Hand me my metronome, please.

I walked in to today’s physical therapy appointment discouraged. After six weeks of treatment and virtually no running, my foot still hurts.

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I walked out of today’s physical therapy appointment encouraged. We may have identified the cause of my injury, and the treatment is easy–take shorter strides.

I’ve read a lot about how shorter strides are better in distance running, how it’s bad to land on the heel, and how the ideal cadence is about 180 strides per minute. That’s all great information to have in the back of your head, but what good does it do if you don’t know how that information applies to YOU?

Today I found out.

After a lengthy session of being filmed and timed on the treadmill while running barefoot and with shoes, I learned that my cadence is WAY OFF–148 strides per minute. And, I land forcefully on my heels with every stride. It was painfully clear, as I watched the videos, how wrong I’ve been running all this time. My poor foot simply couldn’t take it any more.

According to my PT, an increase in stride rate of just 10% has been proven to help virtually every running injury known–whether it involves knees, hips, or feet. She set a metronome to 163 BPM and showed me how running with shorter, quicker strides, naturally caused me to land much further forward on my foot.

You know, that’s the claim of all the new minimalist shoes out there–they mimic barefoot running and that forces runners to land more forward on their feet.

My assignment? Visit the podrunner.com website and download 163 BPM mixes so I can listen to my own personal metronome while running. And, I’m relegated to the treadmill for the next few runs while I learn what that length and speed of stride feels like.

I have to completely re-learn how to run.

If it solves my foot problem–I’m more than happy to oblige! Wish me luck.

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