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Unite! 10 steps to unite a global company

Share of Global GDP in 2011

The bigger your company, the more important it is for you to take advantage of your scale.  First read the experts’ advice:

Strategy& (formerly Booz & Company)
Harvard Business Review
McKinsey & Company
MITSloan Management Review

The academics and consultants offer big words, not practical advice. How do you start making your company more effective globally today, while reducing risk and cost?

In short, leverage the Internet. If your company existed before 1994, you built many local offices around the globe to handle almost every task. Since then the Internet has become global, reliable, fast and cheap. Most tasks can be done faster and cheaper via the Internet than in person. Most consumers and business partners prefer the efficiency of connecting via the Internet than having to physically connect. Most tasks and jobs can be handled better and faster globally, via the Internet, than by duplication at each location.

It’s likely your local headquarters have become local fiefdoms, expensive duplicates fighting each other for the resources to leverage the global Internet, fighting over increasingly global customers and partners, perhaps even fighting the shift from physical-local to digital-global, a drag on your organization.

Here’s how to unlock the barriers that separate your company:

  1. Make every employee ID badge work to unlock doors at every office. Don’t send the message that outsiders aren’t welcomed here.  If your facilities departments can’t do this, reorganize them.
  2. Have a fast and reliable network (intranet and extranet) that connects everyone in every location. Not only does this make everyone productive the instant they walk in the door of any office (or coffee shop), but connection powers both collaboration and high ROI automation. If your IT departments can’t offer high quality global infrastructure, reorganize them.
  3. Turn your many employee directories into a prized (online, global, unified) yearbook with pictures. Encourage everyone to post more pictures and fun and useful info on every person and team. Add tags to make searching easy.  For extra credit, use simple games to introduce global counterparts. If your HR departments can’t do this, reorganize them.
  4. Make plain how the global organization works. Make org charts timely, accurate and available to your people and systems. Global automation is great, but any automation requires automated chains of approvals. These in turn require a trustworthy global org chart.
  5. Value making friends and building allies across all units. Use videos calls (Skype is free) and video conferencing (Gotomeeting is excellent). Encourage international travel and international expert groups. Build trust in global counterparts by seeing them.  An investment in global collaboration infrastructure (aka the Internet) beats being stuck with expensive regional duplication and counterproductive internal feuds.
  6. Embrace ‘Big Data’. Unhide data across units. To minimize territorial isolation, remove information silos between global counterparts. Don’t rest until accounting and ROI is global, not simply local. If your finance departments can’t do this, reorganize them. Once you have global ROI’s for your products and services, flow resources from low ROI areas to high ROI areas and areas with promising futures.
  7. Coordinate marketing assets, plans and schedules globally. Remember that the USA is only 17% of the world market, the EU only 18%.
  8. Don’t drive your global suppliers and partners crazy by forcing them to work separately and differently with your regional units. Maximize the ROI of Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, Sony, eBay and other global platforms with global partnerships. Unify and streamline your web (both B2B and B2C) and mobile presence globally. Reorganize local units working with these global resources to also be global, to avoid confusion, duplication and drag.
  9. Recruit and promote people who are effective at cooperating outside their own local organization. Grant individual and team rewards for working globally. Remove incentives (or people) that make local success more important than global success. If your executives won’t do this, hire new executives.
  10. If you are the CEO, don’t implore your company to act more globally, change it so it is truly global.  Reevaluate whether jobs and responsibilities are handled best globally or locally. To start, replace local kings that subvert your global mission so they can retain their pre-Internet kingdoms.

Before the Internet we assumed that organizations and jobs were local, with a few exceptions. It’s time to reverse this assumption, to make your organizations and jobs global, except for the immobile parts: Physical distribution, physical services, non Internet media and compliance with local laws and regulation. Unite to win!

Snapchat is normal


Once upon a time, when you talked to your friends or showed them something amusing, you didn’t have to worry that your words and images would be recorded in a permanent, searchable database for your classmates, co-workers, employers, acquaintances, and distant cousins to scrutinize. Surreptitious recordings were possible but rare, and, short of blackmail, embarrassing bits weren’t easily spread.

Then came the Internet. It became more convenient to text, email, IM, Facebook or photo-share than call or meet face-to-face. First employers and schools, then parents and finally kids realized that we are being recorded. Within a few years children were taught not to send messages or pictures that revealed anything they didn’t want their mom or principal to see, and adults learned not to share anything they didn’t want strangers or employers to know.

What a bummer. Who wants to hang loose where every move is being recorded for future examination?  Who wants to grow up knowing that every immature utterance or gawky image from when they were ten or fifteen might come back to haunt them for the rest of their life?

Someone needed to turn communications back from dangerous to safe, to make it personal and transient as it was before Facebook, to make an invasion of our privacy take some effort— at least enough to be a violation of trust.

That’s Snapchat. Snapchat does the best job it can to make our remote communications relatively convenient and safe, even from our friends, family and co-workers, the folks most likely to cause us grief (or vice versa). Snapchat is the anti-Google and anti-Facebook. That’s one reason Snapchat turned down the billions those companies offered. Snapchat, not email, IM, or text may become the new normal. If so, a $3 billion dollar offer might not have been enough, when a less compelling form of Internet communication, Twitter, a simple message rebroadcast service, is worth $22 billion (as of July 2014).

