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  • Writer's pictureAnnaka Hogelin

180 Challenge: Emily Wangler

It was a pleasure to interview fellow clarinetist & recreational runner, Emily Wangler. Read below to learn about her experiments with increasing her running cadence.

AH: Tell me about your experience running.

EW: I used to do sports in high school. I played field hockey. That was really my only reason for running. Regarding my friends who ran cross country, I was always wondering “Why are you just running without a purpose?” And they replied “I just really like it.” And I never got it. I started running a little bit in undergrad, but never very consistently, and I continue to try and keep running. I use it as a stress reliever and it’s good for me. It’s more challenging in Colorado than at sea level, so it’s an extra challenge to do it here. I’ve done two 5Ks in my life: one in New York about 5 years ago and one was in Boulder about 3 months ago.

AH: Have you ever experienced a running injury?

EW: Not really an injury, but I get shin splints every once in a while, where I just feel a lot of pain in my shin area. But it comes and goes.

AH: You said you like to run for stress relief. Where do you usually run?

EW: In the summers, I like to run outside. I’ll go on the Boulder Creek Path or just down my street because it is pretty residential. But in the winter I usually go to the rec center and run on the track.

AH: So after I told you about Operation Cadence, you started experimenting with your cadence.

EW: Yes, I have tried experimenting with it. And it is definitely different than anything I’ve done before. I never knew that running cadence was a “thing” in the first place or knew how exactly it affected my body. So in trying to increase my cadence, I can tell that it puts less stress on certain parts of my legs, but I’m also using muscles I’m not used to using. So I’m putting more stress in other areas, but in areas that I think will be able to adapt to that over time.

AH: Is it difficult for you to physically move your body at 180 steps per minute?

EW: 180, yes. Faster than I was originally doing? No. So I’ve been easily able to increase my cadence, but not up to 180. But I’ve definitely increased it.

AH: How do you go about increasing your cadence?

EW: Right now, I’ll do little bursts of it. Recently, I’ve been running on the track a lot, so when I get to a straightaway, I’ll think “Ok, is my cadence similar to what it was two months ago? Or is it a little bit faster?” Then I’ll try to increase it just a little bit, so it still feels comfortable, but on the edge of comfortable, where it feels almost a little too fast, just to try it out. Usually, it doesn’t last very long and I’ll end up slowing my cadence a little bit after that.

AH: Have you ever tried to run with your metronome?

EW: I did! Actually, when you first told about running cadence at 180 beats per minute, I tried that. And I went, “Wow! This is really fast” and I stopped doing that. Now knowing where that goal is, I’m working on increasing it a little bit at a time.

AH: That’s wise. Do you have any other tips for someone else who might be interested in cadence? Or any other benefits you might have experienced?

EW: I’m still figuring it out a little bit. I think it’s more experimental, which is also kind of interesting because not only am I going to exercise and feel like I’m bettering myself, but I also feel like I’m doing an experiment when I go to the gym. So I’m like, “I have to see what happens this time if I try this.” It’s just interesting to try it. And I really like the idea of having music to run along to because running along to the metronome is boring. And if you put other music on with the metronome, then it’s all colliding. So I like the idea of having music to help guide in that.

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