Words Words Words

Links to many online dictionaries for many professions.


Many English lessons and English-Mongolian side-by-side PDF books


Learning English and Buddhism in Mongolia


Learning Medical English for doctors, nurses and dentists in Mongolia

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Nike: General Strength Videos

originally posted June 23, 2009 by Coach Jay

Want to check out Coach Jay's general strength videos? Click on the routines below to access the videos then download the printer-friendly PDFs to take the routines with you wherever you go!

Myrtl Routine | Download PDF

Back Routine | Download PDF

Pedestal Routine | Download PDF

Medicine Ball Routine | Download PDF

Lunge Warm-Up | Download PDF

Coach Jay coaches athletes at RunnersCoach.com and blogs at CoachJayJohnson.com. And don't forget, if you have training question for Coach Jay, email him here: coachjay@nike.com.

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Monday, July 25, 2011

NEWS: Climate Change in Mongolia

Climate Change in Mongolia
Originally posted NYTimes June 27, 2011

A view of the valley and field site from the northwest.

Clyde E. Goulden is the director of the Institute of Mongolian Biodiversity and Ecological Studies at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia.

Monday, June 20

After 70 years of political isolation while associated with the former Soviet Union, Mongolia opened its borders to international visitors in 1990. Among the first people invited into the country were scientists who could help Mongolia develop conservation plans to protect its rich biodiversity and almost pristine landscape. In 1994, scientists from the Academy of Natural Sciences were invited to visit a large, beautiful lake in northern Mongolia, Lake Hovsgol, and to join Mongolian and Russian scientists to study its biota. The project culminated in the description of many new species and numerous scientific publications, including the first book on the lake published in English, an effort financed by the National Science Foundation Partnerships for International Research and Education.

In 1998, the Mongolian government approved Lake Hovsgol National Park as its first long-term ecological research site for the monitoring of environmental changes, encouraging continued research efforts by international scientists.

From 2002 to 2006, we began to recognize how much the climate of this region was changing. The whole-country analysis of temperature records indicated that Mongolia has warmed 2.14 degrees Celsius, or 3.85 degrees Fahrenheit, since the 1940s. In contrast, total precipitation has changed very little.

A map showing Lake Hovsgol.

These results prompted me and colleagues from the University of Pennsylvania to study the effects of these climatic changes, and in 2007 the Partnerships for International Research and Education-Mongolia project was born. This project focuses on three major components: experimental research on the effects of warming and precipitation changes on steppe and forest habitats of northern Mongolia, analysis of meteorological data from nearby monitoring sites, and interviews with nomadic herders to gauge their perceptions of these recent environmental changes.

The project also includes a strong educational component, providing undergraduate and graduate students a unique opportunity to travel and be involved in critical ecological research. It includes American scientists teaching courses at the National University of Mongolia, introducing students to theoretical research in ecology and biodiversity.

Clyde Goulden and his wife, Tuya,
interviewing a herder inside the herder’s tent.

Why is all this important? With the regional warming and changes in climate occurring in Mongolia, it is imperative that we understand the kinds of effects that could result there and elsewhere, including in the United States, and how to adapt to these effects. Mitigation is of major importance now and in the future, but adaptation — preparing for future changes in climate — is also critical to protect our water resources, food supplies and homes and to maintain our ability to travel without serious disruption.

The 2011 field season in Mongolia has begun, and in posts over the next month, my colleagues and I will be providing more detailed information about the questions, science, day-to-day life and results of the Partnerships for International Research and Education-Mongolia project.

Two Mongolian members of the camp staff
riding the camp horses through the valley.

Laura Fox, a postdoctoral researcher with the University of Pennsylvania, writes from Mongolia, where she is studying the effects of climatic warming on steppe vegetation.

Wednesday, June 22

For those ecologists studying vegetation, like myself, the field season in northern Mongolia tends to start in early June when plants begin to grow, and when there remains only a slight chance of a snowstorm. I am a new postdoc with the Partnerships for International Research and Education-Mongolia project, and three weeks ago, I traveled for the first time to the project’s research camp in the Dalbay Valley, near Lake Hovsgol.

