The Chi Running technique advocates a consistent cadence – regardless of speed. Chi Running defines cadence as “the number of strides per minute that one leg takes.” Per the authors, speed comes not from making your legs turn over faster, but from increasing your stride length. During my “treadmill break” I measured my treadmill cadence at 88 beats per minute over three different speeds – so at least I've got it right on the treadmill.
The first step of Lesson 9 was to measure my cadence on the open road. The instructions were: after a 10-minute warm-up run, set the countdown timer for a minute and start counting the number of times the right foot hits the ground. This will establish your baseline cadence.
The authors recommend using a metronome to practice running at a consistent cadence. Metronome? Of course I have a metronome. It’s sitting on top of my piano. But I suspect it would be quite challenging to haul it around with me. There’s an app for that, too. I downloaded “Mobile Metronome” from the good old Google App store.
So, armed with my smarter-than-ever phone, I ran for ten minutes, started the one-minute countdown timer, and started counting the number of times my right foot hit the ground. Would you believe – 88? At least I’m consistent.
I set the metronome to 88 beats per minute and finished my run. Per the authors’ direction, I tried to vary my speed. It was easy to keep cadence running more slowly, but I found it more difficult to keep cadence as I leaned into my run to go faster. It seemed I wanted to take fewer steps, which felt like slowing down. Counterintuitive, I know. I’ll practice this more in a couple of days when I work on Lesson 10.