Why run? Live 6 years longer. How to run? Read on …

Why run? Live 6 years longer. How to run? Read on …

A runner friendly summary of the best new running science from Runner’s World, The New York Times, Running Science by Dr. Owen Anderson, and the latest academic research.

How much to run?

Run 20 miles a week for health, 40 miles a week for fitness, 60+ for serious competition. Of course 99.9% of us are never going to run 40 miles in a week, let alone every week. The important thing is to get moving. It pays off in health and happiness, with 14 hours more life for each hour of running!

If you’re a new runner please don’t start with a hard run. That’s an easy way to get hurt before you get into shape. While we’re designed to run, we’re capable of running more than an un-practiced body can handle. (Better than getting eaten by a lion, I suppose). If you haven’t exercised in years, give your body months to catch up.

Decide how much time you want to exercise a week. 15 to 30 minutes a day is great. Even 5 or 10 minutes a day works. If you’re starting out of shape, walk briskly most of the way, then run gently for a few minutes, then walk some more, then run a few minutes more. Every couple of days add a few more minutes of running. Gradually ramp up so that after a few months you can run the whole way. If you want extra motivation, sign up for a 5K race a few months down the road.

A little sore is OK. A lot sore is not, except after a race. If you feel like you need to recover, walk or do something else active that day. Don’t run (at least) one day each week. This will refresh you for the next week. Taken a few days off and still tired? Get out and run, even if just for 5 minutes. It won’t ruin your sleep. Running gives insomniacs 45 minutes more sleep!

Don’t just run. Strengthen your whole body.


How fast to run?

  • If your goal is health, then pick any pace you like. Anything is better than sitting at a desk or watching TV.
  • If your goal is to maximize fitness then faster is better. Up to 20% or 25% of your training time should be ‘quality’ running, that is running fast. According to the graph above, elites go fast a lot more.
  • If your goal is a specific race time or pace, then some time running at that race pace and some time running even faster than that every week. The more you run at a pace, the more efficient you get at running at that pace. Running faster makes you stronger.
  • To train to run faster, run faster (in shorter intervals). Purposely alternate between slow and fast. This is called interval training. Fast is as fast as you can run and keep running, for up to half of your workout time. Slow is slow enough to recover so you can go fast again. Start small, with a couple 20 or 30 second intervals over the course of a whole workout. Gradually add more or longer intervals.

Running Gear


Running shoes

The lighter the shoes, the faster you go: 1% speed up per 100 grams. Humans, like other mammals, are designed to run barefoot. If you want to try lighter shoes, be careful! It’s easy to get hurt when you make a sudden, big change to your training. Buy a slightly lighter pair. Spend a few months getting used to them and then repeat. If your foot or leg starts to hurt, immediately go back to your old shoes. Give your body months to adapt to big changes. If you didn’t grow up running barefoot, sorry, you missed your chance.

Cushions on your feet?

If you’ve ever thrown a ball against a wall you know that hard rubber balls bounce more than soft rubber balls. The perfectly designed bounce of the (trained) human foot and leg are unbeatable. Adding spongy stuff to your feet weighs them down and absorbs their energy. Not only do you have to bounce, you have to balance. Try balancing yourself on one foot on a hard surface in bare feet. It’s easy. Now try balancing yourself on a soft cushiony surface. It’s hard. Unfortunately safely changing a lifetime habit may take years.


Running apps, watches, heart rate monitors and fitness bands.

I like to see how far and fast I ran and how hard I worked. If you’ve got a smart phone, my favorite running application is Strava with Veloviewer. As for fitness bands, save your money. They’re toys compared to a GPS phone or watch or a heart rate monitor. If you want the best get a Garmin 620 with a heart rate monitor.


A cotton t-shirt is great dry but terrible sweaty. Spend some dollars and buy a running shirt. You’ll never go back to t-shirts. If it’s cold wear gloves. If it’s colder wear a hat, then a light jacket, then tights… Take them off as you warm up. Don’t over dress. Getting hot isn’t making you fit, just dehydrated faster.

Breast and Nipple Protection

Females need a good sports bra. Males, when cold and wet, need to make sure their nipples don’t get abraded. The cold makes them hard and the wet makes their shirts rub. Cover them with Bodyglide or 3M Transpore Tape before they hurt.

Weight, diet, calories, food and drink



You lift your entire body weight on every running step. Within reason, the less you weigh the easier and faster you can run. Every 1% weight loss is a 1% to 1.4% speed up, down the point you look like a fitness model (male ~8% body fat, female ~15% body fat). Thinner than that and you’ll look and feel unhealthy.



Running Science: “The best endurance athletes in the world – the Kenyan runners – follow a diet that is extremely rich in carbohydrates, moderate in protein and low in fat.” And up to 15% sugar!  Of course they also stay extremely skinny (5% body fat for male champions, 10% for female) by exercising much without eating too much. Based on victories, their diet, not some fad, is the best for runners.

Calories (during and after a run)

Runner’s World estimates calories burned by running:
Calories = Runner’s Weight in Pounds * Miles Run * .63

That’s 95 calories a mile for a 150-pound runner.  .63 is just the net calorie burn of running. If you want the total calorie cost (including the normal cost of being awake) use .75 k-calories per pound per mile (most published calorie calculators use this higher number).