It was a 16-hour journey from the congested streets of Ulan Bator to remote Dalbay: first a flight to the provincial town of Moron in the north of Mongolia, and then a long drive on a bumpy, rocky, muddy road. In my experience, my field site becomes a second home, and I knew that Dalbay Valley was to become that over the summer months. However, on my first approach to the camp, I was disoriented by the dark, by drowsiness and by the frequent, unpredictable bumping and jarring of the road. When we finally tumbled out of the vehicle at the camp, my disorientation was complete in finding just a wide black space overarched by a terrific starry sky.

The camp tents at night.

“The kitchen ger; go to the kitchen ger,” was the message of greeting, and we soon found ourselves snug inside one of the large white gers — Mongolian nomadic tents — that form our camp, sipping hot tea and eating dumplings. It was toasty warm inside the ger — there was a central wood-burner, brightly patterned cloth surrounding the internal wall, and a ceiling supported by numerous orange hand-painted spokes. That night, though the field site remained a mystery, the kitchen ger definitely became home.

Setting up the experiments.

The Dalbay Valley falls in that part of Central Asia where the extensive Eurasian steppe meets the vast boreal forest — the taiga. This region of transition runs most of the length of Lake Hovsgol, where a succession of valleys have warmer south-facing slopes of close-cropped steppe grassland, and colder north-facing slopes cloaked in larch forest. These valleys are populated by nomadic Mongolian families, and the open steppe maintains grazing herds of yaks, cows, sheep, goats and horses. Climate projections for the region predict significant warming over the coming decades, and monitoring over the past 40 years has shown that a significant increase in temperatures has already occurred.

The main aim of this project is to understand the effect that climatic warming will have on the steppe vegetation, and hence on the ability of the steppe to sustain grazing animals and traditional nomadic livelihoods. We are investigating this by means of a climate manipulation experiment in which we use open-topped greenhouselike chambers to cause local warming in air and soil temperature.

The team’s field site in Dalbay Valley,
with passive warming chambers and experimental plots.

Our first job at the camp, the day after our arrival, was to re-establish these experimental chambers. As an ecologist, I frequently find myself behaving more like a handyman than a scientist, and thus it was when we battled all day with perspex frames, wooden frames, nuts and bolts, nails, tape and fencing. By the end of it all, the steppe of the south-facing slope of the valley was converted into a large scientific playground spotted with fenced-off blocks containing these miniature greenhouses. And so a summer of climate manipulation and intensive data collection begins.

NEWS: Mongolia Prepares for Flood of Money

Mineral-Rich, People-Poor Mongolia Prepares for Flood of Money Next Decade
Original story posted by Bloomberg News - Jul 21, 2011

Sunset over Ulaanbaatar
Hurrying into her cramped office deep within Mongolia’s huge Soviet-era Government House, Parliament member Sanjaasuren Oyun, 46, is flushed with excitement, a smile creasing her usually serious face.

She hands papers to her young female assistant and exchanges some quick words in the low guttural murmur of Mongolian. Dressed in a pinstriped suit, with a pearl necklace, hair cropped to a business-like shoulder length, and an iPad tucked under her arm, she turns to a waiting reporter.

“Sorry to make you wait,” she said, switching smoothly to English, which she picked up as a student at Cambridge. “It’s an important debate we are having today. We are considering a freeze on new exploration licenses.”

Outside, it’s a still-chilly, late-May afternoon in Ulaanbaatar, no sign of green along its potholed dirt roads. But the capital city of about 1 million people is already being transformed by forces greater than the change of seasons, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports in its July 25 edition.

A freeze on licenses to explore for minerals is no small matter in Mongolia, a country undergoing a resources boom, as miners such as London-based Rio Tinto Group and China’s Shenhua Group compete for the right to extract coal, copper, gold, molybdenum and uranium.

It’s a resource play that’s expected to bring a flood of money into the impoverished country over the next decade, centered around huge mining projects such as the Shivee Ovoo and Tavan Tolgoi coal reserves, valued at about $300 billion and $400 billion, respectively, and the copper and gold mine Oyu Tolgoi, worth some $300 billion, according to Quam Asset Management Ltd. in Hong Kong, which runs a Mongolia-focused investment fund.

