I'm Not Running To Avril Lavigne

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Yesterday I did a speed workout after an Insanity routine. Just as the dawn was coming onto the meadow, I ran uphill with as fast a tempo as I could. My meadow isn’t that steep, but I still could not sprint all the way up without bending over double and gasping. We’ll call that a “baseline.” The worse I do first time around, the more dramatic the improvement will seem.

And, boy, do I need improvement. My turnover is terrible.

In the last post I mentioned that the ideal running pace is 180 beats per minute. According to running guru Ed Eyestone of Runner’s World, all the cool kids got that 180-bpm rhythm. Eyestone timed the turnover of racers in his video library and clocked “an NCAA steeplechase champion, two NCAA cross-country champions, two Olympic marathoners, and a world record 10,000-meter runner” doing 178 to 184 bpm. Eyestone himself did 182 at the 1992 Olympic Marathon trials.

Trail runners will claim even faster turnover on steep hills. One guy told me he does 220 bpm on mountains. My feet don’t do 220 anywhere. I’d be happy for 180.

I mentioned this to Lee, the Time Barrier researcher, who emailed me about an iPhone app called Cadence. It lets you find tunes in your own playlist that match the bpm you want to run. I bought it, figuring I should do my speed work to music. I don’t like running with headphones. There’s enough entertainment  in my head without my having to download it. But I’m on a mission, so…

Out of more than 2,000 songs, the closest the Cadence app found was “Phones Don’t Feud” by Holiday Shores (179 bpm). I must have downloaded that song for free somewhere. The song begins, “Island heart you’ve left, you’ll haunt me too.” Super running lyrics. The only quicker track on my iPhone is Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.” Okay, this is embarrassing.

I Googled 180 bpm songs and found this page. Country isn’t one of my favorite genres, but I ended up downloading Clint Black’s “Good Run of Bad Luck” in iTunes. The song has “Run” in the title at least. And the beat is metronymic. I skipped Kanye West’s “Jesus Walks,” because that’s all kinds of wrong for speed work. Also passed on Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated,” because it’s a whole different kind of wrong. Another song I skipped: “Passin’ Me By” by The Pharcyde.

Whoa, who knew that Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ La Vida Loca” was a running song? Or the Beatle’s “Oh Darling”? And the most surprising of all? “If I Had a Million Dollars” by Barenaked Ladies. Wait, I have that one.

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None of this really sounded like excellent running music, so I downloaded an album called “Half Marathon Workout Music” by a “fitness DJ” named Deekron. Deekron sounds more like a corporate consultant than a DJ. But then, he used to be a corporate consultant. His music is—well, the beat is easy to follow, and there's something subliminal in it that makes me want to trade stocks.

Music: done. Earbuds: done. I have the kind that loops around the ears. But I just sprung for an armband to hold my iPhone.

Now. Amp me up, DJ Deekron.