Lake Michigan at Sunrise

Lake Michigan at Sunrise

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Running to the Beat

Monday night I started thinking on what I should do for a run on Tuesday morning. I wanted to do 9-10 miles, but what kind of miles? I reminded myself that any type of speed work right now would either slow down my healing in my crumby calf even more or risk getting it worse.  I decided to start working on cleaning up my stride.

If you recall my Video Gait Analysis of My Run, I have a cross over stride and some other minor issues. I'll restart my strength training exercises for it next week, but I decided now is good time to start practicing the 5% increase on my cadence (180 steps per minute to 189). Theoretically, the uptick in my step count should remove the extra time my legs have to do crappy things, like knee touch, cross over, and my feet kicking each other (see the break in my sneakers ankle support for proof I do this). My biggest issue doing this is doing this cadence while not pushing my speed.

Back to my 4am alarm, coffee, bio break, out the door by 4:30am, turn on my christmas tree worthy LED vest, and set my metronome app to 189, volume low, and the noise set to a dull sound so I don't feel like clawing out my eyes to the default DING DING DING DOOP.
I said doop...

It was a balmy 48 degrees when I stepped outside! My legs didn't that limber, but my well being was very happy to get outside. I jogged slowly to the lakefront path (~1.2 miles), set the split on my watch, and aimed to hold a 189 cadence for 7 miles, hopefully around an easy pace. I saw a few more regulars that I had seen pre Chicago Marathon, so I was happy to get some friendly waves again.  I am sure my bright lights made people feel safe that I wasn't going to mug them.

The first mile was a lot of mental coordination to becoming one with the beat, figuring out what it feels like. Miles 2-5 was settling into the groove, monitoring my body for any aches ( a few light ones), and seeing if I noticed my stride cleaning up.

I stopped for a couple photos at Belmont Harbor:
Hey, who turned off the lights? (Whovians?)

The boats are gone :(

Miles 6-7 my legs started to get a little tired of the increased amount steps I was taking and I had to pay more attention to matching the beat again.

Then I did a 1.2 mile slow jog back home to cool down.

Results: I did the 7 miles at about 7:30 pace, which was perfectly fine for today. I didn't notice my knees grazing each other or my feet strike each other at all. I'm interested to see if I get sore from this and how this progresses over different paces. I'll be doing a lot of these types of runs until I internalize the pace.

So what's up with you?


  1. It was so nice and warm out this am! Crazy!

    This is really interesting to me, as today, I focused on correcting the supination in my left leg and noticed that that somehow picked up my cadence and my speed. Hmm. Do you use a metronome app on your phone?

  2. I do! just a basic free one, set it to 189, and made sure the option was turned on to keep it running while the screen was locked

  3. Pete B lakefronttrail.blogspotOctober 29, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    With my new Garmin footpod, my GPS watch can track my cadence. I am usually at around 88 to 90. Maybe you'll see the sunrise next week with the time change? It was a big red fireball coming over the lake this a.m.

  4. I'm finally starting to get used to running in the dark and I kinda love it. The city feels so quiet at 5 am! I'm interested to hear about your experiment with cadence and if you feel it helps your stride/prevents injury.

  5. I'm just hoping to runn later today with little to no knee pain...fingers crossed

  6. I doubt I'll see the sunrise again while running until early Spring!

  7. Experiment failed lol should have eased into it with a smaller distance or intervals!

  8. Did you see Doctor Moon? Increasing cadence really is tiring. I worked on it occasionally pre-marathon but used music with a 180-ish beat.