You might want to gradually increase the tempo of your running towards three steps per second, or towards your personal optimum, over time. This post should help you in a couple of ways.
Firstly, do you want to check the pace of your music and decide which songs to load to your iPod/MP3 player? Here is a much easier way than using a metronome!
The MixMeister BPM analyser is available from http://www.mixmeister.com/, and it’s free to download, doesn’t take long either. It analyses songs and tells you how many BPM each song is.
In this example, Snow Patrol’s “Final Straw” album, the track “How To Be Dead” (actually track 1), at two steps per beat, is almost exactly pace I recommended here! And the guitar plays at double time anyway, 182. “How To Be Dead” is actually track 1. (The order above is different because I rename the tracks to play them in my preferred order). I am out of breath just listening to it!
If your current rate is somewhat less, say 140, you might want to start off by choosing songs only a little faster, say 150 or so.
Jeff Galloway on Stride Length
Secondly, thanks to Cool Runner "2feetoffground", in this thread, I have read an article by Jeff Galloway on Stride Length which may be of interest. He says as you get tired, you tend to lengthen your stride in order to not slow down. He says this tendency should be resisted.
"Shorten your stride
"When you feel tension in muscles that are at their limits - especially the calf and hamstring groups - you need to shorten the stride a bit to relax them. Keep on shortening your stride until the leg muscles do relax. This may allow you to pick up the turnover of the feet and legs. But even if this increase doesn't happen, you'll reduce the chance of injury caused by the increased fatigue of over-striding and speed up recovery. Often, the only adjustment needed is a shortening of an inch or two, but the relaxation it provides will allow the legs to go at a faster rhythm. Some runners can actually speed up at the end of the race.
"As you pick up the turnover on form accelerations, be sure to keep the stride short enough so the leg muscles are relaxed and maintain a quick rhythm. When in doubt, keep the stride short so you can maintain a light, quick step on each of these pick-ups."
Galloway proposes a drill to enable you to increase cadence:
"As runners become faster, their stride length decreases. Therefore, the way to get faster is to increase the turnover of feet and legs. Even those who lack a fast bone in their bodies will benefit from turnover drills because they teach the body to find a more efficient motion.
"After a slow 1-mile warm-up, select a level and traffic-free stretch of road, trail or track. Without picking up your speed, count the number of times either your left foot or your right comes down in 30 seconds. Jog or walk for a minute or so and then run back, counting again for 30 seconds, with the goal of increasing the count by one or two. Repeat this four to six times, with the same projected increase each time but without a significant increase in effort.
"If you do this drill once a week, you'll intuitively learn to stay low to the ground with an increasingly lighter touch of the foot. If you do this drill at least once a week, a year from now you'll be running faster and with no increase in effort. The increased turnover and improved efficiency also makes running feel easier. You'll see more progress if you do it twice a week. But you'll lose two weeks of progress if you miss a week."
Glorious taper and rain
1 hour ago