I just wanted to post this for people who are thinking about starting to change their stride. I had a customer send this to me about her experience and what she has found with trying to convert to a more mid-foot stride. She gives some great pointers and tips to get started. Enjoy!
I’m not a blogger. But I am a pushover, which explains how I ended up writing a blog. Perhaps I should start at the beginning. As a runner, I’m used to intermittent aches, pains, and tight muscles. What I’m not used to is those nagging aches to last more than a week. Recently, my hamstring decided to mount a campaign by yelling, “HEY! Look at me! I’m here and I’m not happy!” at me for a couple of weeks, nonstop. Being a runner, I decided to push through it, only getting a massage and foam rolling it as self-prescribed treatment. Not the smartest idea I ever had. So I finally bit the bullet and went to see a physical therapist. She was great and gave me a few nice dynamic stretches to do and suggested shortening my stride (increasing my cadence, as she put it) to put less pressure on the hamstring. I decided to be a good patient and follow her advice (gasp!) and headed straight to Run Away Shoes to see if they stocked metronomes so that I could measure my cadence properly. It turns out they don’t stock them, but Ross asked if I’d be interested in blogging about my “cadence adjustment” experience. I demurred, but he insisted and, ultimately, I caved. My apologies in advance to those of you being subjected to my limited writing skills!
As I begin on my cadence correction journey, I know my current cadence is 160bpm, or maybe a bit lower. My initial goal is to get to 168bpm. It doesn’t sound like a big difference, but having tried it on the treadmill with a metronome, there is a distinctly different feel to my running when I add 8 extra steps per minute. (On a good note, my hamstring discomfort all but disappeared just by making that small change.) The problem will be re-training my body to run at that cadence.
Step one: get a metronome that can clip onto my shorts when I run. Like a traditional metronome that clicks with each beat, a portable metronome beeps loudly enough to be heard while out on a run. Another option would be to load my iPod with songs that clock in at 168bpm. While I intend to do that, I’ve been trying to wean myself off constantly running with music. Hence the need for a metronome. My PT sent me a link for one on Amazon: the Seiko DM50S. It’s one of the lower priced ones at $19.50 (with free shipping!) and has gotten 4½ stars over 92 reviews. Since I’m a bit of a tightwad, I hesitate to spend much more on something I may not end up using regularly (assuming I don’t beat my addiction to running with music). I did do my due diligence and searched the web for other options, but really didn’t come up with anything great. So I guess I’ll try that one and see how it goes.
Ross had some good advice for me, too. He mentioned that increasing my cadence will result in a less efficient running style, at least to start, and warned that I would tire much more quickly than I’m used to. His suggestion was to incorporate the new cadence into my normal runs gradually rather than trying to do the entire distance at that rate. Seeing as how he’s done some playing with cadence himself, I figure he probably knows what he’s talking about.
So that’s where I’m at. I have a plan. Now I just have to implement it. I’ll be chronicling my journey throughout, so you’ll be able to follow along. Lucky you!