Running to the Beat – Using a Metronome


One of the best tools to help you practice your Chirunning Technique is to use a metronome when on the run.

What is a metronome?

The metronome is a little gadget that you can set to beep at regular intervals. Each time it beeps, you take a step. The metronome is one of the best tools to help you practice your ChiRunning Technique. You can use the metronome to help keep your running form efficient – especially when you are tired. The ideal setting is 180 beats per minute, but depending on your current running style somewhere between 165 and 175 might be more appropriate for you to start out with. Make sure you have a basic understanding of ChiRunning before you run with the metronome. It’s important to know what you are trying to achieve by running to the beat.

Why run with a metronome?

Running to the metronome beat will seem fast for many people. It will seem like very short quick steps. 180 steps per minute is 3 steps per second. If you take long strides at the moment when you run, you will certainly find this changes how you move. You wont have time to stride out in front as you will need to be on to the next step. The metronome quickens your cadence (foot turnover) so you require less leg power to run and use more gravity, core and upper body instead.

A lot of us run with long strides out in front of us. When we hit the ground in front of us, our heel hits the ground first and this sends a force up the body – through the knees, hips and into the lower back. This ‘heel strike’ has been linked to many injuries. Also, when we take a long stride, our legs spend more time on the ground and it takes much more leg power to push off with the back leg to move up and onto the next step. This can overuse the calves, achilles and lower leg muscles of the body. Instead of long strides and leg power, running with the metronome helps us shorten our stride and results in us hitting the ground closer to the body and hence we need less leg power to move on to the next step.

How to programme your metronome ?

I have created a video to help you set up your metronome. Note – this video sets the metronome to 180 BPM but in your workshop/class your chirunning instructor will tell you the best beat for you.

How can I get a metronome ?

We have a limited number of clip on metronomes available. The cost is 20 euro and we can post them in Ireland or you can collect at our classes.

Contact us to get your metronome.

Tips for using the metronome

  • Try to avoid focusing on hitting the ground with every step. That just makes you heavier on your feet. Every time the metronome beats lift a foot off the ground.
  • If you find it too confusing to focus on the legs, think of the arms instead. Everytime the metronome beeps elbow back behind you.
  • Use the headphone socket, but only put in one ear so you can still be aware of your surroundings for safety.
  • Your body will fall into the rhythm. Make sure you don’t start too fast. The quick turnover of your feet may make you speed up. Remember from your workshop/class that your accelerator is your forward fall. Your brake is to stand up taller. So maintain a slower pace initially until you feel comfortable.

Mary schedules regular workshops and refresher classes for ChiRunning in Dublin. Mary can also deliver a workshop in your club/group.

Find out more about ChiRunning here.