The Metronome: Best Training Tool Ever

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I was out running with my dog this morning. And, as I ran along with my trusty metronome beeping away I was inspired to pass on my enthusiasm for this little instrument. I’ve been running with a metronome for about eleven years now and I can’t think of a better tool for practicing and learning the cadence ideas of ChiRunning.

If you’re not familiar with what I’m talking about, here it is in a nutshell. The most economical way to run is to vary your stride length relative to the speed you’re running. One exception to this would be for sprinters, who need to have very quick acceleration and therefore need to have an exceptionally high cadence relative to distance runners.

Slow running = Short strides
As a rule of thumb, your stride should be the shortest when you’re running at slow speeds. We recommend this because running at slow speeds with a long stride creates too much contact time with the ground, overworking your leg muscles.

Fast running = Long strides
As you increase your speed, your stride length should get longer. Watch the Kenyans (or any other highly efficient runners) when they’re racing and you’ll see what I mean by how long their stride is.

One of the revolutionary aspects of the ChiRunning technique is that your stride length changes with your speed while your cadence, with only a few exceptions, remains constant.

Running with a metronome beeping away keeps me honest (not to mention consistent) with my cadence…no matter what I’m doing. Having my cadence always remain steady, prompts me to lengthen and shorten my stride depending on what my body needs, or the terrain dictates. When I’m running uphill it shortens…heading downhill, it lengthens…when I slow down, it shortens…going faster, it lengthens again.

I’ve learned more about how to work with my stride length from this device than from all the running coaches I’ve ever met, and I’ll probably never stop touting its praises. Running to a rhythmical beat adds a wonderful ease to your stride, and the depth of understanding of how your stride works best, will never be the same.

I don’t run with my metronome beeping all the time. That would drive me a little crazy. I use it for the first few minutes at the beginning of each run and then check in with it periodically to see how I’m doing.

Click here for a very thorough article on specifically how to use the metronome. If you’d like to see what it looks like, the ChiRunning DVD shows a great split-frame video of a person running at four different speeds with the constant beep of a metronome in the background.

Try it yourself and you’ll see what I mean.



Posted in Technique

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