Stepping stones - kept to the beat but pace sloooow! Some advice please?

Stepping stones - kept to the beat but pace sloooow! Some advice please?

So I had a go with the C25K+ podcasts, starting with Stepping Stones. Prior to the run I had absolutely no idea what my natural cadence rate was, and was thinking that cranking up from 150bpm to 160bpm might be too much for me.

But when I did the run, I found that, at my normal running style, the 150 bpm was MUCH slower than my natural pace. Most of my previous runs have come out at around 7:20 to 7:30 per km, but at 150 bpm it was more like 8:45. Even in the final 5 minute "blast" at 160 bpm, the pace was barely above 8:00 per km.

At the end of the run I found I really wasn't out of breath at all, and the distance covered was disappointing compared to previous runs ( At same location last week I did a full 5k in just over 36 minutes).

I can only assume that my "natural" cadence is considerably faster than 160 strides per minute, and that maybe I should try to take longer strides, or put more effort into each stride.

I am pretty certain I kept religiously to the beat of the music, especially in the final 160 beats per minute. I also didn't find there was much perceptible difference in effort between 150, 155 and 160. Also I didn't seem to work up a decent sweat either!

Can any expert runners here advise me? Maybe I'm taking baby steps and I need to lengthen it a bit - or is it natural to me to run at a higher cadence than 160 per minute, and the podcast is just a bit slow.


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41 Replies

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  • Don't lengthen your stride. That way injury lies. No advice re the stepping stones: I found they did not work for me at all so did not follow them. I built speed the old fashioned way with intervals and hill sprints.

    But don't lengthen stride.

  • Thanks for your advice! I've now seen other posts where people have complained about Stepping Stones being too slow, but in this case it was a person who said they had short legs. At 6ft, I can't say I have short legs, however.

    Last week I did two practice 5k runs and a parkrun - at 38, 36, and 37.5 minutes. But the pace today would have made the 5k in well over 40 minutes.

    I had a listen to the "speed" podcast, but I think that one only goes up to 165 bpm for 1 minute bursts interspersed with recovery periods of 150 bpm. I'm thinking I wouldn't need a recovery period after 1 minute at 165, given 160 seemed quite relaxed.

    This week on a treadmill, I wound up the speed to just under 6 minutes/km pace and kept it going for 2 minutes. No idea what the cadence rate was, but it had to be a lot quicker than today!

  • I don't stick to the beat on Speed, but run as fast as I can in the running intervals, regardless of cadence. I didn't enjoy stepping stones much either. Maybe I need to look at it again.

  • I had the idea that you could adopt the Week 1 couch to 5k runs for interval training, where you jog for the "recovery" walking periods, and sprint during the 1 minute running sections. That way you don't have to go at a designated cadence, but the one that feels natural to you.

  • I like that idea. I could use the Simple C25K app that just has chimes to change pace.

  • The different runs are all about different disciplines within our running and are useful as they stand... as misswobble says, so rightly, all about building up...:)

  • I still use wk 1 or 2 in this way

  • I do that regularly aswell. It's surprisingly tough - only 8 minutes of fast running. But very exhilarating! Highly recommended!

  • I'm planning to do the same thing! Either sprint to add incline in the one minute intervals.

  • Try Speed and then see... I use it in other runs, for a quick blast mid way! A bit like JaySeeSkinny , I just run as fast as I can now...I once managed 3K in 18 mins.. downhill-ish and with a tailwind :)

  • Dont worry about it Iain...for me Stepping stones is just about right and the last five has me running freely...

    For you this is too slow is all...don't change a thing.go you😊😊😊x

  • It's slow running to build your legs! It's not all slow on the plus podcasts. It will kick your ass,don't worry

    You have to run slow before you can run fast. These are excellent podcasts Stamina has a five minute fast bit at the end. πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯

  • I'll give the others a go.

  • I love em! I run them a lot as they are food practice

    I run them randomly as they crop up

  • Welcome to Stepping Stones... check out some previous post... they are weird... I ended up doing a weird dance to it... entertaining for the masses no doubt!

    As Rig says, don't lengthen your stride...I did SS three times, just to make sure.. and then moved onto Speed ( which I love and Stamina after that..( all time fave for using within other runs...:)

    Have fun!

    Great pikkie by the way!

  • Wait, wait, wait! Our Queen of Slow and Steady, using the Speed podcasts???

    That's too much for me to process, I need a lie down.

    Seriously though, now I've graduated and run my first race, I suddenly lack focus. Not sure if I want to further, faster, better on hills or what so I'm going to explore these podcasts

  • Only after doing it all slow and steady, and moving on after Graduation... the podcasts when you are ready, do exactly what is intended.. and you do get speedier and your stamina builds for distance :) x

  • Sorry no idea on your post but love the pic. Where is it? Do people swim there?

