How can Cadence improve your running?
Your running cadence is how many steps you take per minute. Increasing running cadence can have significant benefits for your running efficiency and reducing your rate of injury. However it does take some time and you do need to introduce it gradually into your running program.
Benefits of increasing your cadence:
Less stress on joints and muscles:
- Studies have shown that by reducing step length (increasing your cadence) can reduce loads applied to the knee and hip and lower leg that cause overuse injuries.
Improved efficiency and less fatigue:
- By reducing the ground contact time or time spent in the landing phase you are able to reduce the time spent by your leg muscles engaging and supporting your body weight.
- With a higher cadence you are supporting your weight for less time and therefore expending less energy.
Easier to run faster:
- With a combination of improving your running efficiency and increasing your overall leg speed you’ll find you will be able to start to run faster.
- Keep your cadence the same at all speeds. This enables you to maintain good technique throughout a run whether you are doing a tempo session, intervals or a slow longer run.
How to monitor your cadence:
The three apps are good ways to monitor your cadence:
Aim on your next run to count the number of times your left foot hits the ground in a minute. Double it and you have your base running cadence.
- If your starting cadence is below 160, start trying to run 160 strides per minute and then slowly try to increase it over a few weeks to 170 strides per minute. Increase it by one beat per minute each week until you can comfortably run between 170-180 bpm. Your body won’t notice the gradual increase and you'll be more likely to be able to maintain it for longer throughout each run.
- Focus only on cadence for one run per week. Practice matching your cadence to the beat of the metronome or music (with beat set at 170-180bpm) with every step you take. This will train you to maintain a steady cadence no matter what your speed.
- Let us know how you go. If you have any questions then shoot us an email firstname.lastname@example.org
By Andrew Maitland - Sports Podiatrist at Melbourne Podiatry Clinic
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