Add more for climbing:
Climbing Calories = Runner’s Weight in Pounds * Height Ascended in Feet * .001

If a 200 pound runner climbs 1000 feet that’s an additional 200 calories. Of course if you come back down you’ll gain half of the energy back.

Subtract for descending:
Descending Calorie (savings) = Runner’s Weight in Pounds * Height Descended in Feet *.0005

Add more for air resistance:

Economy of running: beyond the measurement of oxygen uptake Jared R. Fletcher, Shane P. Esau, and Brian R. MacIntosh

Air resistance goes up with the square of speed. Running 12 minute miles has only ¼ the air resistance (1.5%) of running 6 minute miles  (5.5% energy cost). Running calorie calculators ignore air resistance as “small and may be neglected.” If you’ve ever run into a 10 mph headwind, you know wind isn’t so easy to ignore. The reason most exercise studies ignore air resistance is because wind tunnels are expensive. Since the wind (earth’s average wind speed is 7.4 mph) combines with our running speed, even a slow runner can be fighting a 20 mph headwind (~20% extra energy cost).

Here’s my simple formula for wind calories.
Speed = Higher of either Wind Speed (in mph) or Running Speed = Miles Run/Time to Run in Hours
Air Resistance Calories = .05 * Miles Run * Speed * Speed

Add more for after-burn:
After a run, your body must repair itself. That’s why you feel warm at night after a long, hard run. Since earlier calorie research did not extend past the actual workout, these calories have been ignored. To add them in:
After-burn calories = Workout Calories * .01 * Miles Run/Time to Run in Hours

Total Calories = Running Calories + Climbing Calories – Descending Calories + Air Resistance Calories + After-Burn Calories

Click on a yellow box to enter your numbers

Screen Shot 2014-03-09 at 3.57.45 PM

Heat makes it harder to run fast and far, ~3% per 10 degrees fahrenheit above 40. Assuming calorie research is done at room temperature (~70°) you’ll burn more on a hot day, less on a cool day than what’s calculated above.

Food (just before, during and just after a run)

Don’t expect to digest food during a fast run; expect to burp. Even at a slow run 65% of the blood flow to your gut is redirected to power your legs. So eat your last meal a couple hours before you run. The bigger the meal, the longer you’ll need to digest.

If you eat just before or during a run, you won’t digest even running ‘food’ like sport goo’s or gels without an appropriate amount of water to dissolve them.

Of course the sooner you eat after a run, the sooner those nutrients aid your recovery.


You sweat a lot running (even when it’s cold). As you dehydrate you lose blood volume and its ability to move oxygen. You need to replenish three things:

  1. Water
  2. Electrolytes
  3. Energy (simple carbohydrates, if you’re running more than an hour)

The easiest way to do this is to drink sports drink – they have what you need in the right proportions. Yes, they really are better than water. Bottled or powder, they all work. (I like powder, it’s cheaper and easier to store).

Water doesn’t have electrolytes, so when you drink water, homeostasis will pull electrolytes from your body (bad while running). To avoid that, when you need to drink water (because there is no sports drink handy) eat just enough sports gel or goo to add the electrolytes back in (one 100 kCal goo per twelve big swallows, or 12 ounces of water).

As soon as you finish a run, weigh yourself and figure out how much water you just lost and replenish it. If you lost a pound, drink a at leastpint (a pound) of water, beer or chocolate milk.

Glycogen & sports drinks

Your legs (and liver) should have enough ready energy (called glycogen) in them to run at least 10 miles or 1 hour. You don’t need to fuel up unless you’re going longer.

Sports drinks are designed to give you as much glycogen as possible. They include maximum amount of energy you can absorb while running. That’s ~8% carbs [8 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams (3.4 ounces) of water.] [8 grams of carbohydrates yields 31 kilo-calories, enough for ~1/3 a mile of running.] If you eat food with your sports drink you won’t increase energy absorption, just your chance of an unhappy tummy.

Drink to replenish what you sweat (if not during the run, then just after). Sweat depends on the weather and your speed, from 12-36 ounces per hour. The slower you run, the less you need to drink per hour. Don’t drink too much.

I should drink ~32 ounces per hour. That’s 32 gulps (or 12 tiny race cups) per hour, which is about triple what I actually drink in a race. Dehydration of 2-3% of body weight is considered normal. Elites lose up to 10%! I drink a big (28 oz.) bicycle water bottle filled with sports drink just before a long race, and drink more when I can.

Beware: A couple pounds of liquid in your stomach can be uncomfortable, so test this out (or anything else) before you race. You may have to train your stomach or come up with your own plan.


Predictors of Running-Related Injuries Among 930 Novice Runners A 1-Year Prospective Follow-up Study Rasmus Oestergaard Nielsen, MHSc*,†‡ Ida Buist, PhD§ Erik Thorlund Parner, PhD|| Ellen Aagaard Nohr, PhD¶ Henrik Sørensen, PhD† Martin Lind, PhD# Sten Rasmussen, MD‡

The average runner gets injured once every ~100 to ~200 hours of running. Novices get injured 5x more frequently than marathoners! Minimize your risk:

  1. Ramp up gradually.
  2. Follow Runner’s World‘s advice and strengthen your 5 spots most likely to get hurt.
  3. To better absorb shock, strengthen your core muscles.
  4. Try Pilates or Yogacarefully
  5. Make your miles count. There is a 0.1% – 0.2% chance of injury each mile.

