Tuesday, February 23, 2010

And the North Wind shall Blow.....

Ok, it's freaking cold here today. I'm working from home and it's snowing outside my window. It used to be that I was the king of the cold weather, and while I'll still run in shorts and t-shirt when it gets below freezing, I don't relish it as much as I used to.

Of course, ask me that question again in July and I might have a different answer.

Since Dylan's been sick for the last few days, I haven't been able to do my early morning runs. Instead I've been doing a 10k loop of my neighborhood in the evenings just before bed. I've been using it as an opportunity to work on my speed.

Basically, there are two ways to get faster - either increase your cadence or your stride length. Cadence is simply a measure of how many times one of your feet hits the ground in a minute, and the elite runners generally have a cadence of 85-95. So on Sunday's run I measured my cadence by counting the number of times my right foot hit the ground in 30 seconds and multiplying by two. I did this three times during the run - once at the beginning, once in the middle and once near the end, with the idea that if I knew my natural cadence I could work on some drills to increase it.

I've always thought I had a slow cadence, but the results surprised me. All three readings were very consistent, and they came out at 90 hits a minute. Which means my cadence is right where it should be.

So last night I repeated the run and decided to concentrate on getting a better pushoff from my back leg while maintaining the same cadence and not overstriding.

The results were pretty conclusive - I did Sunday's run in 47:49 (7:42 pace) and last night I pulled 46:25 (7:29 pace). While nowhere near my best 10k race times, I'm pretty pleased with those numbers. Especially since I was running in the dark, wasn't going full out, and haven't been doing speedwork for a long time.

Looking at the weather outside though, I think I'll be practicing my cadence on the bike trainer tonight!!!

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