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Thank you Barbara for sharing your experience! While you were low tech, it worked! Why? Because, like anything you want to change, it must be a conscious process. You must engage the neuromuscular system (brain to nerves to muscles) to make change. Most athletes breeze through form drills and wonder why they can never change form (running, swimming, cycling, strengthening, etc). You must slow down and engage the neuromuscular system (not just the muscular system). You can have strong glut muscles but that doesn’t mean they will engage when you need them to!
Barbara’s low tech version worked because she did it in a slow, conscious manner. Another slightly more ‘high-tech’ version is to use a metronome. Most newer Garmin watches have a built in metronome. You can also download a free app on your smartphone. Set it to 85 (one foot) or 170 (two feet) and build to 90/180 as you are able. However remember to do is in a slow, conscious manner and stretch your calf muscles afterwards because a shorter stride does ask more of your calf muscles.
Some recent research suggests that you should just run at whatever cadence and form that you have. However, often these studies do not take into account that your heal is not meant for striking. So if you do overstride, you greatly increase your risk for heel striking and therefore your risk for injury. A perfect cadence of 90 might not be absolutely necessary but not heel striking is! Let’s keep you healthy for your season ahead!
Great work Barbara! Thank you for sharing your experience and feedback!