Running and Music

I’ve been doing some research on proper running form. I wanted to know how to avoid injury, and I figured positioning had a lot to do with it. I watched a video on runnersworld.com and the doctor there said the easiest way is to take 80-85 strides per minute.  Huh. Kinda slow, no?  But I heard wrong. Apparently, the magic number is actually 180 footfalls per minute.  Yeah, right. Ryan Hall and Meb Kefligizhi might be able to do that.  My inseam is 28″.  Not sure how I could ramp up to 180 steps in a minute.  Baby steps?

To try and discover my pace without a treadmill handy, I downloaded a metronome application to my phone.

metronome gif

I found 85 beats per minute was pretty slow.  My phone app said it was andante, which is technically “walking pace”. Boo! Fine for a Bach piece, not for a run. Music has inspired runners for generations.  It seemed a natural go-to for my unscientific research.

Here’s an example of an 80 bpm song:

However, 180 beats per minute sounded like a full-on sprint.  It reminded me of  the final kick to the finish line.  You could almost hear the tigers nipping at your heels.

Here’s a 180 bpm song:

It did not sound like me running on the treadmill, unless I happened to be pushing the speed limits that morning.  The app called it presto.

I played around with the gauge a bit, moving the arrow up and down. Me running at a sustainable pace sounded like mid-150s to 160s per minute.  My phone said it was vivace.  Personally, vivace sounds much friendlier than prestoPresto always makes me think of magicians, anyway.

The whole reason for this research had to do with staying injury-free.  But what I discovered is that the all-important 180 strides per minute means you don’t stay in one place for long.  You will get faster.  As part of running’s subculture of “less thinking, more doing”, the article I read mentioned swinging one’s arms more.  Your legs naturally follow.  There’s something to it, I think. Just do it.

I’m curious.  I have a date with a treadmill schedule for tomorrow.  Dare I try it?  Tune in tomorrow.


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