For some Pittsburgh Marathon runners, an extra piece of gear will accompany them during their training leading up to May 1, 2016. I am lucky enough to be included in that group.
This little thing is called a Milestone Pod, and I wasn’t too sure about it at first, but I quickly fell in love with the data that it provided. After my first run, I had data I never had access to before about my gait, foot strike, and stride length. Not only is it cool to see this data, but it also helps me understand what I need to improve, and provides me with tips to get that done.
Here’s a quick summary of the data from my latest run of 10.5 miles.
Foot Strike: 100% Heel
Foot strike is determined by which part of your foot makes the principal contact with the ground. While there is much debate about which foot strike is best, I think it depends on the person and their mechanics. This was something ecspecially important for me since I’m trying to make myself more of a mid-striker instead of heel.
Cadence (average number of steps per minute): 167
With 180 steps per minute thought to be ideal, this was interesting to look at, because often I feel very good when I’m “hitting my stride,” but according to these stats, it looks like I have a little more work to do when it comes to my cadence.
Stance Time (in milliseconds): 293
Calculated by the amount of time your foot is on the ground, stance time is something I never thought about while training for, or during, a run. But I guess there’s something to this, because I’ve read a few articles where they talk about elite runners who look like they glide across the pavement. I don’t consider my feet to be on the ground long, but I’m nowhere near the 100 ms they say the elites run at.
Rate of Impact: 45% low, 55% mid
This measures the amount of force that your feet come down with during each step. This is probably one of the most valuable stats I get using the Pod. There is a 3rd category “high” which I haven’t had any steps venture into yet, which is good because that is where they say many injuries happen.
Stride Length: 36 inches
Do you know how long your stride is? I didn’t either, until now. Kind of interesting to be able to calculate how many steps it would take to run a marathon with a stride of 36 inches. By the way, it’s 45,760.
Leg Swing: 47% low, 53% mid, 0% high
One of the weirdest stats the pod measures is leg swing. I always felt that the further I brought my feet off of the ground, the more force I would bring them down with, which maybe is true, but the pod tells me that higher leg swing is better, which means I have a ways to go to improve.
Runficiency: 80 (best possible score is 100)
One very neat thing the pod calculates is runficiency. It’s a fun made-up word that takes all of the statistics and adds them together. It’s almost like studying for a test. You work on your form, try to quicken your cadence, and at the end, you get a grade! An 80% is a B- on many grading scales, so I guess I have a ways to go, but at least I’m not close to failing out of running school.
I LOVE my Milestone Pod, and it’s only been a few weeks. I’m excited to track my progress and see how far I’ll come by the time the Marathon rolls around. It’s also good to be able to see the progress in smaller areas, like leg swing and stance time, because sometimes looking at miles and minutes isn’t as satisfying. Here’s to hoping that with a few study sessions, I’ll be earning an A+ during my longest run of the year.