The Beeps!

In the recent years I have completed a reasonable number of triathlon races, including four on the middle distance and one on the full distance. Swimming is definitely not my thing, thanks to a little incident in the pool when I was young. At cycling I’m reasonably okay. In the end, however, it’s the running part where I usually make up most places, despite the fact that I’ve only been running for less than seven years.

With my relatively short experience in running, my running technique leaves room for improvement. In recent years I invested a lot in running gear that gives me an analysis of my running technique. Devices used includes Stryd (both versions), Milesone Pod, Garmin, Stridalyzer, Lumo Run, RunScribe (both versions). Basically, you name it, I have it.

The information and advice these devices give me differ quite a lot. Try landing more on your front foot. Try putting your foot more on the outside… etc. Though, on one thing they all agree: my running cadence is poor with a typical cadence of 156 steps per minute. In Dutch there is a saying that perfectly describes my cadence: “grote stappen snel thuis”. When you take big steps, you’re home quickly. Downsides of this technique are that it is not really efficient and that it has a high risk of knee injuries.
This year I decided to take action. The first thing I did, was to stop running with music. I expected this would be extremely boring but somehow I managed quite well. You just go and let your thoughts take you wherever they lead you. Typically, I’m calculating what pace leads to what time on the half or the full marathon (Calculating with a distance of 42.195 km isn’t easy) On running with music you tend to run to the rhythm of the music. This leads to differences in running cadence (inefficient) and in my case low cadence (also inefficient).

The second part of action is running with a metronome. The investment roughly set me back € 15. Certainly a minor investment in comparison to the other devices. The little device gives beeps at fixed intervals. In recent months I managed to upgrade my cadence to 164. Usually, I’m trying to add one step per minute every week. Obviously, my current cadence of 164 is a big improvement coming from 156. Yet, the magical optimum seems to be around 180 steps per minute so there is still big room for improvement.

Oh, and do I like running with the metronome? Definitely not…. hate it. Running 15K in say 1 hour and 25 minutes give 13,940 beeps in my ears. Of course that is not nice. But all for the good cause, I’d say.