Letters of Life


I love the way it sounds. Cadence. It could be a girl’s name.

Cadence is rhythmic flow, the footfall in the inflection of a voice at the tail of a sentence, the beat of movement expressed by dancers, musicians, poets, and soldiers. In runners, the meaning is a little more prosaic, and is merely the number of strides per minute per foot.

It’s easier than it sounds. I tried cadence running today, because it appears that maintaining a specific number of strides throughout the run helps you run more efficiently, and in the long term, rewards you with increasingly faster running times.

So I downloaded a running cadence app (I will be using the word a lot), which turned out to be a fancy name for a metronome, and couldn’t wait to get started earlier this evening.

The cadence was set at 170 strides a minute because I wasn’t sure what that meant for me. It turned out to be a warm-up rate, and after a few minutes, I increased it to 180. Even so, I had by now grown accustomed to running the first few kilometres faster than this and slowing down to accomodate the 180 strides per minute was actually straining my leg muscles because I had to lengthen my strides.

The fun started when I hit a hill. I found I could maintain 180 uphill, and of course, was able to recover on the down slope. I think I finally got into the rhythm of things the last two kilometres back. By this time, sweat was pouring down my face like never before.

It wasn’t an easy run. Keeping to a steady foot rhythm felt odd, because of my bad habit of inconsistent pacing. I need to stretch a lot after this run. It’s going to hurt tomorrow, I can feel it. But as John Mellencamp once sang, it hurts so good.

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3 Responses »

  1. Lovely, and inspiring post! I like the word “metronome” too.

  2. Thanks for reading, Lauren! I love the tick-tock of the metronome but to me, even after all these years, the word never fails to conjure up a small bearded man. : )


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