The big risk factors:

  • High body mass index >30 kg/m2
  • Previous injuries. “50% of injuries occur in the exact spot where a prior injury occurred”
  • Miles (~0.1% per mile!)
  • Novice runner. Bad form
  • Physical limitations. Imbalances. Poor strength. Poor flexibility. Weak core.
  • Rear Foot Strike (5.8 injuries per 10,000 miles)
  • Sudden changes to your training

To decrease risk (while maintaining fitness):

  • Lower body mass index <20 kg/m2
  • Fully rehabilitate from any previous injuries
  • Shorter but faster runs or intervals
  • Practice running smoothly. Improve form
  • Find and correct inflexibility or imbalances. Running specific strength training. Core training.
  • Fore Foot Strike (2.19 injuries per 10,000 miles)
  • Gradually introduce changes

What if something gets hurt?

Runner’s World has a nice summary of the common running injuries, and what to do if they strike you. Injuries have causes: A previous injury or imbalance, bad running form, asking your body to do too much too soon; too many miles, too little rest, pounding down hill without enough strength, a sudden, big change in training habits … No amount of rest, ice, painkillers, cortisone, etc. will prevent reoccurrence of an injury. You’ll need some good physical therapy to find and then correct the root cause of the injury.

Medical science has limited therapies for many running ills, including the runner’s bane, Plantar Fasciitis. Doctors are quick to prescribe a pill or a cortisone shot even though these are more placebos than cures. If the doctor wants to cure the symptom and not the cause, find a sports medicine clinic, or ask your local track coach whom they recommend. Then work diligently with your physical therapist until you are fully rehabilitated. Don’t go back to running too soon, or face a quick trip back to square one.


Runners World: The Pros and Cons of Massages for Runners
Research finally reveals just what massages can—and can’t—do for runners.

Stretching, Warming Up, Cool-downs and Massage

Despite what your old coach said, don’t stretch before a run. This increases your risk of injury. There is also little or no evidence stretching helps after a run (if you have a good range of motion).

You still need to warm up. Run slowly for a couple minutes.

Cool-downs are in most coaching plans, but have little research to support them.

Pro’s massage regularly. Treat yourself if you can.

If you have an injury, stretching will be part of your physical therapy. If you don’t full rehabilitate from one injury you’re likely to get another (as one part of your body tries to do the job of the injured part), so massage out the scar tissue, stretch and strengthen religiously until you’re better and stronger than before.

Running technique



Heart rate

A heart rate monitor (HRM) measures how hard you are exercising. Your HRM can coach you on how hard to push.

heart rate

Measure your level of effort relative to your maximum heart rate (MHR). An easy, but unreliable way to estimate maximum heart rate is to use the latest (Dec 2013) aged based formula:

Maximum Heart Rate = 211 – (Age * 0.64), plus or minus 11. Example: If you’re 54 years old, your maximum heart rate typically should be within 11 of 176 beats per minute.  The standard Maximum Heart Rate = 220 – Age formula is obsolete.

The hard (but accurate) way to measure heart rate is to warm up and then run up stairs faster and faster until you think you are going to die. Please check with your doctor before trying to kill yourself.

It takes about 10 minutes for your heart to ramp up to match your level of effort.

Once your heart rate is stable it can guide your training. Runners World has a nice summary, if you’re already a runner. If not, Table 6.1 (above) from the American College of Sports Medicine will get you started.

Cadence or Stride Frequency

Factors Related to Top Running Speed and Economy Authors A. Nummela1, T. Keränen1, L. O. Mikkelsson2

Some runners, particularly new runners, run with a bit (~3%) too low cadence (too few steps per minute = too long a stride) for maximum efficiency. Coaches recommend at least 180 steps per minute, even going uphill. This may be too high if you run slowly, as optimal cadence increases slightly with speed. Buy a foot pod or count how many times your left foot hits the ground in 10 seconds. If it’s less than 9, your cadence may be too slow. Try a few runs with quicker, shorter steps.

Smooth running

This video is a nice introduction to efficient running.


The more stable you are running the safer and more efficient you are. Strengthen. Smooth out your bumps with a faster cadence. Some runners have strange movements as they run. Have someone check that you’re running smoothly.

A checklist for efficient running:

  • Don’t reach ahead with your foot. Stepping too far ahead acts like a little brake – as you can feel when you run down hill.
  • Lean a tiny bit (a couple degrees) forward from the ankles (not from the hips, back or neck). Don’t bend from your hips when you go up hill.
  • Run with shoulders square (not hunched). This is called opening your chest.
  • Run with a straight back and long neck (spine and neck that feels straight and as strong as a board). Keep your hips fully forward (by engaging the glutes). Coaches call this running tall.
  • Look straight ahead.
  • Minimize the amount of bouncing up, down or side-to-side.
  • Arms balance each foot strike. Don’t swing them past your mid-line.
  • Relax! Muscle tension burns calories.

It takes time to smooth out your running form, for me five years. Focus on one improvement at a time.

Hills and Strength training

Good runners use hills to improve their fitness. Hills are a natural form of interval training. When you run up a hill shorten your stride to keep your cadence the same as it was on the flats. Don’t increase your forward lean. Ultra-marathoners walk on long steep hills  (>10% grade). It’s faster than running them. Top runners also do strength training. It increases speed and reduces injury.


