed to happen more often when it was hotter for me.  I know this is very common, but I am sure most women just don't really talk about it.  I would tell him/her not to worry about it and bring spare clothes and have a water bottle handy at the finish line to pour over!

  • Stephanie


    This does happen to many female runners, including myself when I was in high school. It's from a weak pelvic floor. (I think) it happens during a hard running effort because all of your muscles are tired. To strengthen the muscles in this area, you can do Kegal exercises. There is a lot of info on this online, but the best way to describe it is like when you stop and start your urine flow while (normally) urinating.

  • CoachJay

    Congrats Jonathan!  Really happy for you.

    I think you should keep running…even if it's only once or twice per week.  You don't want to loose the 1:39 fitness that you have and you can only do so much by cross training.

    Plus, do you enjoy running?  If so, don't worry about burning out with training – just keep it mellow.  Maybe 3-4-5 days a week.  A weekly long run is key and then probably one workout a week.  Also, you want to be doing strides weekly to keep your turn over.  They should be at 5k pace or faster.

    Let me know if you have any other questions.

  • CoachJay

    Thanks so much for sharing Sarah – great help and no doubt just hearing that it's common will be reassuring for this high school athlete.

  • CoachJay

    Thank you for the specific advice Stephanie – really appreciate it.

  • CoachJay

    Here are some thoughts -

  • CoachJay

    Hi Ric.

    I you love to run then that's too much time to take off from running.  At the very least, do a weekly long run.  Next would be to run 3-4 days a week, with two easy days, one day with strides and one weekly long run.  Finally, you can go by feel – one week you might run 6 days, the next week only 3 days.  But if you want to reach your potential as a runner you need to run year around.

    Hope that helps and enjoy your running.

  • CoachJay

    So sorry to hear about your toe Greg.

    Good news is that you found the best cross training for a runner – pool running.  Most specific form of cross training and obviously no impact on the foot/toe.

    …but the one downside is that most runners find it incredibly boring.  Sorry – that's just the way it goes.

    Good luck with your preparation for NYC and I hope the toe heals fully.

  • Katiejoy29

    Kegels, kegels, kegels

  • Jonathan Rogers

    Thanks so much for taking the time to reply.

    Yes I do enjoy it – I'm taking the week off from running this week for recovery but I'm already itching to go out ;)

    I can fit three runs in to my week quite comfortably. I shall definitely add strides in to my running. I have really enjoyed doing a few Fartlek runs this year. With my aim to run the London Marathon in April next year should I continue to increase the mileage on my long runs up to marathon distance starting now?

    Thanks Jay

  • CoachJay

    What is your long run right now?  One of the keys for the marathon is getting in as many 20 mile runs as you can…and maybe even one or two runs longer than 20 miles.  The more time you have to build to that 20 mile run, the lower the risk of injury.  Thus, if I were you, I'd make it a point to keep that long run in weekly and, over time, build it up so that eventually you can run 20 miles for your weekly long run.

  • Jonathan Rogers

    Last couple of long runs prior to the half have been 12.5 miles. It'll be exciting to start running above half marathon distance! New ground as it were.

  • Sam

    Hey Jay,
    Which training philosophy do you mostly use or think is the best? Lydiard, Daniels etc?

  • Ayla

    Dear Jay Johnson,

    I am a coach for a high school cross country team in England.  I have been coaching for 3 years and have a fantastic group of coaches and runners!

    I would like your advice on how to get my higher talented and motivated runners to the next level (without injuring them or burning them out)

    Our current workout is as follows: (we are up to 45mins in the 5th week of our 12 week season)

    Monday: Tempo 10mins level 2/3, 8mins level 4.5, 10 mins level 2/3
    Tuesday: Hills 1×80 sec sprint, 2×60, 2×40, 3 mins active recovery, 2×60, 1×40, 3 mins active recovery, 1×40
    Wednesday: Distance 45mins
    Thursday: Intervals 1x1000m, 5x500m
    Friday: Rest
    Saturday: Race 5k
    Sunday: Rest

    We do abs work 2-3days per week.

