I have been inspired by a friend to write about Running Essentials for Beginners…only because over time I have acquired some information that I really could have used from the start of my relationship with running. Now don’t get me wrong, I am surrounded with friends and acquaintances that are much better distance runners than I am, and certainly I’m not claiming to be an expert by any stretch of the imagination.  Just trust me when I say that it could have been much easier than it was to start a program and build my base!

Its difficult to choose which to write about next, cadence or interval base building…but since you need a cadence to build your base, I guess it makes sense to start there.  I was struggling with an invisible wall of endurance and speed last year and went to our local running store (Gearhead Outfitters) looking for advice…fitness guru and insano athlete Ted Herget gave me the simplest game changing answers to my running woes.  After applying his advice, I went from running broken single miles to hitting the 4 mile mark with essentially no breaks and relative ease…this happened overnight.  For a skeptic like myself, had I not experienced it, I would not believe any advice in the world could impact my distance and efficiency that much…but it did…

Its an unbelievably simple concept and it hinges on one number, 90BPM (Beats Per Minute)…as beginners we often over extend our stride and turnover trying to be ‘real runners’, in the process we run harder than our newly improving cardiovascular output can support and we burn out quickly, a flash in the pan. Building a base like this is frustrating and tiresome, you are out of breath, hurting and probably grasping your rib cage from side stitches (oh, the memories), but it doesn’t have to be this way!  By setting a realistic expectation for speed and altering your cadence you can enhance your distance and comfort significantly.

How do you do it? Well first you have to let go of all the ideas built up in your mind about how sexy and cool you look while running…I know, I know…we all think we look like this…

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But that’s not realistic, and I promise you…this super model didn’t run very far! After you reset you mind about your running sex appeal…begin to shorten your stride to hit 90BPM, regardless of how fast or slow you are going. Why is this important?  At this cadence your are forced to strike the ground with your MID-FOOT, not your heels from over extension and not your toes from under extension. At first this pace might look more like a granny shuffle, a waggle, a swagger or a waddle..or maybe even…

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But fear not, you will improve…set your vanity aside and go the distance! There are two important smart phone apps that will help you establish this concept in your mind. 1. Go Barefoot by Merrell, this app will take you through a series of steps to show you proper form and cadence turnover as a beginner and will also give you a metronome of 90BPM to help you align your steps to be beat.  2. Cadence FM, this one is less informative but useful once you have been through the steps in the Merrell app…Cadence FM allows you to set your BPM range for a run and it will automatically play music within that range.  Rest assured that once you hear the proper cadence and run with a few times it will be concreted in your mind and you will be able to keep it with any music.

Its all about finding your zone, a place you can keep pace at a conversational speed (still able to speak) and grow your cardiovascular capacity…as your heart expands you will be able to move faster within the same 90BPM cadence. Work a find a middle ground that is comfortable for you, its about finishing the race, being healthy and changing your life…not about burning out right out of the gate or being miserable while you build your base.

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Properly fitting shoes and cadence can and will change your new running program more than any other alterations you can make…add that to a little commitment and you are already on the path to loving yourself and your new hobby…have questions about cadence? Ask away, until you put your feet to pavement and try what I am saying this whole concept might seem a little mysterious and over simplified…but I promise…it works…

What obstacles are you trying to overcome with your new program???  I seem to overcome a new one everyday…

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