It’s all in the cadence…

Posted: 01/07/2012 in Uncategorized

Laides and gentlemen of the judging panel, I’d like to thank you for this award. I owe it all to the cadence of my running, nothing more, nothing less…

Nope, I’ve never heard that at an awards ceremony, either.

However, it is part of the thinking behind efficient barefoot running – around 180 steps per minute seems to be the ideal – that’s three steps per second. I don’t know about you, but that’s a lot of steps.

As I’m ‘beginning transition’, I have the choice of either turning into a slimy alien that will run amok through a small American town, or I can get on with barefoot running. While the slimy-alien-gobbling-up-yokels approach has it’s attractions, I can’t afford the air fare, so I’ll stick with the skinny shoes.

On that basis*, I went out for tonight’s run with the aim of lots of dainty steps to see how it would go. I’m also at the start of my marathon training plan, and the plan said a gentle 5-miler today. As I don’t actually have any barefoot shoes at the moment**, I was running in my normal shoes but the theory still holds, right?

My knee is still a little funky from last weekend’s half marathon, so an easy run was also a good idea on that front.

As I headed out, I had to consciously up my pace, trying to keep the speed down at the same time. Easier said than done, and my arms weren’t too sure what to do with it. I’ve got a metronome thingy for my iPhone, and I thought about using that – unfortunately I thought about it after I’d already set off, so that was as much use as remembering your keys after you’ve closed the door.

While the run unfolded, I have to say*** the cadence thing came into its own – it all felt a lot more uniform – usually I set off at a pace, slowly slow down and end up a good bit slower at the end. In this case, I kept around a 10:00 pace from start to finish – I had to keep reminding myself to take wee steps every now and then, but the blah dog of fatigue**** never showed up, and I made it home feeling pretty chipper. Now that may have been because of the relatively short distance, but I suspect there’s something slightly bigger at play.

With a little luck, I should be the proud owner of a pair of barefoot shoes come Tuesday – nearly had some today, but my size wasn’t in store. Let the transition continue – and lucky for small-town America I’m talking about the running one…


  • Time: 49’04″07
  • Distance: 5.01 miles
  • Average pace: 10’00” on the nose

*Well, what other basis would I make the decision on?

**OK, so I’ve got some Five Fingers, but I suspect I’d get stoned by the locals if I went out in them – it’s only the lack of obvious witches that led to the burnings being cancelled these last two weeks.

***I don’t have to say, but it would be a pretty boring blog if I only said what I had to.

****Not an actual dog, more of a metaphorical one, though no less big or black for that.

  1. thebriars says:

    Mate, that’s my pace to a tee. I don’t do barefoot as a) I cant be ar5ed with re-learning my running technique – im too old and b) when I tried a pair of Vibrams I found the flint paths a bit choppy on the heels so being a southern woosse I gave it up pronto. I keep the Viobrams for beach runs (rare) and rock-climbing (rarer).

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