    Any guidance and advice would be wonderful.


  • Beebetj

    Coach Jay,
    I'm a sophomore runner for the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.  In high school my team did a lot of different routines in the weight room with weights as well as with physioballs, medicine balls, and ankle bands.  However, in two years I will probably be working overseas and won't have access to a weight room.  What do your runners do for strength training besides the “general strength” training routines on  Do they hit the weight room?  How often do they do core work? How often do they do kettleball work vs. physioball vs. circuits vs. general strength routines? Do you have any functional strength training programs that your runners do besides the “general strength” series on
    Thanks for your time and effort for this site!

  • Usccrosscountry

    Coach Jay,

        Happy thanksgiving.   I am an avid reader of your site- I am a teacher/coach at a high school for physics/cross country/indoor/spring track & field.   I am head coach for all three, and have been incorporating ideas/workouts from your site for the past 2 years.

        My question/comment is a little off the beaten path and a little more personal.   I am a recreational runner, and do a few 5ks a year- and usually run in the 19-20 minute range.   I have had problems with a morton's neuroma in my left foot for the past 2+ years.  I have had cortisone shots, and this past go round took about a month off and was fitted for orthotics.   It has taken my feet a while to adjust to walking with the orthotics- I am still not ready to return to running.

        My question for you is have any of the athletes you have trained and/or worked with experienced a neuroma?  I have dealt with the normal runner injuries- shinsplints, IT band, etc. – that have subsided using the general strength exercises, but this neuroma is something that seems to be here to stay.  Just wondering if you had any experience with neuromas in the foot.   Any information that I find online is mixed in terms of how this will change my running long term.

       Have a nice day and thanks for all you do with the information you provide.

  • Pingback: Page not found |

  • Pingback: Strength Training for Runners – Part 1 |

  • Greg

    Got the DVDs as gifts for Christmas and have spent the last few days watching and re-watching. Id love to say that I have been doing regualr exercises besides running, but I'd be lying. After an injury laden few months (ok… Years) I want to make the most of the exercises from the videos. Now I'm farmiliar with the Mrytl routine but I was going to start with the Back Routine from Volume 1. Is it safe to say that by starting with 5-10 reps with maybe 2 sets is a good “break in”? I don't want to go too hard and get frustrated and I don't want to do too little.

  • green cleveland coach

    800m vs. 1600m vs. 3200m
    I take race day conditions into consideration a lot.  Being in Cleveland near a lake, in March and April, we have tons of wind and very chilly temps.  My team also has not had any seasoned distance runners since I became coach last year.  All that said, for 1600 and 3200, in large meets where I know there are at least a couple teams with runners who can really mash, I tell my best to get out quick with them and draft.  Fatigue on lead runners in the wind we experience is very rough and we can benefit a great deal from hanging tough and getting up in the rankings as high as we can.  If the race was in a vacuum and I had fast seniors running on my team (not avg sophomores) or even a large team where sophomores and juniors could really push each other, I’d say (1,600/3,200) run the first turn hard on a little adrenaline, settle into your fastest sustainable split and run the mid section of the race at even splits, then empty the tanks at the last 200m.

  • Tfrancl49

    Coach Jay: when are the new DVDs going to be available? Looking forward to them, the strength training DVDs were outstanding. 

  • CoachJay

    Definitely working to release new DVDs this year – hopefully by this spring.  Stay tunned!!/RunningDVDs/

  • Ryan

    Coach Jay, I have a question regarding arm swing. I recorded some videos of me running so I can analyze my form. The biggest thing that stuck out to me was that my arms do not fully extend back, which seems to cause a rotation to my upper body. Some of the videos that I have watched of fast runners, their upper arm seems to be close to 90 degrees away from the body before coming forward. I think a possible reason for this is that I am more bulky than your average runner, before I was a runner I was into lifting weights. What can I do to fix this? Should I do some sort of upper body stretching? 

    Thanks. – Ryan.

