RUNNING >> Running to Music

Running 2 Rhythm

 Music as an aid to running.

 

Music as an aid to running If you are like the many people who run with headphones or in some way listen to music while you run – perhaps on a treadmill – you will know that some music seems more ‘right’ than other music. You will also know that there are times when the music seems to ‘get you going’ and there are times when the music is just not right.

 

The reason that some music seems more appropriate than other music to you is because its beat more closely matches your running cadence, ie, the number of beats per minute is similar to the number of steps per minute. The reason this does not happen often is because most music is played at up to 130 beats per minute and this is too ‘slow’ to match your cadence which could be anywhere from 155 steps per minute (a 9 minute/km pace) to 180 steps per minute (a 3 minute/km) or faster.

 

Now Run2Rhythm (see www.Run2r.com) allows you to select the precise rhythm to match the tempo of your run. How do you do that you might ask! Well a quick peek at the chart below will tell you what is the correct cadence for each running speed. For example if you want to run at say 6 minute/km speed just download music set to 163 beats per minute. Note that TechniJogging means ‘jogging technically correctly.

 

Table 1

Mode of Exercise Approximate Speed Cadence/Beats Per Min

Moderate Walking 9 minute + per km 120 to 130 steps/beats per min.

Fast Non-Competitive Walking 9 -> 8 minute per km 130 to 140 steps/beats per min.

TechniJogging 10 minute per km ~150 steps/beats per min.

9 minute per km ~155 steps/beats per min

8 minute per km ~157 steps/beats per min

Low Cadence Running 7 minute per km ~159 steps/beats per min.

6 minute per km ~163 steps/beats per min.

Medium Cadence Running 5 minute per km ~167 steps/beats per min

4 minute per km ~171 steps/beats per min

High Cadence Running 3 minute per km & faster ~180 to 220 steps/beats per min.

 

So YOU are just beginning a run program. If you are, or if you are rehabilitating back to running from and injury, you need to consider that good running is all about running regularly, running with good technique and running rhythmically.

 

I came to “run2rhythm” via the first two components mentioned above. To run regularly the person must avoid injury. Injuries are avoided by building into running gradually and by developing a sound running technique. Part of developing a sound running technique is related to running rhythmically.

 

People walking normally move along at about 2.2 steps per second, those who are jogging slowly will move at around 2.6 strides per second while average to good runners will move at a rate between 2.8 and 3.1 strides per second. Top athletes will move at nearly 3.7 strides per second over considerable distances.

 

This rate of movement can be replicated to music. For example a person of modest fitness just starting out on a running program might walk to music that is playing at around 140 beat per minute, TechniJog (technically correct easy jogging) to music playing at about 155 beats per minute and run (again technically correct) at 163 beats per minute.

 

Leaving technique and regularity for another article running with good technique means not wasting effort but technique will normally have to be demonstrated and taught to most people and even the greatest of runners will often find small improvements are possible.

 

Running rhythmically means being aware of different cadences (steps per minute) you will use depending on your speed of running. This can be calculated any time simply by counting your steps for 60 seconds.

 

“Running” regularly (i.e. walking, jogging or running) for the average person seeking to maintain or lose weight and/or to develop the capacity to enjoy entering fun runs, means running every day or at least 4 times per week because a minimum exercise program should involve 30,000 to 40,000 steps per week in addition to a basic 3000 to 5000 steps per day simply moving around.

 

What is Run 2 Rhythm?

 

The “Run 2 Rhythm” program is essentially coupling cadence to music. (See Table 1 below) You may already be aware of this if you have walked or run listening to music. Some music will really match your cadence. Other music is less suitable.

 

Now YOU can purchase music with the EXACT beat to match with any mode of exercise and any exercise pace you wish to choose. The R2R concept is all about exercising correctly. If you know your walking, TechniJogging and running paces then you can select the appropriate music to exercise to while using the most appropriate mode of exercise, i.e. walking, TechniJogging or running.

 

Why R2R?