Wealth, Wise Use

Oyun is at the center of the country’s efforts to pick its way between wealth and wise use. She is a geologist who once worked for the biggest investor in Mongolia’s mining industry, Rio Tinto, yet she has made a career pushing for the rights of ordinary Mongolians and fighting corruption.

She is also part of the nation’s young democratic history. On the wall in her office is a picture of her brother Zorig, a member of Parliament who seemed on his way to becoming prime minister when he was killed in 1998. His murder is still unsolved.

Investor Talks

On the Parliament floor, members are demanding that the Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Dashdorj Zorigt step down for his handling of negotiations with foreign investors.

“The situation is a bit different from before,” Oyun says, gesturing at a television broadcasting the debate. “When we made our first mining legislation in 1997, we were desperate to attract investment, but no more. We can be more demanding.”

She acknowledges that the politicians may be grandstanding, aiming to embarrass rivals in the run-up to 2012’s presidential elections. The energy minister didn’t step down, though the freeze on new licenses has been extended through 2011.

The discussion about ensuring Mongolia benefits from its resources is a struggle that pits nomadic herdsmen and environmentalists against well-connected players such as Prime Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold and Baasangombo Enebish, executive director and chief executive officer of coal company Erdenes MGL, as well as global resource giants such as Rio Tinto and Peabody Energy Corp. (BTU)

Mining Protest

Oyun realizes it’s time to meet her daughter and rushes outside, where her driver waits with the 5-year-old.

As the car pulls out around Sukhbaatar Square, in front of Parliament, Oyun points out an ongoing protest: Three round felt tents, known as “yurts” or “gers” in Mongolia, have been set up at the far end of the square. Their occupants are demanding the government close the mining industry to foreign companies.

“The gentleman who organized this protest has become something of an extremist --- I’m not sure that’s the right word,” she says, referring to Tsetsgee Munkhbayar, a former herdsman turned environmentalist.

“He fired guns near mining equipment last year and now says he and his followers may have to take up arms against the government,” she continues, frowning. “He is a resource nationalist. But here in Mongolia we need to strike a balance. How to be sensible but also populist -- yes, we face this tension.”

Mongolia is empty and remote, perhaps one reason Genghis Khan -- or Chinggis Khaan as his name is spelled locally in English -- set out to take over most of Eurasia eight centuries ago.

Desert, Steppe

On the two-hour-plus flight north from Beijing, the blankness of the Gobi Desert dominates before becoming the sweeping yellow and green of the steppe, then finally long ranges of treeless mountains as the plane approaches Ulaanbaatar. Other than the broad changes in landscape below, little else is seen. There are no buildings, no roads, no people, no trees, nothing much at all, really.

Squeezed between China and Russia, and equal in size to western Europe, Mongolia has just 2.8 million people, making it one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world, notwithstanding the livestock.

Mongolia’s National Statistical Office estimates there are 33 million head of livestock in the country, including goats, sheep, horses, cattle and camels. More than a third of Mongols live in the rundown capital, while about a quarter are still semi-nomadic, living in gers and moving their herds along with the seasons.

Mineral Riches

While it may be short on humans, Mongolia is one of the richest nations in terms of natural resources, and that’s just the known deposits. Four-fifths of the country is still unsurveyed. Over the next decade, copper production is expected to double, iron ore to triple, coal to grow by six times, and gold and oil by 10 and 13 times, respectively.

Much of that growth will be driven by demand from China, predicts Eurasia Capital, an Ulaanbaatar-based investment bank that focuses on Central Asia and Mongolia.

The biggest prize is Oyu Tolgoi -- or Turquoise Hill -- named after the color of copper oxide as it seeps from the ground, and one of the largest deposits of copper and gold.

Situated deep in the Gobi Desert, it’s just 80 kilometers (50 miles) from China’s northern border. Canadian company Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. and Rio signed an agreement with Mongolia to develop it in 2009 after the project developer Ivanhoe tried for more than six years to reach a mining accord. Rio last month agreed to increase its stake in Ivanhoe to 46.5 percent.

Burnt in Effigy

Securing the deal wasn’t easy; disputes over how much control Mongolia should cede to the foreign miners led to bitter negotiations as well as protests where effigies of Ivanhoe’s founder Robert Friedland and then President Nambaryn Enkhbayar were burnt. It was “readily acknowledged” that participants in the demonstrations were paid to parade, Ivanhoe Capital Corp. spokesman Bob Williamson said.

