I started running for the first time in my life one year ago this month. I have been kind to myself and not set any speed goals. But now that a year has gone by I am curious if I can increase speed by focusing on a metric called “strikes per minute” (SPM) which is defined by the number of times your foot hits the ground during one minute. From what I have read, a “good” SPM is 160, with elite runners at 170 SPM.
I have tracked my runs and speed for the >6 months using Apple Watch, which captures average speed, SPM, and distance. I have >6 months of data or me running normally and my average SPM is 153. I will compare that with what I do during the project period where my goal is to increase SPM.
How do I plan to do it? I am going to create a customized music playlist I will run to featuring music timed to ≥160 BPM (beats per minute). The goal is to sync my foot falls to the beat of the music. As a former punk rock drummer I am pretty decent at locking in to timing. I hope I can sync my feet and grow my SPM, and see if my average mile time improves. I plan to use Apple Watch and Spotify as tools and log data into spreadsheets.
Considering my average of 153 SPM is slow, and 160 SPM is “good” I am curious what a statistically significant improvement should look like. Is hitting 160 the goal? Is it to get to 160 SPM faster (within the first few weeks)? Is it to go over 160 SPM?