To simulate air resistance, incline your treadmill at 1%. Make your treadmill time interesting. Try running barefoot. The treadmill is soft and safe. Try running at 5%, 10% or maximum slope. Try various paces and intervals. Plodding at the same speed and distance won’t maximize your brain or legs.


Many runners have difficulty breathing. While you might have asthma or allergies*, the main cause is being out of shape. Learn to breathe deeply to get into shape faster.

[Video]. Put your hand on your stomach. Take a deep breath. Your stomach should push out when you breathe in. Now put you hand on the side of your back at the same height as your stomach. Take a deep breath. Your back should push out a bit. Take Yoga to open your chest. Open your throat so the air goes in and out easily. Synchronize your breath with your step.

Give yourself a few months to learn to breathe deeply.  Unplug your headphones and concentrate on breathing as you run. Focusing on your breath is very meditative and surprisingly rewarding.

Breathing deeper won’t instantly cure the awful feeling of being out of breath, but with a couple months of practice you’ll pull in more oxygen and enjoy your runs more.

* I found I had a problem with dust mites – the day after I replaced my mattress – and could breathe!

Side stitch

Too much food or drink in your belly, dehydration, a weak or tired core, or prolonged rapid, shallow breathing can cause cramps. If you get a side-cramp, exhale when the leg on the opposite side from the stitch strikes the ground. Your cramp is generally on your right, near your liver, which can tug your diaphragm.

Running clubs, running with friends, coaches


Though I have no data, most runners seem happier and faster in a group. The easiest (and nicest) way to improve your running (and motivation) is to start running with someone else. The bigger the group the better the chance you’ll find someone just your speed. If you’re serious, find a running coach. Sorry, no data on the effect of running coaches (or reading running blog posts). 🙂



A few months before Train! You can improve a lot in one month, and more in two, especially if you’re not in shape to start. If you’re game try some high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
Two weeks before Taper. Run your last long run. Reduce your miles. Keep doing some speed work.
A couple days before Your legs should feel fresh. Figure out your race pace*. This can be based on your best training runs or your previous races using a Race Calculator. Figure out your hydration plan.
The day before Don’t stay up late drinking 🙂 Lay out what you are going to use in the race. Don’t eat, drink or wear anything you haven’t run tested.
Carbohydrate-loading If you’re running a marathon or more, carb load the 36-48 hours before the race. One easy method is to warm up and sprint as fast as you can for 30 seconds the morning before your race. Then eat a pile of carbohydrates.
The morning before Make sure you are well hydrated. If you’re going further than normal, lube your toes, thighs, nipples or anywhere else that might get abraded or blistered. If you like running caffeinated (test it out beforehand) load up on caffeine, ~5 milligrams per kilogram of body mass (about 2 NoDoz), one hour before the starting gun. More doesn’t help. You’ll still have half the caffeine in your system after ~5 hours, so no need to refill. For marathons, eat a few hours before the race. Closer to race time and you’ll get an upset stomach. One 2012 study suggests a 1000-calorie meal 4 hours before.
During the race Run your race pace. Even power output is optimal, so slow uphill or into the wind, speed downwind or downhill. One exception, push harder up a climb if you’ll get an immediate rest after the crest (because the downhill is too steep to run at full race power). Don’t start too fast. For long runs drink sports drink according to your hydration plan and the day’s weather. If you’re running into a wind, find a big runner to draft (run on his or her heels).
When you’re done. You’ll quickly cool down and tighten up. Relax. Replenish your lost fluids. If you lost two pounds drink two pints (a pint is a pound) of water.  Enjoy a massage.
The next few days If you pushed yourself to your limit expect to be sore, perhaps for days. Sleep, eat and hydrate well. Walk. Massage out tight muscles and stretch out tight tendons. Easy runs may aid your recovery.  The harder the effort (and older you are) the longer to fully recover.  It might take weeks to recover from an ambitious marathon.

Race Pace

Your race pace is the speed you run when you are in a race. Since a steady pace is the most efficient way to cover ground, it helps to know what pace you can sustain during that race.

On race day try to run at an even pace, the same (fast, but not too fast) pace each (flat) mile. If you’re not sure what your race pace is, start a bit slow and speed up half way. Sustain the same level of effort, whether going flat, up or down. Slow down when you go up, and speed up when you go down. Keep your cadence up even when you slow down. If you rarely run downhill, the extra stress on your back, legs and feet can cause an injury, so be careful if it gets steep.

How fast can you run a race? Once you run one race you can use my favorite Race Calculator to estimate how fast you can run other distances. To modify for hills, each foot of elevation gain slows you down as much as running another ~4 feet, so 10 feet of elevation gain will slow you down ~3-5 seconds. Each foot of elevation loss speeds you up as much as running 2-3 feet less, so 10 feet of elevation loss will speed you up by ~2-3 seconds.

If you haven’t run a race before, you can push yourself harder than in training (say 20-60 seconds per mile faster, or a 5-15 beats per second higher heart rate) and hope for the best. If you have to slow down a lot before the end, start slower next time and keep the pace steady. Shoot to run the first and second half of your race the same speed, or the second half a tad slower (a slight positive split).