“It is one of the flagship projects that Rio has,” said Cameron McRae, president and CEO of Oyu Tolgoi LLC, in his expansive office in the Monnis Tower, one of Ulaanbaatar’s new high-rises. With an expected $6 billion in annual revenue from the mine, “it gives the copper group the opportunity to move into one of the top three in the world,” McRae said.

Oyu Tolgoi employs close to 3,000 Mongolians. By early 2013 the company plans to invest $7 billion, including building 100 kilometers of road from the mine to the Chinese border, an 85- kilometer pipeline to bring water to the operation, a 180- kilometer transmission line, and eventually a power station that may cost $1.5 billion.

Supercharging Economy

“We are very aware this is transforming Mongolia’s economy,” says David Paterson, vice president for regional development and communications at Oyu Tolgoi, also noting that capital spending on the project’s first stage alone is equal to Mongolia’s annual gross domestic product.

Simply getting ready to mine is supercharging the tiny economy. GDP grew 6.1 percent last year and was up 9.7 percent in the first quarter of 2011 from a year earlier.

“The mining sector could very well carry Mongolia for the next 50 years,” says Parmeshwar Ramlogan, the Ulaanbaatar-based resident representative for Mongolia at the International Monetary Fund.

Ramlogan predicts Mongolia could grow at double-digit rates for at least the next 10 years, raising per capita income -- now at $2,470 -- fourfold within a decade and making it one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

Transforming Economies

“There is a time in these transforming economies when normal economic growth goes out the window,” says Richard Harris, CEO of Quam Asset Management. “It’s like a geological fault that the economy goes through. You are talking about a nomad or shopkeeper in a small town who suddenly becomes a truck driver or a miner. And he goes from earning a few dollars a day to a few dollars an hour. Then you see the economic changes that go with that.”

Policy makers in Mongolia have created a so-called human development fund in large part through prepaid taxes from foreign investors in the Oyu Tolgoi mine, and it doles out 21,000 tugriks ($17) to every Mongolian once a month.

Government negotiators are also demanding that the foreign companies that will develop part of the Tavan Tolgoi mine, which holds an estimated 6.4 billion metric tons of coal, pay their taxes early. Plans call for listing shares in the other half of the project in London or Hong Kong, then granting 10 percent of them to Mongolians, making every citizen a shareholder.
Years of Neglect

No place is likely to change as much as Ulaanbaatar. Mongolia was a satellite state of the Soviet Union from 1921 to 1990, and the years of neglect are still evident in the capital, with block after block of battered-looking cement residential buildings lining rutted roads.

A statue of Lenin still stands in front of the Ulaanbaatar Hotel, built in 1961 to house visiting dignitaries from the Soviet bloc. Oyun’s grandfather, a Russian explorer, geographer and ethnologist who spent 26 years in Mongolia, was forcibly returned to the Soviet Union in 1939 and died there in a gulag in 1942. His family never learned the nature of his “crime.”

Already high-rises are springing up around Sukhbaatar Square. Louis Vuitton, Emporio Armani, Burberry and Ermenegildo Zegna boutiques vie for attention in the blue-glass Central Tower on the southeastern edge of the square.

In the Monet Restaurant, on the building’s 17th floor, businessmen in expensive suits dine on Norwegian salmon and Australian prime beef, finishing with a platter of Gouda, Camembert and Roquefort cheeses with wild blueberry crackers.

A bottle of Mouton Cadet Reserve Sauternes can be had for 135,000 tugriks ($108) while diners gaze over the square and beyond to the distant new sports stadium, built with Chinese money.

Irish Pub

At night a wilder side emerges in places such as Seoul Street’s Grand Khaan Irish Pub, known for its hamburgers, beer and occasional fistfights, and in the city’s numerous strip clubs.

In the notorious Marco Polo Club, Australians and Americans working for mining-equipment companies mingle with visiting European investment bankers, drink Chinggis Khaan-brand vodka mixed with Red Bull, and watch topless Mongolian women pole dance.

Harris Kupperman, 30, runs his own hedge fund, Praetorian Capital Management, based in Miami Beach. On a trip through North Asia last August, he was struck by the economic potential of Mongolia. He’s bought a house in the high-end neighborhood of Zaisan with views over Ulaanbaatar. In February he started the Mongolia Growth Fund, raising $36.6 million.

