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Step to a new rhythm

Have you been running through the pandemic?

When exercise was the only way out of the house, many people took to pounding the roads and trails, keeping at bay those lockdown kilos.

My big change was running to music, thanks to Apple Airpods. To protect my joints, I was advised to have a shorter stride but do around 3 per second (called a "cadence"), about 160 -180 beats per minute to maintain a reasonable pace. It takes a bit of getting used to but it certainly helped me to keep my longer distances going with much less impact and injury. Research on the "180 strides per minute" is mixed - successful runners have a huge range in cadences and often change this with pace. For me, I tend to stick to a consistent cadence, however, especially during a rousing chorus or key change, I slightly increase my stride length and my speed per kilometre goes up. However there is certainly a beneficial trick to the rule of three.

So for anyone who wants to try, here is the playlist I have been refining all summer - there's a few hours of music so you can delete tracks that don't work for you. The thing all the songs have in common is that none are 2 or 4 beats per bar as most pop and rock is. Instead, the majority are 6:8 (think one-and-a, two-and-a). The genius about this is that you change what your lead foot is alternately rather than always pulling off from your left or right. Waltz (3:4) and 12:4, 5:4 and 7:4 time signatures also crop up. There are even a couple who mix time signatures within the song - listen and sense when they happen.

There are warm-up and cool down tracks, fast pace (over 200 steps per minute, great for managing your knees with little steps going up and down hills) and gentle jogs (around 150 steps per minute). If you use mostly the mid tempo and are approx 1m stride length, you'll do a 10km run in under an hour. I've tried to create a journey through life, love and loss. What really struck me was how many songs acquired new meaning through the lens of the pandemic.

I'll be releasing segments every day throughout October on my twitter feed (@_aroundcorners) - looking forward to the comments. For those eager to get out there, here's the Apple Music playlist in full.


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