Cadence, cadence, cadence


Increasing my cadence. That’s what I’ve been focusing on this week. I actually purchased a Garmin Foot Pod and a Garmin Forerunner 310XT watch. I’d been looking to buy one but was not sure which one to buy, and in the light of discovering what increasing cadence really meant, I referred to a few sites and concluded that this particular model would serve the purpose very well at a modest budget. Unfortunately, I’ve got only the foot pod delivered this week, I’ll blog about it once they’re all here and I test them to measure steps per minute (SPM).

Meantime, I had to improvise a bit, nothing as fancy or accurate as the combination of a watch and a foot pod, but still kind of helps gauge where I am in terms of cadence rates. What I used is an app called Moves, which tracks a user’s walks, runs and cycles on daily basis. Not too long ago, it was bought out by Facebook in the midst of health and fitness frenzy, but still it looks like before it was bought out and works like any other tracking apps out there. I just like the simplicity of it. It’s not cluttered with features, and is very straight forward. Maybe too simple. I started using this app a while ago to monitor how many steps a day I clock in.

So, what I did is that I looked at the amount of steps of each run (because it gets separately tracked from the amount of walk steps) and divided it by the amount of minutes I run for.

Of course, although the app itself tracks steps using the censors on the phone, because it does not necessarily count to the second, it can’t be as accurate as it can be with the combination of a foot pod and a watch. Having said that, I still wanted to know my approximate cadence whenever I ran, and these are what I worked with.


I ran 5.62 miles on Wednesday, 2.66 miles on Friday and 12.39 miles today, which are converted to the amount of steps (8,287, 3,586 and 17,620 steps) and how long it took (48, 20 and 109 minutes). Once again, it isn’t as accurate as it can be, because of a variable like the censors on the phone which are not as accurate as the one in the foot pod that goes onto a shoe during the run. So, the data is only as good as the censors on a phone are.

And time wise, it is very loose data. For instance, for 48 minutes, it doesn’t show 48 minutes and how many seconds, so it can be quite deceiving if I divide 8,287 step by 48 minutes (and 2 seconds) vs. 48 minutes (and 46 seconds). So, I used this method only for purpose of knowing where I stand till the watch actually arrives so that I can measure accurate results.

Each run bears 172.65, 179.3 and 161.65 SPM in order, and there are two ways to look at this.

  • Because the first two runs are short, I was able to keep cadence at a tempo of between 170 and 180 SPM.
  • The last run clearly shows the slower cadence.

Now, I am going to throw a trick that I tried during the last run into this equation, which is metronome. According to most of references that I came across in terms of running faster, they all recommended increasing cadence in a singular voice. And one of the ways to make sure to follow this through is using a metronome. A small metronome like this can be purchased, but also, free metronome apps are also available, which is the method that I chose for the time being, and it is called MetroTimer. Downside of using such an app is that it is, after all, free, meaning an error can occur.

Increasing cadence, metronome

During today’s run, I ran pretty much way ahead of a tempo of 90 per a half minute, so I barely replied on it. However, once I hit 4 miles, I decided to run at the tempo of 90, which translates into 180 SPM. It was my aim to run at the tempo throughout, and below is the result.

Increasing cadence, long run,

When I actually compared this to my training records prior to Long Beach Marathon, it is a lot slower. For instance, the run that I had on September 6 came in at the average pace of 7:55. And it was actually 13 mile long. So, I am not sure what to make of today’s result at the moment, especially when I ran first 4 miles at a faster pace than a tempo of 180 per minute. And then I tried to keep the same tempo till the end, in spite of some minor hiccups here and there.

What I learned from using a metronome is that it keeps you at the pace pretty well. Of course, one must pay attention to the tempo at all times. And I had a good time running over 12 miles, not having short of breath or anything as I kept the tempo consistently. Once the watch arrives, I’ll get a closer and accurate look on this progress.

Did you run a marathon this weekend? How did it go? Did your training pay off?

Thanks for reading.


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About H Peter Ji Photography

I am a photographer. My photos have been sold on EyeEm, Adobe Stock and ShutterStock and also featured on ViewBug and G+ Landscape Photography Community, and via Death Valley National Park Instagram and Facebook. My work is the natural byproduct of my love for outdoors - backpacking, hiking and camping in nature.

5 responses to “Cadence, cadence, cadence”

  1. tamsynsmith says :

    It’s worth playing around with Metrotimer and varying the tempo between 90 and 96 – you might find that you’re more comfortablerunning at a slightly higher cadence. This is something that I’ve worked on with my coach quite a lot. My natural cadence is about 184spm, so there’s no point in me trying to bring it down to 180spm. Once you’re hapy with your cadence, it’s then time to work on your stride length 🙂


    • @ScorpioOnSUP says :

      Thanks for the comment! Like I noted in the comment left on your blog post, I am aiming to reach 190 SPM. I’ve got still 8 weeks left to change it, if I do it right. And also, like you pointed out, I am also working on my strides. Thanks for the input!


  2. thoran1981 says :

    I came across your blog today and I love what I’ve read so far. I had the opportunity to run Boston in 2013 and 2014, and I will be back again in 2015. Boston is a great experience and I fondly remember that great feeling of my first BQ. I’m hoping you get to experience it in early February!

    I replaced my old Garmin 210 with the 310xt earlier this year for many of the reasons you had – loads of functionality at a relatively good price point. When it arrives in the mail, definitely spend some time customizing it. All of my favourite features is that you can customize the metrics that display on each screen. I have heart rate, mile pace, total distance, and total time on my main screen – one stop shopping fir all the info I want ti see during a run. The watch is a little bigger than I would have liked, but after a few months I an totally used ti the size.

    I’m glad I found your blog and will be excited to follow your journey. Good luck in February!


    • @ScorpioOnSUP says :

      Thanks for your kinds words and encouragement, thoran1981. First, that’s really cool that you’ve run Boston twice already and are going to run again. Hopefully, I will qualify for Boston and may join you in 2016.

      I appreciate your input on the watch. It arrived last Wednesday, so I haven’t had time to play with it a lot, other than tracking my runs. I am more used to using smartphone apps, such as MapMyRun and Strava. But, of course, they’re not as accurate as the 310XT with a foot pod can be, in terms of cadence. So, I am making an transition and get used to it soon.

      Such encouragement like yours really means a lot, especially coming from someone who has actually run Boston. I hope my blog is interesting enough for you to keep tuning on and watching till I make it. Thanks for stopping by again, and whenever you see fitting, please, do not hesitate to leave comments and share your experience. Thank you!


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