New York Vibe

“All it takes is for you to put your feet on the ground here, you can feel the energy everywhere,” he said. “It’s unlike anywhere in the world in terms of sheer energy, apart from New York and maybe Hong Kong.”

Kupperman has started an insurance company and plans to buy, renovate and rent the dilapidated Soviet-era apartments that fill the core of the capital. After looking at other resource economies such as Qatar, Dubai and Kazakhstan, Kupperman and his partners concluded that real estate and finance are two industries that flourish in mineral boom economies, but without the capital costs and political risks of mining.

Sipping on a Heineken in the View Lounge, a stylish bar on the rooftop of the 11-story boutique Corporate Hotel, Kupperman notes that he’s not the only investor in town.

Dazed and Confused

“You go out on the street any day at noon and you will see dazed and confused hedge-fund guys walking around, with a Mongolian as a guide, with dust all over their $1,000 shoes. And you know they are thinking, [how can I] invest in this country?”

Mongolia continues to court start-up money. When Prime Minister Batbold went to China in June, Mongolia’s President Tsakhia Elbegdorj was in the U.S., visiting, among other places, the offices of Bloomberg Businessweek.

Elbegdorj, 48, is a former journalist and two-time prime minister. Like many of the parliamentarians making decisions about the country’s future, he studied abroad. He has a master’s degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

On his June 17 visit he noted that Mongolia is planning to issue dollar-denominated bonds “in the near future” to finance expansion of the mining industry and build roads and bridges. It has yet to do so.

Oyun is a technocrat in her own right. In 1992, as a student majoring in geology at Cambridge, she flew with a prospecting team organized by Rio Tinto deep into the Mongolian desert to examine the potential of Tavan Tolgoi, then an undeveloped mine. Oyun graduated from Cambridge in 1996 with a doctorate in earth sciences and joined Rio Tinto in Newbury, England, at the branch then responsible for new projects.

Stabbed to Death

In October 1998, one day after returning to England from a one-month trek in the Tianshan Mountains of Kyrgyzstan, Oyun received a call at two in the morning from a Mongolian colleague working in Rio’s Ulaanbaatar office. Her brother Zorig, then infrastructure minister in the government, had been stabbed to death in his small apartment in the capital, just before an election that would have likely made him prime minister.

In an interview just before his death, Oyun recalls, “he said he was very worried that vested interests were taking precedence over the national interests of Mongolia.”

Russian Mafia

According to Oyun, many Mongolians are convinced that her brother’s unsolved murder was a politically motivated assassination, possibly involving Russian mafia interested in the country’s then-largest coal mine, Erdenet.

Days after Zorig’s murder, Oyun returned to Mongolia for his funeral.

“There was this outpouring of public grief that, even for me, was overwhelming to see,” she remembers. She moved back to Mongolia to begin a political career, founding Civic Will, an opposition party.

Since 2009 the country has been governed by a “Grand Coalition” of the Mongolian People’s Party and the Democratic Party. Civic Will’s platform in large part centers on fighting corruption, especially the growing influence of money in Mongolian politics.

“I entered politics in 1998 because of my brother’s murder,” Oyun says. “I didn’t join either party because I didn’t find support from either of them for clean politics.”

Oyun is fixated on transparent and clean governance, concerned that the new money will be siphoned off through corruption.

Corruption Concern

Transparency International, a corruption watchdog, last year rated Mongolia in the bottom third of 178 countries, putting it on par with Mali and Mozambique.

Of particular concern are the close links between government and large businesses. A “majority of the 76 MPs have significant commercial interests in a range of sectors,” London-based risk consultants Exclusive Analysis said in a 2009 report on Mongolia.

“People are obsessed with money,” said Tsetsgee Munkhbayar, 45, organizer of the protest in Sukhbataar Square. With a face brown from years in the sun, Munkhbayar usually dresses in traditional Mongolian garb: a deel, the long robe generally worn with a sash, and a rounded, pitched helmet-like hat.

“The traditional Mongolian perspective of loving nature and mother earth is being forgotten,” he said. As a people we are at a dead-end. We must get ourselves away from the idea that economics is everything and that economics will save us.”

