This article was written by Paul Hoffman. You can read his previous articles here. He has also read and researched several research papers on sprinting and performance articles so you don’t have to.
Using a Metronome to Improve Speed in a Masters Sprinter
I thought I came up with the original idea of using a metronome to increase speed, until I checked with Google Scholar and found there were many training and measurement studies using this simple musical device. In addition, the folks at Chi Running use it too to maintain running stability and consistency. (With the internet, one finds that very little hasn’t been thought of before!)
My idea, as an oft injured Masters sprinter, was to find a way to increase speed in a very controlled, incremental manner. It’s very difficult to judge speed, and since there’s such a fine line between peak performance and catastrophe, I wanted to improve at the smallest increment possible, instead of guessing, which can be a quantum leap to disaster.
There are some slight stride length changes that accompany this technique, since you’re conforming your stride to an external source, so elite sprinters probably wouldn’t want to mess with their natural gait. But for the rest of us, simply trying to run faster in a relatively safe manner, is the goal. (Cycling sprinters don’t have to worry about this when they use a metronome in training.)
I use the metronome in two ways. For top end speed, I find the desired rhythm, then gradually accelerate into the beep, just like a real race.
The other usage, is to improve your start by gradually increasing the beat in repeated starts out of the blocks.
Here are some of the links for what other people have done with metronomes.
About the Author
Paul Hoffman is a Masters sprinter, psychotherapist and musician in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. He writes a blog entitled My Two Cents: Thoughts of a Small Town Therapist.