Yesterday, I met my coach, Craig Howie of the Howie Endurance Project, at the track for some cadence and form training. After a warm-up, he had me do 10x 400m repeats at progressive cadence. Using music organized by beats per minute (bpm), it started at 90bpm and progressed to 100bpm. (Need a good bpm analyzer for your iTunes library?) He also recorded video to analyze posture and form at different cadences and paces.
I typically run around 80-85bpm, but I’ve never known for sure if that’s the correct cadence for me, and for my goal pace. This experiment was eye-opening, in that some of the much faster cadences, and shorter strides, actually felt smoother and more effortless than the bouncing and loping I often do at a relaxed pace. What’s more, the pace was down around 6 or 6:30/mile. My goal race pace (to qualify for the Boston Marathon) is 7:26 in order to finish in 3:14.59 or faster.
So, the training plan will begin to incorporate some more mile-repeats at race-pace or faster. The work now will be about developing a new relaxed comfort at a higher-cadence and pace, and to develop efficiency and endurance at that pace.