Fire Nation

Munkhbayar heads a coalition of environmental and nationalist groups called Fire Nation, which organizes protests against the rush to develop the mineral economy. Self-trained in environmental legislation, he hands out copies of the national mining law to a visiting reporter. Frustrated by what he says is the mining industry’s tendency to ignore land protections, Munkhbayar and others have taken to violent civil disobedience.

Last September, Munkhbayar was part of the group that fired bullets into mining equipment owned by Canadian and Chinese companies that he says were breaking the law. While he claims no employees were directly threatened, he says without remorse that the incident was intimidating as staff “ran or tried to get out of the way.”

On June 3, Munkhbayar led a group of about 50 horsemen into the center of the city where they shot arrows at Government House. They were protesting the lack of official response to calls for a national referendum to elect a new government.

‘Bribing Officials’

Munkhbayar does much of his work out of a small office in Ulaanbataar’s Sukhbaatar district, where on a May visit two volunteers are tapping on ancient, generic computers. Camping gear, including traditional Mongolian wooden saddles, is piled against one wall. His wife and 8-year-old daughter, youngest of four children, watch a tiny television.

“International corporations are bribing our government officials so they can take over Mongolia,” Munkhbayar said. “People should stop buying stocks from international mining companies that are involved in exploiting Mongolia. Instead of spending money to buy stocks they should use that money to help movements like ours.”

With a national election looming next year, some financiers and politicians fear Parliament could take a few pages from Munkhbayar and vote in policies that might damp economic growth. It has happened before.

Since leaving the Soviet Union, Mongolia has zigzagged between privatization and nationalization. In the mid-1990s, Mongolian politicians, inspired by Newt Gingrich, even wrote a “Contract with Mongolia.” Later, populist calls to nationalize industry coincided with the passage of the highest profits tax on gold and copper in the world. It was repealed two years ago.

Swing to Populism

As commodity prices rise, Mongolia may be swinging back toward the populists.

Despite passing a stringent fiscal stability law last year, requiring that the deficit not exceed 2 percent of the budget, the government plans to run up a deficit more than four times that amount this year. That may bring inflation into double digits and drive up the value of the tugrik, making non-mineral parts of the economy, such as Mongolia’s cashmere industry, less competitive.

It could also bring on the so-called Dutch disease, says Rogier van den Brink, lead economist for Mongolia at the World Bank. That’s when the discovery of natural resources leads to the decline of a country’s manufacturing industries.

“It is always very tempting for government and politicians to say we are rich,” says van den Brink. “The only problem is, it’s still in the ground. So let’s spend all this money in advance. That puts fuel on the fire of an already overheating economy.”

Policy Extremes

It’s true Mongolia has veered between policy extremes, concedes Oyun, now sitting in the second-floor office of the Zorig Foundation, in an old, high-ceilinged building next door to Mongolia’s Foreign Ministry -- where Oyun served as minister from 2007 to 2008.

A large map of Mongolia covers much of one wall, next to an assortment of five photos of Zorig, including one of him perched on a supporter’s shoulders addressing crowds during a 1990 protest. Student volunteers wander in to ask Oyun about her schedule for the next week.

“If we stick to the golden middle -- if we stick to the main international trends of doing business and having good governance -- not going to either the right or left extremes, then we don’t have to be what economists call the darling of the ultraliberals in the West, but we don’t have to introduce the highest windfall tax in the world either,” she said.

“There is finally, after 20 years, a real opportunity for Mongolia to grow, and to create jobs and income for the population. I can’t expect us politicians to be clever, but if we don’t come up with stupid decisions, then we should be fine for at least the next few years,” she said with a laugh.

“As Genghis Khan apparently said, it’s easy to ride on a horse and conquer a country, but much more difficult to get down from the horse and run it.”