Marathons and ‘The Wall’

A marathon is different. Unlike shorter races, 40% of marathoners run out of glycogen and ‘Hit the Wall”

Metabolic Factors Limiting Performance in Marathon Runners Benjamin I. Rapoport Wall text

If you use up all your glycogen before your race is over your legs suddenly turn leaden and your body tells you to stop. To avoid the wall, set your pace or intensity just slow enough that you don’t quite run out of glycogen. Maximize your pre-race carb-loading and your in race refueling. Specialized training (fasting before long runs) may not help. However you can find your maximum fueling tolerance in training. 100 calories of sports drink or 1 gel/Gu + 8 oz. water every 3-5 miles?

New Fads and Old Myths

There are always new exercise fads. Ignore them until you see the professionals using them, and even then …



… plus old exercise fables for scientists to disprove and coaches to un-learn.

Placebos (Which work, even when we don’t believe in them!)

Science disputed

Running Science Old and New

The half life of old running science

In school we’re taught that theories evolve but facts don’t. Unless you go to medical school, where the medical school faculty are personally responsible for evolving medical science, and gleefully teach their young doctors-to-be not to kill their patients with out-of-date medical ‘facts’, we’re not taught that even facts change. The human physiology facts of 2014 are not the facts of 1964, or even 1994.  30% of medical ‘facts’ were overturned in the past 25 years. Running science will be different in 2024.

Facts have a half-life, long for clean subjects like physics, short for messy subjects like neurobiology. Any running book written before 2013 will include some ‘facts’ that have been already proven wrong, and more will be disproven next year. While running itself is timeless, running science is not. If your running coach hasn’t changed their coaching in 10 years they are out-of-date and getting more so each year.

I’ve done my best to present running science as of 2014. Unlike a book I can easily update this as the ‘facts’ change. Just let me know.

New coaching

Coaching will move into the 21st century. Today’s coaching manuals only assume one piece of technology, a stop watch. Tomorrow’s coaching mobile applications will monitor every athlete by GPS and heart rate monitor. Under or over-training will be quickly detected by regular monitoring of heart rate. Every day the app will update the coach and athlete based on yesterday’s performance, and suggest what to do today to best prepare for the next race. The app will get smarter and smarter as it collects data from around the world.

New running science

The Internet Of Things will provide running science with vast, cheap data. Instead of studies based on two dozen college athletes we’ll start seeing research leveraging millions, enough to detect small, one second per mile differences.

Experiments, instead of requiring years to submit grant proposals, collect and train volunteers, buy and set up special equipment, process and analyze data, write up results, submit for peer review and eventual publication (with the results then only available by paying a significant fee to the publisher), will be invented, run and published to the world in days, just like web A/B testing. I hope to see running science based on The Quantified Self by 2015.

Ned @nedlern

Gollum and the music business


 Part 2: Radio Versus Records

Thanks to our friend Thomas Edison, you can still listen to the first (1878) recording of music here. It took another ten years for Emile Berliner to invent the record, the first mass produced music disk.

Music was the first media to move to the cloud in 1906 with Reginald’s Fessenden’s rendition of “O Holy Night” to ships at sea off the coast of Massachusetts. It took another 16 years for the first radio commercial to air, on WEAF in New York City.

Initially the record industry fought radio, but a symbiotic relationship between radio and recorded music was worked out within a few years. Record labels use airplay to generate sales; radio stations use music to sell advertising.

If music is free on the radio, why do we buy it? Radio only gives us a free taste of a song. If we want to own that song we have to buy it. While music under our complete control costs $.99 a song on iTunes, music under radio station control costs us a mere one cent (of advertising). (see previous post)

Just as Free-to-Play games stimulate demand by offering tantalizing, but limited access to a variety of virtual goods and powers, radio stimulates demand by offering tantalizing, but limited access to a variety of music.  The behavioral economics is the same. Temporarily possessing a song (or magic ring) then losing it triggers loss aversion, a powerful motivator, as Gollum learned to his regret.

The power of radio to stimulate demand for music purchases (through loss aversion) wasn’t obvious to the music industry when radio first blared onto the music scene.  Indeed the bliss of radio’s unlimited free music (and the Great Depression) blasted record sales for fifteen years.

Impact Of Radio On The Record Industry

For 67 years, from 1933 until 2000, radio and recorded music grew up together. By 2000, music’s high water mark, the USA recorded music was a $16B business and radio $20B. Over the next ten years, painless CD ripping and burning, low-cost Internet connectivity,  easy legal and illegal file sharing services, and open MP3 players, cut recorded music revenues in half.


Meanwhile radio held steady (until recently – see next post)


Radio, a primarily free (or more precisely ad-based) medium, is immune to piracy (but not other threats). Recorded music is not. If recorded music sales kept pace with overall growth of the economy (as it had the previous 67 years) then they would have reached $24B in 2013*. However they shrunk to $6B. This is a $18B per year loss to piracy (just in the USA).

* The US economy has doubled since 1997, and recorded music sales in 1997 were $12B (see graph above).

The Volume of Music Acquired Without Payment

Some bloggers defend pirates with surveys showing that pirates buy more music than non-pirates. That defense suffers from the standard correlation versus causation problem. Those who most wish to acquire music do so, legally and illegally. That correlation does not prove that more piracy sells more music. Where radio songs trigger loss aversion, pirated songs do not. In fact pirated songs are essentially indistinguishable from purchased songs, which makes policing (or even remembering they are pirated) difficult.