 

There is plenty of music around to exercise to but the beat will rarely suit your physiological needs for any length of time and listening to music with an inappropriate beat will destroy, not enhance, rhythm unless you are capable of filtering out the impact of the beat while enjoying the music. By exercising to a rhythm you will keep the cadence correct, the ‘effort/relax’ aspect of running – something training to heart rate and running pace will not do – will be reinforced while the iPod music will contains technique ‘cues’ to keep you running correctly.

 

Exercise Levels

 

There is a relationship between the mode of exercise and rhythm at which yo uexercise. As we have seen above any non race walker using walking as a mode of exercise will accumulate approximately 7500 steps (+/- 300 steps) in an hour. Someone who is TechniJogging will record approximately 9400 steps and someone running at medium intensity will record approximately 10,000 steps.

 

Table 2

Mode of Exercise Heart Rate Zone % of 10k Pace Steps per Hour

Walking Easily >50% MHR NA ~ 6,720 steps

Walking Moderately ~50% MHR NA ~ 7,500 steps

Walking Fast (*Not Race Walking!) 50 to 60% MHR 30 to 45% ~ 8,400 steps

TechniJogging 50 to 60% MHR 30 to 45% ~ 9,400 steps

Aerobic Recovery Running 55 to 65% MHR 45 to 55% ~ 9,800 steps

Aerobic Conditioning Running 65 to 78% MHR 55 to 73% ~10,300 steps

Aerobic Threshold Running 78 to 83% MHR 74 to 86% ~10,800 steps

Lactate Threshold Running 83 to 87% MHR 87 to 91% ~11,400 steps

 

The problem is that very few people can sustain an even rhythmic pace over time. Indeed this is what separated the great runners from the next level of good runners. Most people tend to start too fast and never get to complete the full period they planned, i.e., they run too fast and stop at 20 or 30 minutes instead of completing the original 60 minutes. They also tend to think the value of the exercise is the same.

 

The facts are different. Energy is expended every time we move and weight is controlled by the amount of daily (i.e. every day) movement. If you were exercising to improve structural (muscle/skeletal) strength, to lose/maintain weight or to improve simple general endurance 45 minutes of moderate walking (~5600 steps) would be better than 30 minutes of high intensity (~5300 steps) and 45 minutes of TechniJogging (~7000 steps) would be better than both.

 

More importantly if you were exercising to improve fitness the 30 minutes of high intensity running would ONLY be good for you were a more experienced runner capable of running for at least 1:30 hours at low intensity. In the case of someone whose average long run is around 60 minutes running 20 minutes at moderate intensity or up to 80% MHR would be much better.

 

Properly used R2R will assist YOU to avoid the over-use injuries and over-training related illnesses so common among the average person trying to manage their own program.

 

Linking Cadence to Running Speed

 

If you want to link your cadence to running pace, as has been done generically in Table 1 above, simply time yourself over 1k and at some time during that kilometre count your steps for 1 minute. For example if you run the kilometre in 6 minutes and counted 162 steps in a minute while running the kilometre your 6 minute/km cadence is ~162 steps per minute. Music set at a beat of 162 bpm will help you sustain that rhythm of a long period. This could be very applicable to someone aiming for a 2:06 hour half marathon or a 4:12 hour marathon.

 

Establishing cadence using a 1-kilometre section is very time-consuming however you can do it by using the chart below. Simply time yourself over 100m and count your steps – remembering the first step onto the start line is counted as ‘Zero’.

 

The average results (+/- 2 steps per minute) for me were and these were also totally predictable between 8 minute per kilometre and 5 minutes per kilometre and remained very consistent down to 3 minutes per kilometre across a range of athletes I experimented with as well.

 

Table 3.

Time per 100m Steps/100m Steps/min Steps/km Km Pace

48 sec ~125 steps ~ 155 per min ~1250 steps/km 8 min/km pace

45 sec ~ 157 per min 7:30 min/km pace

42 sec ~114 steps ~ 159 per min ~1100 steps/km 7 min/km pace

39 sec ~ 161 per min 6:30 min/km pace

36 sec ~98 steps ~ 163 per min ~1000 steps/km 6 min/km pace

33 sec ~ 165 per min 5:30 min/km pace

30 sec ~83 steps ~ 167 per min ~850 steps/km 5 min/km pace

27 sec ~ 169 per min 4:30 min/km pace

24 sec ~66 steps ~ 171 per min ~650 steps/km 4 min/km pace

21 sec ~ 176 per min 3:30 min/km pace

18 sec ~56 steps ~ 180 per min ~560 steps/km 3 min/km pace

 

Using the R2R program.

