Monday, May 16, 2011

Good form technique #3

Technique 3 initially seemed the most difficult to implement: run at a cadence of 180 steps per minute. This seemed incredibly fast, and also difficult. How can I count three steps a second, while keeping track of laps, and singing along? Jared had us practice to a metronome, but I don't imagine the Y folks would appreciate hearing that for my entire workout. He mentioned something even better, a free mp3 of a 180 bpm metronome. I inserted it into the ultimate 4-hour cardio playmix alternating metronome, song, metronome, song. Jared mentioned that in focusing on the cadence, don't think about your feet so much. Rather, focus on your arms, extending or retracting on every beat. Control the arms and the feet will follow.

I was skeptical, but I tried it, and it was really easy. It tied together the midfoot stride as well, because it's really hard to over-extend when taking so many steps. Another bonus was that it removed any idea of thought. I didn't even have music to think about, just beat-beat-beat, which translated to right-left-right-left. Sticking to 180bpm, my time / pace were right about what they always were.

Yesterday, I tried something different. Rather than listening to the metronome, I just ran, not counting or over thinking, just moving my arms as fast as I could. The result: a 43-second lap, followed by two 45s. When left to my own devices, I struggle to finish in 60 seconds. The way to quicker running, I finally learned, is MORE steps, not longer strides. It's so simple!

The fast bpm doesn't feel like work, the way bad form running used to. Does my body complain? yup. Do I get winded? absolutely. Yet, it feels natural and I'm definitely stepping and landing lighter than ever before.

For the walkers, cadence is the only difference between good form running and good form walking. Rather than shooting for 180, walkers should be in the 140-160 range (or whatever is most comfortable for you).


  1. I definitely recommend it. Seems so easy, but seems to make a big difference! Especially the cadence part.