The Wisdom of Hippie Dan - Page 6
EASIER, NOT HARDER
Coming from the flatlands, I had to learn to run uphill. Sharpening that skill, I improved all my running. You can, too, with or without hills. Next time you’re running, count the times your right foot strikes the ground in 20 seconds. Multiply by three and you’ll have your stride rate per minute. (One stride equals two steps, so your steps per minute will be twice your stride rate.)
Now comes the good part: Speed up until you’re running at 85 to 90 strides per minute. The most common mistake runners make is overstriding: taking slow, big steps, reaching far forward with the lead foot and landing on the heel. This means more time on the ground, which means the vulnerable heel hits the ground with more force on landing, creating more impact on the joints. Training at a stride rate of 85 to 90 is the quickest way to correct this problem. Short, light, quick steps will minimize impact force and keep you running longer, safer. It also will make you a more efficient runner. (Studies have shown that nearly all elite runners competing at distances between 3,000 meters and the marathon are running at 85 to 90-plus stride rates.)
I used to train runners with a metronome. Nowadays there are plenty of websites that list music by BPM (beats per minute)_—_try http://cycle.jog.fm/. Either 90 or 180 BPM songs will do the trick.
For Trail Runner's book review, click here.