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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Nike: Building Strength and Speed

originally posted November 12, 2008 by Coach Jay


Coach Jay-
I have been running for 14 years with a consistent strength training routine that incorporates mostly free weights. I am very interested in the strength routines that you have explained on Nike+. As I get more into running and less into weight lifting because of the demand on the body and the struggle to stay lean, how can I incorporate these routines into my week? Do I perform each routine daily or break them up? I have tried the routines and seem to not have trouble completing them and sometimes I add seconds and reps to make them tougher. Is this the right mindset to have or should I perform the reps and seconds you have laid out in each routine? Also, how can I add in push-ups or pull-ups with these routines or do I even need to? I love the enthusiasm you have for the sport of running and I look forward to the improvement I have in running after starting these routines. Thanks, Michael

Michael – Thanks for the kind words and the question. First, I should be honest that my prescription for reps for the five routines in the videos was purposely lower than I'd prescribe to a runner who has is not only motivated but has an athletic background that includes more power-oriented work (i.e. if a woman was a great volleyball player in HS that counts, due to the all the plyometric foot contacts that come with that sport). So, don't be afraid to double all of the reps on those routines.

We posted an article a couple of weeks ago; see where you think you are on that and then follow it to the eighth week. Once you're there, start bumping up the reps and sets, but keep the same organization (i.e. back and myrtl could be done daily). Or, in the case of the Pedestal routine and Medicine Ball routine, you can say, "I'm working for 5 minutes without a break" and you just keep going through the routine. The first 3 minutes aren't bad but then it gets really challenging the last 30-40 seconds. Personally, that’s what I do with these routines. I give myself a few minutes prior to my run and hopefully 10 minutes at the end of the run (lately it's been 0-5 as I'm trying to relieve my wife of "crying newborn duty") and I just keep going through a routine. Push-ups are a great addition, yet you could make it more challenging by doing a couple of "Rocky's" – simply a push-up with a hand clap – between the various pedestal exercises.

The other thing to consider is a circuit workout in lieu of a hard running workout; you could do repeat 400’s, 800's or even 1,000s at a local track at a 5,000m pace and then do some of these exercises as the rest. Because all of these routines help with posture this is a great way to learn to run efficiently at race pace.

Thanks for the question and feel free to write back in a month or two and we can come up with something new to challenge you.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

NEWS: Will there be a chocolate drought?

World’s supply of sustainable cocoa could run out by 2014
by Simon Watkins and Jo Thornhill
originally posted 28th Jan. 2011 @ Daily Mail



The world faces a chocolate ‘drought’ over the next few years, an expert warned yesterday.

Political unrest in the Ivory Coast, where 40 per cent of the world’s cocoa beans are grown, has ‘significantly’ depleted the number of certified fair trade cocoa farmers.

Many have fled the West African country, while fair trade training programmes have also come to a halt.

Fairtrade training programmes have ground to a halt because of the danger farmers face in rural areas.

The situation is already affecting chocolate manufacturers, who are facing the highest cocoa prices for over 30 years.

Prices jumped by 10 per cent this month alone. Analysts are predicting they could soon hit $3,720 per metric tonne - a level last seen in January 1979.

It follows a curb on international cocoa exports initiated earlier this week by the country's new president, Alassane Ouattara.

Angus Kennedy, the editor of Kennedy's Confection and a leading British chocolatier, said chocolate producers are facing 'one of the biggest challenges to hit the industry in recent history'.

'Supplies of sustainable cocoa are set to run out, it's that simple,' he said.

Ivory Coast cocoa supplies are
under threat after many farmers
have fled the country
'The Ivory Coast is a complete no-go area for cocoa traders as it's too dangerous, so training new farmers and trying to cut problems in the region is now, mostly impossible.

'So in effect, its sustainability is not sustainable. Prices can't go up as it's reported because there basically isn't enough certified cocoa left to sell.'

Of the world's 5.5 million cocoa farmers, only 10 per cent have been trained and certified as sustainable fair-trade producers.

The certification is granted by specially-trained teachers, and the course runs for up to three years.

But the political turmoil in Ivory Coast means both the farmers and trainers are fleeing the country, leaving a severe shortage of certified cocoa beans.

Even if the political situation improves, it could take three years or more for the number of certified fair-trade farmers to reach its former level.

According to Mr Kennedy, manufacturers are now fighting for the rest of the world's sustainable cocoa bean stock.

'Things could get nasty now as producers start to fight over the last stocks,' he added.