One of my favorite things to do while I run is to plug in my headphones and blast my music to tune the world out. It’s a great way to kickstart my morning, and also an amazing stress releaser after a long day. Recently, a coworker of mine introduced me to Spotify Running (as well as a few other tricks), and it’s changed the way I run.
This previously premium feature of Spotify is now available to all users under the “Browse” tab in the Spotify app and offers a special playlist for running.
Once you click into the running section, it recommends a ton of pre-set Spotify playlists, or my personal favorite — a Recommended For You playlist based on your Spotify account activity. Spotify also offers their original content farther down the page categorized by mood. A lot of these are lyric-less, background type music that act as a movie-like soundtracks to your run.
The intended purpose, it seems, for the Spotify Running feature is to “smart-match” the music you listen to to your cadence so that it makes your runs more enjoyable. When you click into any of the playlists, the app will tell you to start running with your phone so that it can detect your cadence and match your steps per minute to a list of songs with a similar beat.
However, we recommend overriding this by hitting the “Skip” button on tempo detection and go right into setting your own beats per minute by hitting the arrow keys to your cadence goal. With 180 steps per minute as your ultimate goal, you can use this feature to slowly begin to increase your cadence by 5-10% per run to help you improve, both from a performance perspective as well as an injury prevention perspective. Learn more here.
Running to songs that have similar beats to your cadence goal will help make achieving your goal easier and feel more natural.
For those of you who don’t like to run with music (I know you’re out there), we suggest trying an app like Run Tempo to help you meet your cadence goals. It’s a tried and tested method of cadence training and is basically a metronome that will help you match your steps to the frequency of beeps. Our bodies and minds are naturally inclined to try to match surrounding repetitive sounds, so having a steady beat will naturally push you towards your cadence goal, especially if your goal is within a couple of steps.
There are lots of different versions out there in the App store, so look around to find one that you like. Some of them have customizable beeps and more granular metronome settings.
This one is for those who prefer to run without a phone at all, but is absolutely effective and is practiced by many runners already. The goal here is to visualize an image or scenario that is going to help you take smaller, quicker steps to meet your cadence goals. A tip that we use a lot here at Lumo is: “Imagine you’re running through a puddle and you’re trying to make as little splash as possible”.
Visualizing this during your run will help you quicken your steps and help reduce overstriding tendencies. The ultimate goal with these visualization tricks, or any cadence increasing trick, is to teach your body to land directly under your pelvis to lessen your braking forces and loading of your knee. By aiming for a higher cadence, you reduce the likelihood of stepping out way in front and falling victim to the dangers of overstriding.
Of course, when manipulating your form, it’s crucial to make only small, gradual changes and to not overdo it. Suddenly increasing your cadence from 150 to 180 will put tremendous stress on your body, running the risk of injury.
At Lumo, we’ve taken this philosophy and applied it to our most recent product Lumo Run to provide smart coaching through the sensor and app for cadence, as well as other running form metrics such as bounce, braking, pelvic rotation and drop. It takes a 5% coaching model to gradually coach you on improving these aspects of running form, while providing in-run audio coaching for those who run with their phones, and full post-run summaries with recommended exercises, drills and stretches to strengthen your target muscles to help you improve.
Better Form, Better Results™ with Lumo Run
Lumo Run is a wearable sensor that clips onto the back of your shorts that measures, analyzes and coaches you on your running form. The Lumo Run app provides insights into your running form during and after each run, coaching you to become a better, more efficient runner to improve performance and reduce the risk of injury. **Shipping soon!**
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