  • Ryan

    P.S. – I meant to add that when I just try to extend my arm back to where I want it while just standing, it is quite difficult. My upper body flexibility is clearly limited, thus why I was wondering about stretching.

  • Alex

    Coach Jay,

    I have a question regarding the scheduling of general strength on hard vs easy days.  I have been a subscriber to your philosophy of making the hard days hard and the easy days easy.  Logistically, this has meant the more challenging routines on workout or long run days (as you prescribed) and lighter routines on easy days.  

    I was recently exposed in some literature to the idea of moving more intense core strengthening sessions to easier days.  The proponents of this approach suggest it because of central nervous system fatigue:  since so much of core strength involves balance and coordination (in accordance with the principle of specific adaptation to the imposed demand), it is ideal to perform these exercises at a time when the CNS is fresh and not fatigued.  What are your thoughts on this concept?

    Thanks for your time.  Your site is a terrific source for the running community.

  • Ajguckian

    Coach, it seems that all your nikerunning links lead to dead ends from your videos. I’m trying to get the PDF’s to reference, instead of carrying around my phone. Was just wondering if I’m missing something with the links.


  • CoachJay

    I wish those links to the PDFs still worked, but Nike changed their site a few years ago and there are no longer working links.  However, soon you’ll be able to buy many of the same videos for a $1.00 from and store them on your phone.  We should have the those videos up in a few weeks.

  • Ajguckian

     Awesome, thanks for the quick response!

  • Gary

    Hey Jay,

    Great article on new warm-up model.  I was wondering if you think the 2×2-min at HM pace and 4×150 would be good for guys running the mile.  In the article it says you have your athletes running 5k and above do that to warm-up so would you recommend milers do the same?  Thanks!

  • CoachJay

    Thanks for the question.

    I think the middle distance warm-up would be best –

    Then I think it’s key for a 1,500m/Mile would be to get in a couple of fast 150m In-n-Outs, then a couple of 120m at race pace, just to get the groove of that rhythm in your legs.  But I don’t think you want to run the 2 x 2 minutes – much slower than race pace and if you do more work in your warm up (again, see middle distance competition warm-up) you will be working right on the edge of your aerobic/anaerobic threshold for short bursts.

  • Pingback: Stride It Out! | Swing Lo' Sweet Chariot

  • Tfrancl49

    Coach Jay: just wondered if you have an update on the new DVDs you were working on?  Racing season is coming up and want that extra edge over the competition

  • Adam

    Hi CoachJay,

    I am an average athlete looking to complete my first ironman in April next year. I have spent the past 6 months away from running because of a back injury. I have been cycling quite a lot in the past 2-3 months but I am only just returning to running now. The problem at the moment is, my fitness level is high enough for me to run for an hour or more without any problems but my leg strength is nowhere near where it was before I had to stop running due to my back.

    I want to get back to my previous running form asap, but each time I attempt to run my calves, hammys and adductor muscles pull up very sore and tight. How can I return to my my previous running form in the soonest time possible without risking injury?


  • Ivan

    Hey Coach,

    I am a former competitive runner. Used to use your general strength routines daily. Now I’ve switched to road cycling. Do you have any recommendations for general strength/core routines for cycling?


  • Runnerdude


    Doing some research for school, I was wondering 
    I was wondering do you happen to kn know what percentage of the mile/1500m (or even 800m) race that is based on ones phosphagen system, glycolytic system, and oxidative phosphorylation system? Also besides aerobic/anaerobic (which I got from your video) what other key systems might be used?Thanks for the help!

  • Gabriela

    Thanks Jay Johnson for another year of an amazing and fun running camp!! My son, Gus R., always looks forward to his summer runs in Boulder with yall!! Gabriela

  • Darrin DeTorres


    How do you feel about cadence when it comes to distance running? When I was in hs I was a mid 16′s 5k guy who did so running 155-160 steps per minute and only had a 400 pr of 61. Everyone who has ever seen me run say I bounce and that I could be a lot faster and more efficient if I could get my cadence up. In fact, I know I could be faster because every time I do a brick workout (bike then run) I find myself jogging at paces I couldn’t fathom during regular training sessions.

