This morning I headed up the Sam Merrill Trail to Mt. Wilson's summit via the Mt Lowe railway; 24 miles round trip in 4:25. Rather slow, but the run was pain free both up and down. It was very chilly up at the summit, where I donned a windbreaker and gloves; and I've had a head cold this week -- this may have impacted my speed.
On the other hand I ran some fairly fast times last week despite my cold. I continued to experiment with cadence through the week, running on the Sawpit wash trail in Monrovia. What I find is that I am comfortable with a 180 step/min cadence on flat ground, but this cadence is uncomfortably high running uphills, and uncomfortably slow running downhills. I had picked up a cheap metronome for cadence checks and just found that its no good except on relatively flat ground.
The main take-away from my cadence work this last week is that, while its OK for my cadence to drop running uphill (as my speed drops), I feel better if I split the difference between cadence and stride length by pushing the cadence a bit and shorten my stride to stay reasonably comfortable. Similarly, my cadence picks up on downhills, and thats good- better than stretching out the stride while maintaining a constant 180 step/min cadence. Yesterday I ran 5.3 miles this way in 40 minutes and felt comfortable the whole way, knees and achilles solid. Bottom line, the 180 step/min number is an indicator, but it seems silly that this cadence should be optimal for all grades and speeds.