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How Important is Your Cadence?

running form Sep 21, 2020

Sitting in the stands at the 1984 Olympics, now-renowned running coach Jack Daniels observed distance runners as they raced past him. But he wasn’t just some idle spectator — he was counting the runners’ steps. Daniels noted that, on average, the runners were taking 180 steps per minute.

Due to Daniels’ findings, the number 180 took on an almost mythical quality in the following years for aspiring runners who believed that running at that cadence, or steps per minute, would vault them to elite glory.

Recent research has somewhat disproved the number’s clout, but running somewhere around 180 steps per minute is still believed to be the cadence sweet spot.

So what is cadence? And is it really that important to your running?

Like the research, the answers are a bit murky.


Cadence is not one-size-fits-all

If cadence is defined as the number of steps you take per minute, and stride length is the average length of one step, you have two choices if you...

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158: The Importance of Cadence in Running

running form Sep 17, 2020


You want to run fast.  You want to run far.  You also want to look amazing as you run along the trail or down the street.  Maybe you have heard that you are born with your running form.  Maybe you have heard that running more will naturally fix your running form.  This is only somewhat true and somewhat misguided.  The truth is you can improve your form.  Running is a skill that you can train.  Today we are going to discuss the concept of cadence and how it is important, but that one size does not fit all. 


Highlights of the Episode

Running is a skill that comes naturally at first 

Living on hard surfaces and in shoes has adjusted our natural form

Just because you can run, does not mean you are maximizing your ability

The importance of cadence

The pitfalls of overstriding and shuffling

The “magic” cadence number of 180

Why it is difficult to think your way to better form

A simple method for increasing your...

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Building Strong Calf Muscles as a Runner

strength training Sep 14, 2020

As runners, we hear a lot about our hamstrings, our quads, and our glutes. But one area of our lower bodies that we may not think about enough — even though they’re probably noticeably larger than most people’s — is our calves.As runners, we hear a lot about our hamstrings, our quads, and our glutes. But one area of our lower bodies that we may not think about enough — even though they’re probably noticeably larger than most people’s — is our calves.

You may think the calves are only used in running to help propel us forward, but they’re actually involved in every motion of the run. It’s important to understand how critical our calves are to our running form because as we age, our calf function and strength tend to decline, which can affect our form and, potentially, lead to injury. In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic, calf injuries are among the most common form of injury affecting runners over age 40.

That’s why...

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157: Treating Calf Pain in Runners

strength training Sep 10, 2020


Runners tend to have strong legs muscles built from miles on the roads or trails.  We often tout the importance of maintaining strong core muscles, which is very important.  However, today we are going to focus on a pair of muscles and their neighbors, who propel every step while also cushioning every landing.  In this episode, we put the calves on center stage and discuss why this dynamic duo is so important to your running success.  

Highlights of the Episode


Running is actually a more complicated process than it first appears

The 4 phases of running gait and muscle action during each 

How running form maximizes the efficiency of using our forces

The running body is a passive spring (the importance of our tendons)

The running body is an active engine (the importance of our muscles)

The running body is beautifully intertwined - how the active machine and passive spring work together

When the body changes, problems can occur

How we can...

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How Gratitude Can Help Us With Running Struggles

mindset Sep 07, 2020

In the summer of 2010, LeBron James made a major announcement: He was leaving his hometown NBA team the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat. In an ESPN interview announcing the decision, he said, “One thing I didn’t want to do was make an emotional decision. I wanted to do what’s best for LeBron James and to do what makes LeBron James happy.” 


Psychologists have since pointed to James’ language choices — switching from the first person to the third person — as a deliberate strategy he used to manage his emotions. Maybe he knew it would have been easier and more comfortable to stay in Cleveland. Maybe he thought he might actually be happier if he stayed in Cleveland. But maybe he also knew his career would only grow if he took the leap and went to a bigger-market team.


A study published by the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Personality and Social Psychology backs up the evidence supporting this...

