Finding Your Cadence

I have signed up for my first half marathon.  This is a big stretch for me, since the longest distance I’ve ever run is a 10K (or 6.2 miles).  In approximately two months time, I have committed to run 13.1 miles, and my training has begun.

If you enjoy running, then you will appreciate the reference of finding your cadence.  If you are not a runner, then I would guess the idea of rhythm and zone apply in some other area of your life.  When starting any new challenge, the first part is the hardest.  When I began running more about a year ago, it was all I could do to complete a one mile run without walking.  It wiped me out!  Now, the first mile of my run allows me to warm up, get the aches and pains out of my knees and legs, and find my rhythm.  The first mile sets the pace and mindset for the rest of my run.  I use my smartphone with a running log app to give me updates on my time and distance.

I have found that using a self check system (with the assistance of my running app) forces me to pay close attention to  my breathing and speed.  If I’m going too fast, my body will feel it later. Too slow, and my cadence is off.  It takes getting into mile 2 and 3 before I know if I’ve found my cadence.  How do I know?  The running feels effortless.  I’m not struggling to breathe, my legs feel good, and each step is an automatic extension of my momentum.

Here’s one thing I forgot to include: I have asthma. I was diagnosed as a teenager, and had to quit the soccer team and switch to tennis because I couldn’t breathe while exercising.  I carry an inhaler with me when I run, but the best way for me to keep my breathing in check is focusing on my mind overcoming my body’s objections.  The cadence that I force myself into is a disciplined act of deep breathing, and putting one foot in front of the other.

As you define your cadence, identify a project that forces you to step up your game.  Getting started is not going to be easy, and quitting seems like the more comfortable approach.  If you utilize tools to keep you in check, and set small stretch goals, anything is possible.  Maybe even a half marathon.