Running Cadences

Informant Background:

This informant is a sophomore at USC in the Naval ROTC program. She grew up in Pennsylvania in a middle class family. As a child she enjoyed all things sci-fi and fantasy, and in high school she developed a passion for the military in JROTC.

Informant’s story:

“So in the naval battalion, or military in general, when we run we have what are called ‘running cadences’ or ‘jodies’. These are like call an response song like things which are sung to a specific cadence to keep us motivated and keep us in step. a popular cadence is “C-130 rolling down the strip” There’s tons of variations to it to suit whichever branch or unit is singing it.”


Running cadences are used to motivate runners, instill uniformity  and cohesion of the group, and establish the pace in which the group will be running. Cadences can be formed from a variety of different sources. Many of them have several variations that suit the different units. such cadences include “C-130 rolling down the strip”, “Hey [branch name]”, “I don’t know what I’ve been told” and many others. Other cadences are sung to the same tune, but with different words which only apply to unit, and some can work any and all groups. Cadences are an incredibly effective tool in building unit cohesion  and pushing physical fitness. The collective response of the runners instills a sense “team” and those who would otherwise give up are motivated to push forward to keep up with the rest of the group.