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New Training Format + A Note on Cadence: Blog #4

No post yesterday because the day got away from me! A combination of running twice, working all day, looking at rentals, and then watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (it's 2 and a half hours long!) made the day a bit too busy to blog. Oh well, more time to think about what to post!

On a side note, Hannah and I have started looking for places to rent and live here in Colorado, and we think we found a good one here in Boulder. We should know within the next few days where we'll be for the next year or so!

Training Update

As the title suggests, I have reformatted my training schedule with an added day off per week since there are no races coming up, and adding more rest makes the training less risky for injuries. An added effect of this training is that my single run endurance will increase as I will still be hitting high mileage but on less runs. The new format is as follows:


Monday: Day off running

Tuesday: 10 miles in the AM plus strength training, 6 miles in the PM plus strides

Wednesday: Intervals or Fartlek workout totaling 12 miles

Thursday: Midweek long run of around 16 miles

Friday: 10 miles in the AM plus strength training, 6 miles in the PM plus strides

Saturday: Long run of around 22 miles

Sunday: Second long run or an easy double of 18 miles total

Total Mileage: 100 miles


Yesterday I started this training off strong by doing by doing 12 miles in the morning and 5 more in the evening. This will be a loose format where my actual mileage will be close to the above values but not always right on. Today I will try to get a workout in, but Boulder is pretty smoky today!

Coaching Corner: A Note on Cadence

Yesterday I got a good question from one of my athletes about cadence. He (like many of us) had heard that the ideal cadence was 180 steps per minute and was worried that his cadence in the 160s was hurting his running. For a while I was in the same boat worrying, as my cadence does not often get above 170. That was until 2018 when I read Alex Hutchinson's (I reference him a lot) post on Outside online: "It’s Time to Rethink the Ideal Running Cadence."

It turns out there are a lot of factors that go into determining one's cadence, and the one-size-fits-all 180 steps/minute is not a great metric.

1. Height: "It makes sense that at any given pace taller people should have longer strides (and thus a lower cadence) than shorter people, though some advocates of a universal cadence of 180 steps per minute dispute that. In the new study, every additional inch of height was associated with a decrease of just over 3 steps per minute in cadence. That means someone who is 6 feet tall would typically take about 18 fewer steps per minute than someone who is 5’6”."

2. Pace: The cadence of an athlete running is directly proportional to their speed (http://sweatscience.com/cadence-in-elite-runners-increases-as-they-accelerate/). That means that at slower speeds you should expect a lower cadence, and during races and workouts your cadence should definitely be higher.

3. Individuality: Even elite athletes running at the same pace, have highly variable individual cadences. They just happen to average out at around 180 steps per minute! The graph below is of the cadences of athletes at the 2016 100km World Championship. As you can see there is huge difference is cadence, but not finishing times. "There’s one guy whose average was 155 and who never topped 160; another guy averaged 203. Those two runners actually finished the race, after nearly seven hours of running, within a few minutes of each other, Burns says. Whose cadence was more “correct?” Most of the runners certainly clustered in the 170 to 180 range, but the variability is enormous—and given that all these runners finished in the top 25 at the world championships, it argues against the idea that we should all aspire to identical cadence."


*The study was published in the Journal of Applied Physiology by Geoff Burns, a biomechanics Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan’s Michigan Performance Research Laboratory, and his colleagues.


Hutchinson finished his analysis by saying "That acknowledgment of individual variability is probably the most important message to emerge from Burns’s data, and should serve as a caution against trying to impose general rules on your running form. Burns’s grand overall model tried to predict each runner’s cadence based on every piece of data available—speed, height, weight, age, experience, and so on. Altogether, those factors were able to explain about 50 percent of the cadence variation between runners. The rest, in this study at least, was unmeasurable. “That was intellectually and romantically satisfying,” Burns says. “We can explain half with science, but the other half is unique to you.”

Thank you

Thank you for reading today's blog! If it's provided you with anything useful at all, it would mean a lot to me if you would consider supporting me financially through Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/caroluskhan

Sharing goes a long way, too!

Lastly, if you or someone you know is looking to up your training and are looking for a coach to help, look no further! Shoot me a message, and I'll get you set up with a personalized training plan in as little as a day. Thanks and keep grinding! 💪


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