  • It's at Farmoor Reservoir near Cumnor in Oxfordshire. Never seen any swimmers but a sailing club uses it and there are plenty of anglers. Also many birds, ducks and geese.

  • ty

  • Listed on wild swim site but not open water swim sites so no boat support, would need a buddy:)

  • Tried Stepping Stones and hated it, too slow! Stamina and Speed however are worth trying.

  • I found Stepping Stones difficult in that my feet did not want to stick to the beat. I'm done with it and am moving on to the other two in that set. Love the pic! Nice to see!

  • Thanks, everyone for all the discussion and comments. It seems I'm not alone in finding Stepping Stones too slow, though for some people it seems just right. What I take away from this is that everyone has their own natural cadence rate, at which they can sustain running for a long period of time, and that this varies from person to person, just like resting heart rate does, or respiration rate, or blood pressure, or whatever, and so a podcast with music at predetermined beat rates is likely to work for some people and not for others.

    Perhaps the way to go is to visit and select songs with a variety of bpm rates, and experiment to find your own natural rates, and then construct a playlist around that.

    Or for purists, I would imagine there are metronome apps available that allow you to run just to the beat of a metronome. Of course with neither of these approaches do you get Laura ...

  • Here's an intersting article that one of my running friends on Facebook posted, that puts a different perspective on it:

    The gist of it is that running well below your normal effort is a good way of developing the capabilities of your muscles as aerobic engines.

    Maybe that's the point of Stepping Stones?

  • God, you guys are super fit. I did the stepping stones and found them pretty much just right. I did notice myself striding a bit as I was running, which I suspect isn't quite correct. Works for me anyhow.

  • I think it would be flattering to describe me as "super fit"! Given I'm about 1.5 stone overweight.

    It is possible the reason for my slow pace is that I've had a bit of a stiff back the last couple of weeks - possibly because I did a first time yoga class the day before Parkrun and may have stretched something I wasn't used to. After Parkrun back was very stiff. But the time of Stepping Stones I thought it was better, but I think maybe I was naturally not pushing off so hard on each stride, and came out slower.

    But thanks for the compliment :-) I don't think anyone has said I'm "super fit" before!

  • 1.5 stone overweight is actually not that bad. Saying that the stepping stones is too slow is amazing to me as considering that we are all new runners, I'd have assumed it would have been a nice stretch after completing the programme.

  • It's just that in the week after graduation, I did a 5k in just over 36 minutes without a podcast, but when I did Stepping Stones, the 5k time would have been about 43 minutes! But as I say it could have been because with my stiff back I wasn't pushing off so hard on each stride as I had been before. I shall definitely try it again once I've got my back in shape again!

  • My cadence is around 180-185 per minute, and that doesn't change whether I'm running fast or slow. If I tried to run at 160 I'd feel like my feet were getting in a tangle! I've stopped running to music as it seems to confuse my legs. I think it's not so much that it's too slow, it's more that the rhythm doesn't match, so it makes for an uncomfortable run - for me, at any rate!

  • I found myself getting in a tangle (presumably ahead of the beat) at 150, but less so at 160. I guess everyone's different.

  • Yes I think we are! I quite like the podrunner podcasts as they have such a wide range of tempos, there must be one to suit everyone!

  • Thank you for that Maci, I'd forgotten all about Podrunner!

  • Thanks for this, Maci. Didn't know these existed!

  • You're welcome! 😊

  • Those podcasts don't work for everybody, I find them a stretch as my natural cadence is about 155, but if they don't work for you don't use them....if you don't mind paying, and you like the um eclectic music of C25K and the + podcasts, hop over to Audiofuel and get some of their other running music.

  • TBH I wasn't that smitten with the um electric music on the Stepping Stones podcast! ;-) Seemed a bit tuneless and soul-less to me. Maybe one can get a metronome app. Alternatively compile a playlist from somewhere like where you can search for songs on beats per minute.

  • I'm not too keen on Stepping Stones, but I love the tranciness of Stamina, I did it again yesterday. It just carries me along, but it's not to everyones taste!

  • I'll give it a try. Also - as I'm a computer science geek, I know there are techniques where you can alter the tempo of a piece of music without changing the pitch. So you could have like your favourite song, which might be at 160bpm and too fast for you, so you could change it to play at 155bpm. Sounds like an idea for an app if someone hasn't already done it!

  • Damn! It's already been done. There goes my plan to make a fortune!

    Unsure of whether this app is available for Android.

  • Yes, I think apps like RockMyRun do this - when I can afford a proper phone I'm going to get it...

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