Earlier this year, I wrote about working with my triathlon coach on improving my running technique. I was aiming to transition to a more efficient running cadence and shorten my stride to decrease the force on my hips and knees to help prevent injury.
To determine your running cadence, you can simply count the number of times your foot strikes the ground in a minute. However I know I would probably lose count fairly quickly, so I began to look into devices which can monitor running metrics. My Garmin 920xt does track cadence, but I always wondered about the accuracy of the data since the watch is worn on my wrist, not my foot!
The MilestonePod is a new running gadget which captures a range of performance metrics. I was lucky enough to try the device before it was officially available for the UK market and found it a useful tool as I continue to work on my running form.
The pod is clipped onto your running shoe and starts to capture data as soon as it senses any movement. After a run or walk, it syncs to the MilestonePod App via Bluetooth to display the data. Once set up, the pod is very straightforward to use, there are no buttons to push, no need to run with your phone and nothing to re-charge. The data is presented in an easy to understand format and all previous activities are stored so you can go back and compare results.
The app displays all the standard running metrics for each run including duration, steps, distance and calories. But it also gives a deeper insight into HOW you run with the following metrics:
Foot strike is where your foot first makes contact with the ground. The App will display your average percentages between heel, mid-foot and toe. I’m aware that I have a tendency to heel-strike, so I was not surprised when the MilestonePod confirmed this. According to the data, my heel strikes the ground first for 87-94% of the time I am running.
Cadence is the average number of times your foot hits the ground in one minute. My cadence falls naturally around the 168spm mark, but recently I’ve been able to increase it to 170spm. The ideal number is considered to be 180spm, so I still have a way to go before I get there!
Ground contact is the average amount of time your foot spends on the ground, measured in milliseconds (ms). Elite runners have a ground contact time of under 200 ms. Personally, mine varies from 268 to 300 milliseconds.
Rate of Impact
Every time you land, your foot impacts the ground with a certain amount of force, which is counteracted by an equal and opposite force applied by the ground to your foot. Rate of impact is the amount of time your body has to deal with that ground force. A lower rate of impact is considered optimal has it means that your body has enough time to spread the force out evenly. I was pleased to see that all of my runs have had a 100% low impact.
Stride length is the average length of one full stride. A stride is the distance between your left and right foot touching the ground. As your stride length increases, your speed increases. Mine falls around 38-42 inches- apparently the most efficient stride length is what comes naturally and feels the most comfortable to you.
Leg swing is how high you get your foot off the ground and towards your bum following push-off. A higher leg swing means you are keeping your body movement closer to your center of gravity. Mine is generally on the lower side for the majority of my runs- this is where my high knee drills will help.
Runficiency Score is a calculated by an algorithm of cadence, ground contact, stride length measurements. The best possible Runficiency Score is 100, with the global average currently at 73. Mine varies between 65 and 85.
The MilestonePod tracks every single step you take in your shoes, whether it’s in a workout session or not. The app displays the total distance of the shoe in correlation to the suggested life mileage for that type of shoe. I started using the MilestonePod at the same time as I began running in a new pair of Adidas Response Boost, so I know that I’ve run approximately 35 miles in these particular shoes. It is suggested that I should look to replace them after 400 miles.
I’ve found the data interesting and useful, but as with all technology it’s important to not become too reliant on it. The downfall is becoming obsessed with analyzing every workout, instead of training based on how your body feels.
The MilestonePod will be available via Amazon UK (soon I’m told) at a price of £25, which I feel is very reasonable for amount of technology in this small device. I received the product free of charge for review but all opinions are my own.
Do you track running metrics aside from distance, pace and time? Have you ever used a footpod?