Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Light Up That Sky

About As Helpful As You Can Be Without Being Any Help At All is the first tack on Dan Mangan's newish album Oh Forture. Dan Mangan is a singer-songwriter from Canada. His tunes are melodic and bitter sweet, with smart poetic lyrics. I listened to his album Nice, Nice, Very Nice on repeat all last summer. Oh Fortune took me longer to like, but it is really an amazing album.

This song is quite interesting as a running cadence song. It's a waltz! So has a 3 beat timing. Why this might work for you?  Stick with me I'll get to the point.  According to Danny Dreyer of Chi Running fame you should be running at cadence of at least 85 steps per minute per foot, and not more than 90 unless you're a sprinter or elite runner - that's 170-180 for people who count both feet. So far I mostly agree with him, although I like running at 180-185 and I am no elite runner! He also uses SPM for steps per minute like my strides per minute. I thought I invented that, but I guess my subconscious just remembered it from his book.  He suggests using a metronome, in fact he says
I would have to say that I have learned more from running with a metronome than I have from any other device, book, or coach. (Chi Running pg 112)
Well I had to try it then.  So I downloaded a metronome app on my phone and went out for a run, but I didn't get past about 30 seconds before ripping out my headphones.  It was so awful, maybe I had the volume up too loud, or maybe I just find music at the right BPM much more motivating and pleasurable while being equally effective!  Think about that for a minute, as far as Chi Running advice goes, getting the cadence right is the most important aspect of injury free running.

But one other thing he says is that you should try to set the metronome to beep every third step, so for 180 SPM that would be 60 BPM.  The reason is that the leading foot switches from left to right and you don't end up having a stronger side.  I tried to do this with songs at 60 BPM and that didn't work.  But this 92BPM song by Dan Mangan is actually a waltz, and even though I stumble a bit the first few seconds (the long intro doesn't help), I find I can run to this.  I hope this works for you and I hope that you are convinced enough to go listen to more Dan Mangan.

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