The Connection Runners + [running man]

Marathon Swimmers and Running Tunes

Don't know what to make of this. Diana Nyad makes ultrarunning look like a walk through the park...or a casual stroll through the mountains. I remember hearing or seeing on the news that she had failed in her last Cuba-Florida swim, but I didn't think too much about it.

One thing that peaked my interest is her method of singing to herself while swimming and how or if that would translate to running. Her choice of music ain't bad, but her choice of sport is. I can't stand swimming. That may be the one factor (besides the exorbitant price) that has kept me from signing up for an ironman. Plus, then I'd have to get one of those awful tattoos. Those are mandatory, right?

I know that occasionally I've sung to myself while running, but I've never thought about consciously doing it to keep track of my pace. If you're trying to swim 60 strokes a minute, I can imagine that it is somewhat similar to wanting to have 180 steps a minute. So this brings up a few questions.

First, how many steps per minute should one take and should steps per minute be a constant? That is, should one run at 180 steps per minute or something less, like 150 steps and should it change depending on the grade that one runs or should the steps be a constant and length of the stride change?

Second, have you ever heard of someone doing something like this? Do people actually keep track of how many steps per minute they are using?

Third, is this even worth doing? Perhaps the analogue from swimming to running doesn't hold: it makes sense when you are swimming, but maybe not with running. It seems that Nyad is doing it (1) to keep pace and (2) to distract herself. Subquestion: is this best for certain types of runs (boring ones)? I could see this working really well for a course that consists of laps (especially on a track), but maybe not for very hilly/mountainous courses where there is always something to think (worry) about. Maybe singing songs would be a good way to remember when to eat. Instead of relying upon a watch, at the end of every two songs just take a shot block or a tortellini.

Fourth, what would be some good songs to learn? The songs would have to have a fast beat (although not necessarily because the beat could be divisible by twos or threes). They would need to have lyrics. And most of all, they must be catchy as hell. What songs do you sing to yourself when you run? When I find myself singing (in my head - those around me should thank me later) it's usually just the last thing that I heard before I left the apartment/got out of the car/heard on the itunes. Suggestions?

As always, lots of questions. Few answers. Time to experiment.