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180 Challenge: Steph

Steph heard about Training Groove from one of the composers on the project. As a musician, entrepreneur, and runner herself she was quite excited about it.

Tell me a little bit about your running journey. How long have you been running? Have you experienced any injuries?

I sporadically ran some in college, not more than 2-3 miles at a time. My longest run was 5-mile run on a New Year's Eve and I stopped after that because my knees hurt. Coincidentally, I started again New Year's Eve 2017 and have been running consistently since then. The only time I got injured was after a glorious 10-mile run in New York City in October, 2018. I could do the distance but it seems my bones weren't ready for it, and I had to take a few weeks off to let my foot heal.

I hear you're training for a half marathon, how has your training gone? Training has gone well! I used Hal Higdon's Notice 2 program and it's great. I appreciate not deciding what distance to do every day, and it's really cool to notice my body getting stronger. It's also fun that my short runs are a lot faster than before.

I also understand that you have experimented with increasing your cadence. What was your cadence before? What is it now? It started about 165 and it's now 173, because I haven't focused on it recently. If I focus on cadence while I run, I can hit 177/180. I haven't run with a metronome, but certain music definitely helps. After the half-marathon, I'd like to work on this again so my cadence is higher by default.

How has increasing your cadence impacted your running? Like they say, it definitely seems to lessen the impact on landing and my knees hurt less. Also, if I'm not careful, thinking about pushing my cadence up makes me run faster, which either I can sustain for a short run, or I check myself and slow down if it's a long run. Taking shorter steps is hard and takes a lot of focus.

How have you gone about increasing your cadence? By thinking about moving my feet faster and when I remember (which isn't often), thinking about taking shorter steps. I identified a section of my original running playlist that has music that's faster than most of my running music, and that helps. I'm so excited about your work because I need more music like this! :)

Do you have any suggestions you would offer for others who want to increase their cadence? I'll pass along advice I've received when I did a video gait analysis, which was to practice cadence for a minute on and a minute off, with a metronome. For me, paying constant attention is hard because I'm also dealing with cars, the route, etc. The biggest thing for me is having music that just makes me naturally run with a faster cadence.

Thanks, Steph! It was great to meet you!

Consider taking the 180 challenge yourself -- I'd love to hear about your experience with cadence.

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