I am a creature of habit. I find a restaurant I like, and I go there whenever I can. I find a lunch option that works – calorie wise – and I drive it into the ground. I golf at only two courses, and wear Granimals for adults to work (black pants, colared or tank top, colored jacket or cardigan).
I think it’s part of my Virgo personality. Born on September 23 (which I’m throwing out there in case any of you want to send presents, preferably of the tall and smart variety), I am on the cusp of two signs. The Virgo in me is a control freak, and plans everything to the nth degree. The Libra in me says “whatever” and walks out the door, sometimes, not knowing where I’m going.
So I don’t adopt new technology into my runs very easily. I’ve been hemming and hawing about getting a new heart rate monitor for about 4 months. (I lost the strap for the last one about 4 years ago and haven’t used one since.) And my playlist on the iPod is so overused that I’m even bored with it.
So I’m going to download something new today, and see how it goes. It’s called Podrunner, and it was recommended to me by my CES coach to help increase my cadence.
What’s cadence? Well, it’s the amount of times that your feet hit the ground in a certain period. For me, over a minute, my left foot hits the ground about 73 times (146 Beats Per Minute or BPM). We had a nice clinic on running efficiency last week, and one of the things Mike taught us was that to get more efficient, you don’t want to just take longer strides – you actually want to turn over your feet faster. It’s kind of like riding a bike, but just taking an extra gear down.
I’m slow because I can be – and because it’s where my heart rate stays steady (I know because I can still talk). But I want to work my way up to something a bit quicker, just to see if it makes my running any easier, better or stronger.
So I’m going here to download one of the Podcasts. They are set to music, created by a pretty good DJ, and they are FREE! Also, there are “Fixed BPM” and “Interval” Podcasts – either at a fixed or range of BPM. Last week, to understand my current state – where I’m at with my cadence – Mike had us run for a minute, and count how many times our left foot hit the ground. It’s an easy exercise, and if you’re considering doing this, you should take a measure of your current cadence first.
Next, Mike explained that if you’re trying to increase your cadence, you don’t want to do it all in one week – which makes sense. And you also shouldn’t expect to go from 145 BPM to 170 BPM in three weeks – if ever. So I’m going to start slow, and move up one to two beats per minute, over a period of weeks.
First, I’m going to download the “Hothouse” Podcast, which is at 145 BPM – right around where I’m running now – to get used to the concept. Next week, I might download one at 146 BPM (well, likely in two weeks). In theory, if I can run with these mixes, it will keep me on a pace that is pretty steady, and will help increase my speed.
If you’re a new runner, who’s struggling to keep a pace, maybe you can start with something slower – and try to stick with it throughout your run. If you’re a walker, these Podcasts also work really well to keep you moving at something other than a snail’s pace. Think about it if you’re looking to amp up your workout, or just hold yourself accountable.
Most of the Fixed BPM podcasts appear to be about an hour long – perfect for getting fit whenever you want. For me, the other benefit of this kind of Podcast is that I won’t be fludging around with my iPod on my run, trying to get a song that keeps me going. I’ll just turn on the iPod and go.
Consider checking it out if you’re looking for some motivation. For me, it’s about making life easier by using a free tool. Can’t beat that!
See you on the path!