Figuring out your best run cadence

Teaching yourself to run with a faster cadence will increase your speed and reduce your chance of injury.

| January 19, 2018 | TRAINING

Today's Triday comes to you in staccato steps. In the weeks following my injury, I worked harder on my run cadence (or stride rate - the amount of steps you take in a minute). And it was worth it! I'm in very good shape in January and I feel really light, which is always a good sign.

Getting used to holding a faster run cadence doesn't feel very good at the beginning, but it will get better, I promise. Typically, when you want to go faster, your body will typically try to increase the stride length. It's important, though, to get yourself to increase your cadence. For several reasons:

  • The time your foot is on the ground is shorter
  • You will put yourself in a better position and avoid a "sitting style" of running
  • You'll move towards a more midfoot landing (vs landing heel first)
  • The drive for your stride will come more from behind the body's center of gravity.

All of these factors will lead to less injury and more torso stability.

One way to increase your stride rate is to teach yourself to walk faster. If you can maintain a faster cadence at lower speeds, all the better - these are characteristics of good running technique. With just a few small changes you can make some dramatic improvements. I am now quite used to it and now set an alarm on my Garmin watch - as soon as my cadence drops below 180 / minute, I am automatically reminded to speed things up.

That worked very well for me, but it's important to remember, when you start, to control your pace - you tend to run faster and faster when you try to increase your cadence. As you get more used to it the new stride rate becomes easier - even at low speeds.