    Currently I am in a slump. One person suggests that I run mega mileage and let my body figure it out, another says I run minimal mileage and work on strength and fitness. With scenario A I don’t feel myself getting any faster and lets face it if I have no speed I can’t ever be competitive again. I don’t like scenario B because it doesn’t allow for any aerobic fitness. I am considering working with a local sprint coach and getting my aerobic base through swimming or cycling.

    What do you suggest when working with athletes like myself? Are there any drills I can incorporate?

    Thank You,
    Darrin DeTorres

  • Mary Norby

    Thank you for your well balanced article “Will I Run Faster if I Lose Weight?” Acknowledging the prevalence of eating disorders in the running community added credibility to an already well-researched article.

  • Chris

    Hi Jay

    First I use your videos all the time and have incorporated your cool down routines into my coaching. I read this site all the time and read your article in Running Times. I just bought some of your videos on findyourzone but they wont play. I contacted them but have not heard back. When I click watch now all I get is a screen describing the video and a big black square where I assume the video should be. I am really excited to see these videos but very frustrated that they will not plan and I have gotten no response after two emails to the website. Any help you can give would be great.


  • Liz

    I like your site. I have also watched several of your running camp lectures on YouTube. I have been running now for about 8 years. I started with the 1/2 marathon, moved to the marathon and now have found my zen place with trail ultra marathons. I am 40 and have recently added track workouts to my training. I took 25 minutes off of my last marathon. I am now working on getting my RRCA certification. I currently “guide/advise” a group of female runners my age. I like your philosophy. It seems more natural to running. I specifically like your lecture/article regarding “Speed Development”. I will be continuing to follow your blog posts. Thanks.

  • Douglas Lindke

    Your last posts timing was perfect. You see yesterday was my first follow up appointment since having surgery two weeks ago to replace my right patella tendon. I was told I have to keep it straight for another six weeks at least. I was crushed. But reading your post today has put things back in perspective. Thank You!

  • Emma

    Hi Coach,

    Do you recommend training with a heart rate monitor if so what formula do you use to work out the zones?

  • Paul Vandersteen

    Coach Johnson, I am a big believer in maximizing quality days and fully respecting recovery days. Not sure where the plyometric type exercises fit in? You recommend post workout for these from what I have read. Would they follow an easy run or after a quality session?

  • Jeremy

    Coach Johnson,

    What is your opinion on supplemental aqua jogging for a runner that seems to breakdown and get injured whenever they go over 90 MPW?

    Say someone that is looking to move to the marathon supplementing with an extra 5 hours in the pool with the aqua jogging belt each week to get the same ‘aerobic’ time that someone who is doing 130 MPW does? And let’s say this 5 hours is done with intervals to makes sure the intensity is just high enough that they are at getting their HR up in the 70-80% of max range? Do you think this is the most effective way to supplement the need for extra aerobic work while at the same time working on the athletes core/hip/biomechanical weaknesses in order to get them stronger and less injury prone?


  • John Kenworthy

    Jeremy, not to butt in here, but my first reaction to your question is that yes, the extra time can help. But the pool, with hydrastatic pressure affecting your max HR, isn’t the best option to use for an additional 5 hours, maybe on your recovery days/runs you’ll find some additional benefits, but biking could be a better option for the days when you’re not recoverying because you can get your HR up a bit higher.

    Everything in moderation, including moderation. — Mark Twain

  • Nate

    Coach Jay, I’m a 9th grader wanting to become elite and I’m willing to do anything to become elite what can I do to reach a new level this coming year in cross country I want to hit low 16:00 range for the 5-k

  • rod

    Coach Jay,

    What are your thoughts about frequency of racing for high school XC? I listened to one of your podcasts and the coach mentioned they only race once a week. Is there an optimal amount? I realize some kids can handle more than others.