Running to a Steady Beat - Chi Running

Running to a Steady Beat

Posted by Laura Houston on Wed Jun 9th, 2010, 7 comments

Lately I have noticed how much my metronome has been helping my running technique. I have participated in several races the last few weeks and I usually end up running with someone. Sometimes I remember my metronome and other times I ran without it. If I was running with someone whose running cadence was a lot slower than mine, I would unintentionally slow my cadence down. Consequently, I would tire faster and my running technique would feel off. But if I remembered my metronome, and allowed the steady beat to become a part of my background, then my running felt more efficient and I seemed to have more energy.

I had the opportunity to test this on a multi-looped trail race, where I ran with different people throughout the day. The first loop, I ran with several people and, though I had my metronome on me, I didn’t turn it on. Near the end of the five mile loop, I was not feeling the running love, and was a little concerned, since that should have been an easy distance for me. Part way through the second loop, I found myself running with a Chi Running buddy, so I turned on my metronome to check my cadence. It was a bit slower than what I usually run at, which is 90 spm. I left it on and soon my stride was matching the beat. My body started to feel better and the running seemed to get easier.

I’ve learned my lesson not to leave my running partner (the metronome) at home. But I’m human and sometimes forget it. In that case, I keep the beat in my head and let my body dance to it. I’m a much happier and more efficient runner when I keep a steady beat!



  • cadence,
  • metronome

7 CommentsLeave a comment below

The metronome has helped me tremendously too.  It was annoying at first, but I do feel less tired & seem to get a bonus of free speed from it.

Metronome messes up my breathing. As I focus on the beat, I find it difficult to do a 2 step breath in, and three step breath out and simultaneously trying to match the metronome beat. Any idea how to get over with it?

Laura, I have found the metronome works for me. If I am not using it I start out to fast, over my 90 spm and as I get into the run my cadence slows to what others are running around me and my stride gets to long. Now I almost always use my metronome, which keeps my pace uniform and my stride short. It still amazes my that in doing this it feels easier and in races I am not working as hard for the same times. Leadville 100 John

@Mozammel - try not to overthink the breathing, but let it happen naturally. I only think about the 2 in/3 out when my heart rate gets up, like when climbing a hill or in the last part of a race. Try letting the metronome become the steady back beat. Hope that helps!

@ John and Joe - Sounds like it’s working for you too!

Natalie Isaac Jun 19th, 2010 02:21pm

When I first learned to ChiRun I was an Ipod addict and stubbornly refused to use the metronome.  I was having trouble using the new skills so finally gave in and tried the metronome.  What an amazing transformation.  I love it!  And even now hours and hours of running I would rather have a metronome than an Ipod.

robert vaughan Mar 22nd, 2011 04:51am

Carol Coram recommended you for instruction. I have read book and watched dvd by Danny. I am 60 and seeking to qualify for Boston this summer. When is your next Seattle training, where, and what are your rates? I may bring a friend, too.

Laura Houston Mar 22nd, 2011 11:47am

Hi Robert - next Seattle workshop is May 15, 12-4 pm.

I also do private instruction and small groups - contact me for details. Go to the instructor page ( and find me there under WA listings.

And do let me know if you have further questions! Happy running!

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