180 bpm

Ken’s first test subject was Alan Melvin, a world-class Masters thriathlete in his sixties. First, Ken set a baseline by having Melvin run four hundred meters full out. The he clipped a small electric metronome to his T-shirt.

    “What’s this for?”

    “Set it for one hundred eighty beads a minute, then run to the beat.”


    “Kenyans have superquick foot turnover,” Ken said. “Quick, light leg contractions are more economical than big, forceful ones.”

    “I don’t get it,” Alan said. “Don’t I want a longer stride, not a shorter one?”

    “Let me ask you this,” Ken replied. “You ever see one of those barefoot guys in a 10K race?”

    “Yeah. It’s like they’re running on hot coals.”

    “You ever beat one of those barefoot guys?”

    Alan reflected. “Good point.”

Christopher McDougall. 2009. “Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen”.


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