June 18th 2019

Today one of the guys from the running club at work held a bootcamp/coaching session all about cadence and breathing. I’m sure, by the fact that if you’re reading this then you are (probably) a living human being, I don’t need to explain what breathing is, but I will explain cadence.

Cadence, in running terminology at least, is how many steps you take per minute. I think I’m right in saying that cadence is also a word used in musical composition for… well, for something. And words can also have cadence. The rhythm of the words I’m writing can have cadence. Short cadence. For effect. Or longer cadence to mix up rhythm and give the sentences you’re reading a fresh feel.

Or something like that.

Anyway. In running cadence is steps per minute, and optimal cadence is 180 steps per minute. So three a second. It’s actually harder than it sounds to count to three (steps) and count to one (second) at the same time. Especially when you add breathing into the mix because then you have to count to three (left leg steps breathe in) and then four (right leg steps breathe out) at the same time as counting three steps per one second.

That’s a lot of numbers. And a lot of counting. I literally have a maths degree and that’s still too many numbers for me to deal with at once.

So the session helped me improve my breathing, but it did not help me improve my cadence. And you might think that as a human person who has survived for 25 years on this planet that I would’ve figured out how to breathe properly by now, but I was astounded when the coach said “you actually breathe from two places: your chest, and your stomach”

And then he said something about a diaphragm but I’m still unsure what that means, but I put one hand on my stomach, and one hand on my chest, and he’s right, when you think about it you can make yourself breathe through your stomach(ish). And apparently you can get an extra 20% of oxygen into your body if you breathe through your stomach as well.

In a hospital room 25 years ago, taking a breath was the very first thing I did to mark my existence on this planet. And apparently I’ve been doing it wrong ever since. Well, partly wrong and only when I’m running which, admittedly, I did not do much of for the first 20-odd years of said life.

Until tomorrow, but now I can breathe.


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