Running Cadence

Finally!  I felt really good during my swim today, both strong and confident.  It’s been awhile since I’ve had such a strong swim workout.  Swimming is by far my strongest event in triathlon.  I started swimming in kindergarten for my neighborhood swim team and swam for my high school swim team.  In high school, I started swimming the 500m freestyle and found my true calling in endurance swimming.  Since a lot of triathletes come from running or cycling backgrounds (more so than swimming), I found that I was particularly good at swimming in triathlon.  So, I’ve been quite discouraged since my last race putting on an entire minute to a 250yd swim (plus transition).  Anyways, back to the workout.  I did 2000m total, starting with a 300m Swim, 300m Kick (with kickboard), 300m Swim warm-up.  I followed that with 10x100m mixed sets of backstroke, breastroke, 2x freestyle, butterfly drill, IM, 2x freestyle.  Then I did a 300m freestyle swim to finish up.

After drying off a bit, I headed to the treadmills to do my easy (optional) run.  I did 2 miles in roughly 20 minutes.  I started out at 6.6 mph for 5 minutes (~9-minute mile pace), then 6 mph for 10 minutes (10-minute mile pace), and finally 5.5 mph for 10 minutes (~11-minute mile pace).  I spent most of the time experimenting with my running cadence.  I’ve read a few articles lately that studies have shown that world-class endurance athletes all run at an optimal cadence of 85-95 per minute.  I think my natural cadence is about 70 per minute, which is calculated by counting the number of left (or right) foot strikes in one minute.  I played around with increasing my cadence to 90 to see what that did for me.  Wow, it is hard to take that many steps per minute!  I did notice a significant difference in my running style and the impact on my legs.  Instead of feeling strained and tired like they usually do, my legs felt efficient and light.  I settled into an average cadence of about 86 cycles per minute for the rest of my workout.  This is really something I’m going to have to work into my running to see what kind of long term affects there are.  I’m hoping that maybe this will make me a more efficient and faster runner.  I’ll be sure to update on my experiments with cadence in the future.

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