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156: Be Thankful for the Challenges

mindset Sep 03, 2020


Gratitude is usually seen as a very positive thing, but a gratitude practice or an “attitude of gratitude” is both more simple and more complex than it first seems. Beginning the day or ending the day with a journal practice of gratitude for one or three items has become very popular in the personal development world. This is great, but might not be the whole picture. While there is a clear benefit to focusing on the positive aspects of your day rather than the negative, when you can detach your judgment and be grateful for your difficulties, stumbles, and misses during the day, gratitude is world changing.


Highlights of the Episode

How people usually practice gratitude 

Gratitude for the struggles 

The ease of being grateful for the positives

How gratitude for the positives can actually be a negative thing

How to reframe your life and your running through gratitude

What to do if you’re having a hard time shifting to gratitude



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Run Slow to Run Fast

Running slower to become a better runner may seem counterintuitive, but it’s a scientifically backed method to run faster and farther. Maybe you’ve heard of it but have dismissed it because logically, it doesn’t make sense.  How can running slowly make you faster?  


It will.  Today, we want to introduce you to this concept that we guarantee will give you results, whether your goal is a new time or distance PR or running without pain. In fact, running slower to run faster can help you achieve all these goals simultaneously. We’ll explain.


How did you get into running?


Think about how you first entered into running.  Depending on your background, you probably have an association with running that’s deeply ingrained in you, and you may not even realize it. 


Did you get into it because you liked racing?  Some of Kevin’s earliest memories of running were racing neighborhood kids down the street....

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155: The Key To Running Faster and Avoiding Injury

effort levels Aug 27, 2020

You want to run faster, so you practice running faster. 

You want to run faster, so you push every run just that little bit extra. 

You want to run faster, so you live by the motto “no pain, no gain.” 

You want to run faster, but now you are exhausted, sick, burnt out, or injured. 

When you are ready to start back up and bring more joy to your running, consider that most improvement coming during the easy days.  If you do not have easy days, when do you plan on improving? 


Highlights of the Episode

Background to running - where did you start?  

What experiences have shaped your beliefs about what running should be? 

Coming from other sports

Pushing harder is always better

Coming to lose weight

The trap of the comparison mindset

Why do you keep running?  What do you want to get out of it?

Most runners we know are looking to be able to run longer or faster regardless of why

Conveniently, the answer to both...

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154: How to Handle Changes to the Plan

plans and goals Aug 20, 2020

It’s August, and that means back to school for us, as well as any of the teachers and parents we have listening.  In previous years, this would mean printing out the supply list and heading to the store to track down folders and pencil cases.  It would mean a return to early mornings and greater structure and routine to the day.  This year, it means less control and greater uncertainty.  While the kids will be learning reading, writing, and arithmetic, we are all discovering more about ourselves during this time of change.

In running, it means that races suddenly disappear from the calendar.  What do we do and how do we stay motivated and focused when things are constantly changing and up in the air?

Highlights of the Episode

All plans are fluid and subject to change

The only thing to be certain of is that any plan will need adjustment

Do not be so rigid in your training, or any aspect of your life, that you overly neglect the others

Plans and goals...

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153: Get Rid of Running Pain for Good

running injuries Aug 13, 2020

Runners like to run and when they cannot run the way they want, they are not their best.  Injuries can often stand in the way of a runner reaching his potential.  Unfortunately, many runners deal with injuries by pretending they don’t exist or treating symptoms.  We take a break from running, but when we ramp back in mileage or speed, the pain comes back.  How can we get better without consistency?  What do we do when the only consistency in our running is the injury that keeps flaring up?


Highlights of the Episode


Kevin’s injury story - Overtraining and under recovering

Angie’s savior story - Lucky for Kevin, Angie was getting her doctorate in physical therapy and helped him fix his problem for real

What was the magic that took a limited runner from knee pain to healthy running

Don’t just treat the injury - EAT the injury

Evaluate, Assess, and Treat

The magic in the diagnosis came from questions and knowledgeable...

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