Couch to 5K
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Beat counting

Just tried stepping stone...the music is what I expected. What I didn't expect is how hard it is to keep track of the beat. Not as in keeping up, just keeping the right pace. I really struggled when running to keep track, but when Laura started counting again I was on pace.

I have my Grade 8 music, my family are very theatrical and I used to be a radio producer (making idents and adverts and stuff like that). I can count music, no problem. But counting while running? No chance. The only thing I can think is that it is automatic to me and I'm over-thinking it. But it was odd, like suddenly realising you can't read.

10 Replies

I also have grade 8 and have played in an (amateur) orchestra, but have found myself hopelessly bad at running with the beat. A short while back some people commented that they thought Laura was not actually on the beat - but for me I think that I'm just so uncoordinated I can't make my legs move at the right speed. On the "speed" podcast I run faster in the fast bits (obviously not necessarily on the beat), but actually I think my natural pace is just a bit too fast for the slow bits of the other podcasts.

When I try to fit in with the beat, I'm kind of lost as to what I'm meant to do - pause mid-stride almost like slow-mo / take longer strides / aim for higher?? Honestly I end up in such a muddle and have hardly ever managed to run with the beat for more than about 30 seconds. And then by the time the beat increases in speed to nearer my natural beat I've lost any confidence in my ability to do it at all. I'm thinking I might be better off with using lampposts as markers for interval training. Probably a good thing I never had any ambitions to be in a marching band! (I'm the one who always goes the other way to everyone else in an aerobics class...)

Not saying you're uncoordinated :) Just thought you might like to know you're not alone ... and perhaps the beat doesn't quite fit in with your natural running pace?


Hi Kimmiijay, I echo all runningnearbeirut says - I wonder if this is more about physical control over one's body (which in my case, being at the beginning of my running adventures, is a bit hit and miss) rather than musicality (I work in music too). I was thinking this yesterday when I did the Stamina podcast - I found my legs didn't want to lock onto the beat for the first five minutes or so and were flopping about all over the place until I was properly warmed up and in the zone. Generally I don't like running to a fixed beat that much because I want to alter my stride when going up and down hills, etc. And Laura's counting is definitely a bit off on the Stamina pod - like the voice and music tracks haven't been synched properly.

It is a lot to do with one's natural cadence - mine is around 160bpm (I'm not fast - I just take small steps) so I really struggled with the 150 and 155bpm sections of the Stepping Stone podcast when I tried it. I actually hurt myself trying to lengthen my stride/stay in the air longer, so I've given up on that one.

A few days ago I did the C25K Week 1 podcast as an interval session, alternating running easy and running hard (but not to the beat) and it worked really well - thought I was shattered at the end!

By the way, there's one track on Stamina that is such a blatant rip off of "Mas que nada" I actually laughed out loud...


What's your job, just out of interest?

Nice to see so many musical runners on here! :-)


Just seen this - I work for a record company (classical) these days but did singing at college - opera, etc! How about you?


I am wondering if it is partly natural rhythm, I found the 160 sections easier than the 150 bit, also I am really uncoordinated. I get what they are trying to do - basically force you to keep a speed up, but I am wondering if I might be better just going back to my own music because tbh most of the time I was doing my own pace anyways. Meh, try again tomorrow. I wonder if running to a metronome with just it's uncomplicated click would help - or if it would be like Chinese water torture.


> I am wondering if it is partly natural rhythm,

Yes, it is because stride patterns are hardwired into your natural biomechanics. But with the right training, you can develop a faster stride rate, which leads to faster times.

>I wonder if running to a metronome with just it's uncomplicated

> click would help - or if it would be like Chinese water torture.

Training with a metronome is recommended by Danny Dreyer in his book Chi Running. See:


I think it's a combination of things. - Laura's counting isn't quite on the beat in parts, but also if your cadence is different by nature, it's harder to keep it matching over a period of time. My husband finds running too slowly incredibly hard, so breaks away from me on runs because of his longer/faster stride.


One tip I read was to focus on your arms and not your legs. Pump your arms to the beat and your legs will follow!


I gave up on these. I'm not very coordinated nor musical and just couldn't work my legs in time to the beat at all. I even struggled to work out if I was meant to be counting alternate feet or the same foot.


Hey Kimmiijay. I find the secret is to run at my own pace for the duration and not worry too much about matching Laura's counting unless I need to speed up.

I can't run slowly enough to match the slower pace anyway so try not to think about it.


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