Perhaps the most elegant defender of piracy is The American Assembly from Columbia University. They rely on absurd data. They claim (on the following graph) that the average American:

  • From age ~11 to ~25 buys ~70 songs/$70 worth of music a year, reaching 1000 songs/$1000 music collections by age ~25.  (That’s triple what our expected purchases are).
  • Then at age 30, the average American reverses his behavior and starts throwing away 39 songs/$39 worth of music a year. [Since we actually buy 20 songs/$20* worth of recorded music a year, the only way to lose 19** songs a year while buying 20 is to throw out 39 songs each year!]


* Americans (300 million music consumers) buy $6.22B worth of songs each year.  That’s $20 of music purchases a year, or 20 songs a year @ $1/song.
** 1044 legal songs at age ~25 down to 376 legal songs by age ~70. That’s a loss of 668 songs in 35 years, or 19 songs thrown out every year for 35 years straight.

This is absurd. Americans buy music at a fairly steady rate throughout their first fifty years, those over forty-five becoming more prominent each year while those under thirty slowly disappear.

Music Sales by Customer Age

Data from 2011 Profile

Music’s sales disaster is no mystery. It’s caused by easy, safe and ad-supported piracy.

Radio drives hunger for music, but it may have doomed the recorded music industry. Why? We expect free music in the air. If you are reading this you probably think … what’s wrong with some more free music? If music is free on my radio, why not on my iPhone?

While the US Government could, as it does with digital audio recorders, simply tax any device capable of playing music a few dollars to compensate for piracy, this is not on the table. Taxes sound scary and we don’t care. What happens to the recorded music industry is someone else’s problem, not ours. [A classic example of Tragedy of the commons.] Our magical thinking about music economics coupled with our endless hunger for free music is pushing the recorded music industry into the crack of doom.

[Next post. Of course music won’t disappear like Gollum or his ring. What will happen?]

Unlike recorded music’s fall in 2000, radio has kept up the economy (until recently…)

Media Share of US Advertising



Does a song cost a penny?

Record (1)

Lincoln Penny

Before the Internet…

Radio and recorded music have been distinct businesses, with ad-based radio driving music disk sales. The power of the Internet is quickly erasing this hundred-year-old division, blending radio and recorded music into an integrated and personalized whole.

Part 1: How much does a song cost?

According to Price Waterhouse Coopers, audio media (radio and recorded music) is a $29B business with three main components: Radio ($19.72B = $16.38B Terrestrial + $3.34B Satellite ), online music services ($3.34B) and recorded music ($6.22B = $3.85B digital and $2.38B physical). Assuming ~300 million Americans listen, that’s $97 per person per year for recorded audio. [I’m not including live concerts, an additional $8.91B business.]

Audio, like video, requires some hardware, $7.76B last year, according to the Consumer Electronics Association, or $26 per person. In addition, audio hardware (575 million devices in the USA) uses 1.8% of residential energy, that’s 190 kWh/year at $.12/kWh or $9 per person.

$97 + $26 + $9 = $124/year = $11/month per listener.

For this we listen more than two hours a day. 

Time Estimates (per day, in hours:minutes)




Radio + Music

US Census


















USA Touchpoints




NAB  report (page 16)









*Averaging 1:59 for 243 radio million listeners, 0 for the 57 million non-listeners.
** Survey of 8-18 year olds

At 67.5 hours per month (2:15 * 30) per person we (300M American listeners) are paying a mere $.15 per hour

$.15/hour seems reasonable compared to $0.50/hour for TV or $2/hour for books. It combines the time and cost of rented music (radio and Internet music services), purchased music (disk and digital) and free (pirated) music.

Audio: Music Service  Versus Music Purchases

Radio, Satellite & Internet music services

Disks & digital music sales

Revenue ($M)



Time per person per day



Revenue per month per listener



Revenue per listener hour



Revenue per 4 minute* song



*Average song length 227 seconds or 3:47

Q: Does a song cost a penny?
A: Yes, one play costs one penny ($.01).

Song length stats

Song length



The Internet of Books. Can ebooks double book profits?

E-readers are the biggest change to the book business in 500 years. Over the next 20 years, as e-readers get better and cheaper ($399 in 2007 to $69 in 2013), they will replace paper books, just as over the past 20 years digital cameras replaced film. PwC projects that the crossover point (in the USA) will come in 2017.


Today, the average ebook costs $6.65, $3.21 cheaper than the average new book ($10.86), so it takes 36 books to offset the average $114 cost of an e-reader.

Lowering the cost and friction of book purchases (from a trip to a store to a click of a button), allowing readers to carry their entire libraries in something the size of a small book, and removing the piles of books that remind us we’ve already got too many books, must increase buying and reading of books. How much? Don’t make the same mistake as McKinsey.

More reading

McKinsey here is statistically illiterate, confusing correlation and causation. They state “Adding a device increases reading” but all they show is that people who have purchased more devices spend more time reading. I bet those owners spent more time reading before they purchased a reading device; in fact, that’s probably why they purchased the device!

At least their friends at Bain have taken statistics. They asked the right question, have ebooks changed your reading habits? 44% said they consume more books (and only 8% consumed less). We know both that e-readers have increased book consumption and that e-reader owners read quite a bit more than average. We don’t know how many more books are consumed after purchasing tablets or e-readers.

Piracy – the downside of ebooks?

