How Can I Improve My Running Cadence?
Running Cadence, or step rate, is to a runner what revolutions are to a cyclist, or strokes to a swimmer. It sets your pace. One of the golden rules to a good running technique is that a quicker, shorter step is more efficient. Essentially having a high cadence or high step rate is a good thing. Commonly the ideal running cadence is quoted as being 180 steps per minute. Although a larger range of between 170-190 steps per minute on average is more realistic. Take a look at our previous Run Lab blog to find out more.
Current research favours a high running cadence as this spreads force more evenly through the body rather than overloading one area. It helps injury prevention. As we know, the body will always follow the easiest path. Its usually this path that leads to the weakest part, and ultimately pain.
One of the most common technique faults among recreational runners is a slow step rate (or cadence). Recent studies have shown that as little as a 5-10% increase in step rate can aid in reducing the magnitude of several biomechanical forces on the body (otherwise known as kinetics). Numerous advantages have been shown. Reducing knee bend on initial foot strike leading to smaller pressures on the kneecap joint, spending less time in contact with the ground, reducing any over striding, to name a few. A subtle difference to look at. A big difference to feel! See below:
A slow cadence is one of the most common faults in injured runners. The video below shows a quick and effective way to help improve your step rate and ultimately your efficiency:
Running technique is 1 of the 3 key elements to an efficient, injury free runner. This running cadence drill can get your started on ensuring you’re hitting those golden rules of a good technique.
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