My running strides per minute

A few days ago I linked to an article from Runner’s World that discussed increasing stride frequency as a way to improve running efficiency and potentially reduce injuries.

Earlier this week I counted my stride frequency while doing my long, easy run (listening to this Electronica/Dance playlist)

The Runner’s World article suggested increasing stride frequency to 180 steps per minute. At the time I didn’t know what that number really meant, but I assumed it was fairly high. Well, I now know it is, in fact, high.

My average strides per minute was 151.

Granted, it was during a slow run. But still, increasing that by 30 seems like a challenge. I’m doing a 5 kilometre time trial tomorrow and I’ll count again to understand the difference between a long, slow run and a short, fast one. I do expect my frequency will be higher than 151, but don’t know by how much.

Run to the Beat

Looks like an interesting event. Worth a look if you live (or plan to be in) London.

The race, now in its fourth year, starts and finishes at The O2 in London on the 25th September 2011.

  • 13.1 miles
  • 17,000 pairs of feet
  • Exclusive performances
  • Music to motivate you
  • Get grimey down in Greenwich
  • Dub step through Docklands
  • Rock round Royal Artillery Barracks
  • Hip hop down Ha Ha Road
  • Run to the Beat

via: Run to the Beat

On strides per minute

Get your stride frequency up to 180 strides a minute to improve your mechanics and efficiency, and maybe decrease injuries. Pretend you are running on eggs that you don’t want to crack.

via: Runner’s World | Footloose

The whole article has some interesting points/tips about running, but this one caught my eye. I have never thought about counting the strides per minute on my runs, but it does make sense. The more steps you do per minute, the longer the distance you’ll cover, thus the faster you’ll run.

When I was in high school I was part of the swimming team. Back then the coach used something he called “swim golf” to push us to swim faster. It was a similar concept to counting strides per minute. Not sure why it was called swim golf, but it helped us all be more competitive.

To calculate our swim golf we counted the strokes on one lap on a 50 metre pool while we timed ourselves. Adding the number of strokes and the seconds gave us our swim golf score. The aim was to lower it as much as possible. The only ways to lower it were to swim faster (less seconds) or to do less strokes, which promoted better technique.

I’m now intrigued by this “strides per minute” idea. I’ll count them next time and see how it goes.

Songs for Japan

iTunes, App Store and Mac App StoreI’ve already posted about the Run for Japan initiative, but if you don’t feel like taking part in that one, where you actually have to run, here’s another option.

From Apple:

As Japan recovers from the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck on March 11, the world’s top recording artists respond to the tragedy with this benefit album. The 38 tracks include some of their biggest hits, featuring an exclusive remix of Lady GaGa’s “Born This Way,” Katy Perry’s “Thinking of You,” Bruno Mars’ “Talking to the Moon,” Adele’s “Make You Feel My Love,” and more. All proceeds go to the Japanese Red Cross.

Not really running/jogging related, but since it’s music and has a few good tracks, I thought I’d post it. Just click on the banner below (or above) if you’re interested.

iTunes, App Store and Mac App Store

Electronica/Dance Running Playlist

Another playlist for running, but this time I filtered by genre and chose Electronica/Dance only. I tried this because there were a few good songs from that genre in the 101 Running Songs from that genre that I enjoyed running to. It seemed like a good genre to try out.

I specifically chose a medium tempo of around 120 beats-per-minute (BPM). That’s a good running pace, but not too fast. The playlist is just over an hour of music.

The Playlist:

Song Artist BPM Amazon iTunes
That Was Just A Dream Cut Copy 119 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
This Boy’s In Love The Presets 123 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Waters Of Nazareth Justice 124 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
This S’it Will Fcuk You Up Combichrist 120 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Operate Peaches 127 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Lullaby Of Clubland Everything But The Girl 126 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
The Careless Kind (Switch Mix) Infusion 126 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Pride Razed In Black 120 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Galaxy Bounce The Chemical Brothers 120 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Isolated Chiasm 125 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Loops Of Fury The Chemical Brothers 119 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Drift (Re-Mastered) Coto Normal 127 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Serial Thrilla The Prodigy 118 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Song To The Siren The Chemical Brothers 111 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Busy Child The Crystal Method 125 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes

Buy the entire playlist in iTunes here.

Lesson learned:

Electronica/Dance is definitely a great genre to run to. I thoroughly enjoyed this playlist.

What I liked the most is the difference between the songs. Even though they’re all from the same genre and similar tempo, they are quite different. Some are a bit mellow and others are fairly aggressive.

I think I agree that running to angry music helps me go harder. Not sure if it soothes my soul though.


I give it a 4 out of 5.


Adding distance vs. speed work for beginners

This is something most beginners struggle with. Once runners can comfortably run for 5 kilometres, they start thinking about improving.

But what’s better? To increase the distance you run (even if it’s at a slow pace) or to start doing speed work (to go faster at the same distance)?

I was having this discussion with a friend a couple of days ago. He decided to work on his speed and is doing intervals and time trials. He’s not increasing the distance of any of his runs. On the other hand, I decided to increase my distance first, so I’ve been doing more kilometres every week to get a good endurance base. I will start doing intervals soon, but only after I can run 18 kilometres without feeling like I’m dying at the end.

I don’t know which is best, but this article suggests that if you’re a beginner, you’ll naturally improve (go faster) for the first 12 months or so while your body adapts. After that, you’ll reach a plateau and the only way to continue to improve is to incorporate speed work and/or increase distances.

Here are 2 recommendations the article suggests:

Road Workout:
Jog an easy one mile warm up. Then alternate a faster paced run followed by a recovery jog for one mile using evenly spaced landmarks if available, like mailboxes, street lights, or telephone poles. Follow this segment of pick-ups with one mile at your normal training pace. Finish by jogging very easy for a half mile to cool down. Total: 3.5 miles

Track Workout:
Jog an easy one mile warm up, then run 4 x 400. This means you’ll run 1 lap around the track (400 meters) at a fast pace—not all out, but at a pace that feels comfortably hard—four times, with a recovery period in between … After one fast lap, jog easy or walk halfway around the track (200 meters) for recovery. Then run another fast lap. Repeat this sequence for a total of 4 fast laps. After the last 200 easy recovery jog or walk, run half a mile (2 laps) at your typical training pace. Then, cool down with an easy half-mile jog.
Total: 3.5 miles

via: runnersworld

A Runners Logbook

This all sounds fairly simple, but why bother in the first place? First of all, a logbook acts as a source of motivation in itself. When you start adding up all the kilometers you’ve run, you get a feeling of achievement which will help build your confidence as a runner.

via: Keeping a Running Logbook | Running | ASICS United Kingdom

Interesting article. I’ve never thought about keeping a proper logbook for my runs, but I do track my runs with Runkeeper on my iPhone, so I guess that counts sort of like one.