Cadence, Music and PBs

Recently, the topic of cadence has been cropping up when I have conversations with friends about running. To be honest, when the word was first used, I didn’t even know what it meant…

Cadence : is the total number of ‘revolutions per minute’ (RPM), or the number of full cycles taken within a minute, by the pair of feet, and is used as a measure of athletic performance. It is very similar in respect to cadence in cycling; however it is often overlooked in its importance in the sport of running.

I have do a speed workout every week and over the past few weeks have been trying to increase my footfall so I reach a higher count. Then, through measuring my own times seeing what effect it had on my performance.

But what ‘RPM’ should I be running at?

According to Jack Daniels, 180 steps per minutes is the Holy Grail. This is the target that athletes should aim for in order to achieve an RPM which will reduce the landing shock and provide a more efficient use of energy.

My first experience of 180 steps per minute came on my 5K Parkrun attempt last week (see : Parkrun PB). I started with a short sprint to get into some space near the front and in my head began counting… 1 Mississippi… 2 Mississippi… 3 Mississippi

By aiming for 3 steps per second I would (roughly) achieve the 180 steps per minute required.

The positive to this : I ran my fastest 5K ever. A new PB!

The negative side : wow… counting Mississippi over and over again in my head is draining. And dull…

I had heard that some runners listen to music of a certain BPM (Beats Per Minute). This would allow their strides to fall in time with the beat (which would be at approx 180BPM). This would allow me to subconsciously fall in line with a stride pattern that would be in line with my goal.

And so I tried it… I created a playlist using JogTunes and headed out for a run. I wanted to go for a race pace 10 mile run as it was almost 1 month before my half marathon (I also wanted to listen to all the songs I had selected!).

I found the first mile quite tough. I am a slow starter when it comes to running and like to ease myself into the tempo, but the pace of the music was teasing my legs into moving a little quicker than normal at this point. As I passed the 5 mile mark, I suddenly became aware that I was on for a decent time and my legs were feeling quite spritely for a Wednesday night. So on I pushed, feet still falling in time with the music, occasionally scaring passers by as I sang shouted the lyrics to the playlist below.

Fast forward to the end of my run… PBs. Lots of PBs. I was over the moon. I had somehow found the motivation to get me through a tough run, and come through it in record time!

Now, I’m not suggesting improving your cadence will result in PBs instantly. I have been putting a lot of work into running recently and this was my first test for quite a while to gauge my ability. But I would highly recommend thinking about cadence and how you can reach the legendary 180PM.

I will publish my times in a separate post and will also write about my new running partner.

Cadence

Keep yourself busy checking out my playlist…

N*E*R*D : Rock Star
Five Becomes Four : Yellowcard
If I Had Eyes : Jack Johnson
99 Problems : Jay-Z
Imma Be : Black Eyed Peas
Show Me How To Live : Audioslave
R.O.O.T.S : Flo Rida
Monkey Wrench : Foo Fighters
Feel Good (The Prototypes Remix) : Modestep
Bye Bye Bye : N Sync
Of All The Gin Joints In All The World : Fall Out Boy

What would your ideal running playlist be?

Which song makes you want to push harder when running?

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