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Nike: New Runner Progression

originally posted June 22, 2009 by Coach Jay

Hi, I have recently started to run over the last few months and have really enjoyed using the Nike+ and iTouch systems. Due to my location, I am really limited on where I can run, so with that said, I have been running on a treadmill over the last few weeks, usually ranging from three to four miles. Should I be mixing this up? Four miles has been my max as of now. I'm sure I could go longer, but have yet to try it. Should I run four miles one day, then maybe two the next just at a faster pace, then four miles again the next day? am completely lost on how to build a schedule or what I should do? Thank you for any advice. Regards, Chris

Chris -
Thanks for the email and I hope you don't mind that I make an assumption here; I'm going to assume that you want to get better and that you want to race at some point, anything from a 5k to a full marathon. But the reason I want to preface my comments is that running is an important contemplative time, and often times, for someone grieving or someone who has an unreasonable amount of life stress or someone who simply is trying to loss weight, a daily run that never varies is still a wonderful thing. So, if I'm made a horrible assumption and you simply want to use running as exercise that it is also contemplative then don't change anything.

If you want to gain fitness and if you hope to run races then you MUST alternate both volume (i.e. distance, duration) and intensity. The changes can be subtle; you could theoretically run 4 miles every day for 5 days, three days being easy, one day a two mile fartlek and one day a 2 mile threshold effort (1 mile warm-up and 1 mile cool-down each day). If you add a long run of 6-7 miles then you've got a 26-27 mile week that is sound. But for most people, they eventually get to the level where they run 5-6 days a week, they have a long run that is 20-25% of their weekly volume for that week (if you're running 50 miles a week or more than don't go above 20%, but if you're running 28 miles a week a 7 mile run is sound) and they have a day off and/or a day of cross training. There are numerous progressions out there, but I wrote one on this blog for a 5k race a couple months back.

Key point: the body will adapt to what ever you give it and if you want to race then you better not give it the same run at the same pace every day or you'll be doomed to run a a level below your potential.

Thanks Chris and good luck.

*Coach Jay’s advice is provided as general training information. Use at your own risk. Always consult with your own heath care provider for questions relating to your specific training and nutrition.

Coach Jay coaches athletes at RunnersCoach.com and blogs at CoachJayJohnson.com. And don't forget, if you have training question for Coach Jay, email him here: coachjay@nike.com.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Nike: Improving Your Running

originally posted May 15, 2009 by Coach Jay

Hi, I need help or tips on how to improve my running. I'm medically fit yet I can't run for two minutes straight without wanting to stop dead. I don't smoke or do any drugs, but it always feels like I'm moving slower than a snail when I’m running. I used to run track when I was in high school five years ago. I kept up my running even after I injured my knee, but it seems like I just can't do it anymore. Any tips? I have consulted my doctor and a trainer and they both tell me, “it's something you will have to push through by slowly increasing the amount of running you do each week." However, I'm still at the same point I was at 3 months ago, so please HELP! I'll be joining the military in a year and a half and need to lose weight as well as cut down my run time significantly. Any help would be much appreciated! -An out of shape former runner.

Former Runner-
Thanks for the candid question. Getting to the point where you can walk briskly for 40-60 minutes without pain should be your first goal. I'm sure this sounds ridiculously easy for someone who wants to run as badly as you do, however, it's an obvious first step and a step I firmly believe in. This fall I'll be asking the post-collegiate athletes I work with to spend 3-5 hours per week hiking in the Boulder/Denver area as part of their general preparation phase. Why? It's a great way to get the smaller muscles and small tendons ready for ‘real training. ’ It's also a great way for them to enjoy where they live since this time of the year running or hiking on trails are inappropriate training. I digress. The point is that you can likely walk briskly and finish that workout by doing 10-20 minutes of general strength (see my general strength videos on the video wall) for a long workout. Follow it up the next day with a short 30-minute workout by doing 30-60 seconds of easy running followed by 2 min of brisk walking and then ending with 10 minutes of general strength. That way you'll have two solid workout days back to back. You can take day three off or do something in the pool—either lap swimming or aqua jogging.

After 4-6 weeks of this weekly rhythm you can revisit your doctor and get their opinion on the next logical step. That’s a phrase my college coach loved to use to keep us focused, especially when we were getting impatient with our training.

I hope this helps and I wish you the best.

*Coach Jay’s advice is provided as general training information. Use at your own risk. Always consult with your own heath care provider for questions relating to your specific training and nutrition.

Coach Jay coaches athletes at RunnersCoach.com and blogs at CoachJayJohnson.com. And don't forget, if you have training question for Coach Jay, email him here: coachjay@nike.com.