Excluding countries without effective copyright enforcement (like Russia, with 92% ebook piracy), books are rarely pirated. While digital books are easy to pirate, the dominance of the walled gardens of Amazon Kindle, the Apple iPad, and the Barnes and Noble Nook, has kept piracy to an acceptable level of around 30%.  Perhaps as important, since you can only read a couple books per month(unlike music where you can listen to thousands of songs) the financial incentive to pirate (or be a pirate) is low. Finally the availability of free public and school library books removes the philosophical justification for book piracy.

All-you-can-eat books?

Since all-the-books-you-can-read by definition provides the maximum possible revenue per customer, why aren’t books offered all-you-can-consume, like Spotify or cable bundles with hundreds of stations of TV? While physical books can’t be offered in unlimited quantities for a reasonable price (except from a library) ebooks don’t have this limitation. Scribd ($9/month), Oyster ($10/month) and Entitle ($15-$28/month) are start-ups offering books (though not from Hachette, Macmillian, Penguin Random House or (except Entitle) Simon & Schuster, 4 of the 5 big book publishers) by subscription. Perhaps more relevant, Audible (bought by Amazon) does offer a good selection and big (though not unlimited) portion of audiobooks for $23/month. Truly all-you-can-eat audiobooks might cost (and produce optimal revenues) at around $49/month.

If subscription is better, why hasn’t it caught on? It takes years to negotiate the contracts required to enable new business models. Copyright holders must take care selling licenses to their property. For instance while Netflix has spent years negotiating, given its $8/month price point, it will never have the breadth of offerings as $60/month cable subscriptions. Any single discount tier provider will be relegated to content that has no better monetization options.

Clearly it’s high time for the book giants to try to take control over their own destiny, like Disney/ABC, Fox and NBC did when they created Hulu in 2007. In fact they are late; books and audiobooks are far closer to being dominated by Internet delivery than TV shows are. Eventually both TV and books will be offered over the Internet at varying subscription tiers, with higher priced tiers offering higher valued content.

The Internet of Books

The highest tier is the most interesting: The ability to search and read (and cross-reference) all books on any connected device, that is “The Internet of Books”. This would be an awesome educational or research tool, worth far more than what the best book customers (book whales) spend on books.

How much would subscription to “The Internet of Books” cost?

$99/person per month would be a safe starting price for a search-and-read-any-book subscription. Testing might yield an ideal price (maximum profit for the book industry) in the $49-$79 per month range. Since ebooks have virtually no inherent cost, any revenue increase should profit boost to the book publisher and author. Three million one-percenters might consider being able to access the Internet of books as important as sending their children to private schools. Businesses might want their top 1% employees to be able to instantly search and read all relevant educational, technical and business books. Graduate schools might consider it a necessity for all their students and faculty. If 1% of Americans bought $1000/year subscriptions to all books, that $3B would more than double the profitability of the entire trade book industry.

Question: Can ebooks double book profits?
Answer: Yes. Access to “The Internet of Books” would be both attractive and valuable, a far better business than selling one book at a time. Other less expensive (and less useful) subscription options would further increase book profits: 

  • $999/year: Search all, read all. “The Internet of Books”
  • $49/month: Search all, read many. ~10 books/month
  • $9/month: Search all, read one. Book-of-the-month club

Netflix and Spotify prove that subscriptions are a better business than one-off purchases. (Too many choices inhibits purchasing.) Since ebooks (and digital video or music) have almost no intrinsic costs, if you sell more, you (author, publisher, distributor) simply make more money. 30% of ebook buyers are ready now:

seven-years-age-of-reason-fig-02-08_full (1)

I want “The Internet of Books”. You do too, big book publishers. Let’s do it!

More info:


Which costs more, a book or a movie ticket?

The typical American read

The average new book costs $10.86, with 2.57B new books sold for $27.9B. The average used book costs about $3, with 1B used books sold for $3B. Combining new and used books we get 3.57B books for $31B, or $8.68 per book (new + used), a bit more than the average $8.38 movie ticket.

On a hourly basis, books are cheaper. With the average book at 64,000 words, and the average person reading at 250 words per minute, that’s $8.68 for about 4.3 hours, or $2.01 per hour of reading, less than half the $4.90 per hour for movies in theatres.

However the $2/hour rate ignores two key items, borrowed books and unread books. Only 48% of people bought their most recent book.

Book source

Adding in 3B (1.5B from public libraries + 1.5B from family and school libraries) borrowed books we get 6.6B books per year or 22.8 per reader. Apparently only half of these 22.8 (11.4) are read.

[A bit below Pew’s estimate of 12.3 books (15 reduced by the 18% of people Pew says read zero books) and a bit above Bain’s 10.3 (see below)], we’re down to 3.3B books read, or $2.17/hour.

In any case, with $31B spent by 280M readers, that’s $110 per year per reader, or $9 per month. for 1 book and ~4 hours of book reading per reader per month.

Question: Which costs more, books or movies?
Answer: It depends:

  • One book ($8.68) costs more than one movie ($8.38)
  • Per hour books are less than half the cost of movies ($2/hour versus almost $5)
  • Overall we spend 3x more on books, $31B for book versus only $10B for movie tickets, or (per person) $9/month for books, $3/month for movies.

More book stats:

Bain estimates 10.3 books (7.3 physical, 3.0 digital) per year