 

The ideal way to use this program will vary from individual to individual however we can use three types of athletes as examples.

Athlete A: The beginner who has done little running. Stage 1 of their program might be as follows.

Monday: Accumulate 3000 to 5000 steps in daily activity. *You could set the iPod at 125 or 140 bpm if walking for extended periods

Tuesday: Aim for the daily 3000 to 5000 steps + an additional 500-1000 TechniJog steps at 156 bpm

*The aim is to gradually eliminate the walks until the session becomes ‘TechniJog 3000 steps’ *Do not increase above 3000 TechniJog steps until you can complete 6000 steps on Saturday.

Wednesday: Accumulate 3000 to 5000 steps in daily activity. *You could set the iPod at 125 or 140 bpm if walking for extended periods.

Thursday: Aim for the daily 3000 to 5000 steps + an additional 500-1000 TechniJog steps at 156 bpm

*The aim is to gradually eliminate the walks until the session becomes ‘TechniJog 3000 steps’ *Do not increase above 3000 TechniJog steps until you can complete 6000 steps on Saturday.

Friday: Accumulate 3000 to 5000 steps in daily activity. *You could set the iPod at 125 or 140 bpm if walking for extended periods

Saturday: Aim for the daily 3000 to 5000 steps + an additional 500-1000 TechniJog steps at 156 bpm *The aim is to gradually eliminate the walks until the session becomes ‘TechniJog 6000 steps’

Sunday: Accumulate 3000 to 5000 steps in daily activity. *You could set the iPod at 125 or 140 bpm if walking for extended periods.

 

Athlete B: A ‘fun runner’ wanting to move from running 3 x week to exercising 7 days per week.

Monday: TechniJog 3000 to 5000 steps in addition to daily activity. *You could set the iPod at 159 or 163 bpm.

Tuesday: Normal run workout.

Wednesday: TechniJog 3000 to 5000 steps in addition to daily activity. *You could set the iPod at 159 or 163 bpm.

Thursday: Normal run workout

Friday: TechniJog 3000 to 5000 steps in addition to daily activity. *You could set the iPod at 159 or 163 bpm.

Saturday: Normal (long) run workout. *You could set the iPod at 163 to 166 bpm.

Sunday: TechniJog 3000 to 5000 steps in addition to daily activity. *You could set the iPod at 159 or 163 bpm.

 

Athlete C: The serious runner aiming to move to day x 2 training

Monday: (am) TechniJog 3000 to 5000 steps* (pm) Normal training *You could set the iPod at 159 or 163 bpm.

Tuesday: (am) TechniJog 3000 to 5000 steps* (pm) Normal training *You could set the iPod at 159 or 163 bpm

Wednesday: (am) TechniJog 3000 to 5000 steps* (pm) Normal training *You could set the iPod at 159 or 163 bpm

Thursday: (am) TechniJog 3000 to 5000 steps* (pm) Normal training *You could set the iPod at 159 or 163 bpm

Friday: (am) TechniJog 3000 to 5000 steps* (pm) Normal training *You could set the iPod at 159 or 163 bpm.

Saturday: (am) Normal (long) run workout. (pm) TechniJog 3000 to 5000 steps* *You could set the iPod at 163 to 166 bpm

Sunday: (am) Normal long run. Set the iPod at 166 or 171 bpm

 

Reasons seek specialised advice?

1. As we have seen in Table 1 above there are subtle differences between the various running speeds. Any person who is more than 3 or 4 steps above or below the ideal cadence for a particular running pace, eg, 163 (+/- 2) steps is 6 minute/km pace, is either over or under-striding and this will mean they are not running as efficiently as they could if their technique was better.

2. Using an analogy from a trade or profession it is much safer to have your electrical work done by a qualified electrician and to have a blemish on your skin examined by a specialist!

3. Each mode of exercise has a certain rhythm.

 

Copyright 2007

This document is copyright to Run With The Best.

Author: Tony Benson


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