I have been running with a Garmin Footpod since acquiring a treadmill in September 2007. Originally I purchased it to aid me in using my Forerunner 305 while running on the treadmill; the Forerunner will not work due to fact it uses its GPS functionality for measuring distances.
Out of the box the Footpod was pretty accurate to the treadmill calibration and given that it was a brand new treadmill I had no reason to disbelieve it. I have since proven it’s out of the box accuracy on a track; at least it works for me and my stride length etc. In addition to providing you with the usual data that you can receive, depending on you personal settings, one other dataset that is not standard is cadence.
I had always heard that the way to run faster is to run quicker, that is to increase you cadence (or churn or turnover as it is sometimes called, and using the Footpod on the treadmill I was able to do this. Then last year a friend of mine (thanks Fred) told me that he had been able to use the cadence setting on his Forerunner while being outdoors; to do this when you have the prompt to “Use indoors?” you simply say no…that’s it! You can also then program the Forerunner to beep (read annoy the *beep* out of you) when you deviate from your settings.
The other factor that comes into play is form and I read a really good blog post by ultra runner Rhonda who describes her experience with pain, injury and form here and I have stolen the video from her blog and posted that below, it’s good stuff and worth watching.
Personally I remember watching some video of ultrarunner Anton Krupricka on YouTube and thinking how effortlessly he seemed to cover the ground and without any really thinking I tried to emulate his style which I have (kinda sorta...at least in my own mind) got down, of course I am lacking all his other attributes; endurance of a mountain goat, weight of 120lb soaking wet and being, what 15 years younger than me etc. And now I can keep up a good pace 7.5 - 8mph or a 7:42 - 7:30 pace with an average cadence in the 85 – 90 range with no real problems for an "average" run, LSD are long and slow and usually on the trails and speedwork is well...speedier, I'll get to that below.
Here's Anton doing his thing:
Look at that scenery; and you still want to know why I run trails....
Anyway as you may know I cross train on a road bike and I also have a Garmin Cadence Monitor mounted (no I do not own any shares in Garmin…maybe I should get some!), in my quest for speed I was told by another friend, Jan, to stop mashing the big gear and get my cadence up, well this I have been working on for the last 6 -7 months and I can now happily (I use happily in the loosest sense of the word) roll along with a cadence around the 90-95 rpm, this the number of times my pedal crank passes a specific point on my chain stay during is rotation within a minute. As a result this has pushed my average speed up; not that you'd know with the amount of cyclists that pass me on the road!
Now this is where the funky stuff starts, there seems to be a direct correlation between the cadence on the bike and the cadence while running with a +/- variance of less than 3%. As mentioned my running cadence is averaging in the 85-90 range. With an average of 90 rpm +/- 3% = 87.9 to 92.7. You can't argue with the numbers.
During my training cycle last year for Twin Peaks I incorporated 6 weeks of speedwork (written about here) which I ended with a 5k race and shaved over a minute off of my 5k personal best finishing in 19:42, placing 5th overall and winning my age group. My average cadence for this race: 93.0.
Since my original purchase I have purchased another Footpod for another set of shoes. Garmin actually sell two versions, the first version, of which both of mine are is a little larger than v2 and requires that you run your laces through it to secure it to your shoe, I understand that that v2 is easier to affix to you shoe by way of a clip. The downside of when I made my purchase was the price and the v2 was always more expensive, now supplies of v1 have dried up and the balance has changed you can purchase, through Amazon, (the source of nearly everything) a v2 for $75 compared to a v1 which is a staggering $185! (I paid $50 for my first v1 and $30 for my second).
So what is the take away from this rambling diatribe is that if you really want to run faster you have to run faster and ride faster…that’ll be another one chalked up to the benefit of cross training then!
PS If you have a minute pop over to Sara's blog and wish Happy Birthday; today's her 30th!