I’m going to try to simplify running cadence and explain how to run faster for longer, by using simple running cadence.
Simple Running Cadence
Running cadence is the number of times your feet hit the ground per minute. You can calculate your cadence easily, by counting the amount of times your right (or left) foot hits the ground in a minute and double it to get your cadence.
There are two ways to run faster. The first way is to increase your stride length. The second is to increase your cadence.
Why Cadence Matters
If you’re looking to run faster, it’s easier and safer to increase your cadence than to increase your stride length. Increasing your stride length can lead to over-striding which puts you at a risk for injury. I find that focusing on my running cadence helps me with my running posture as well. It also helps me stay focused on my run and makes time go by faster.
If you’re going to run, you might as well run efficiently. By increasing your cadence, you can run faster using the same amount of energy, which in turn will allow you to run for longer.
What Is The Optimum Cadence?
It’s often said that 180 steps per minute is the optimum cadence that runners should aim for. The problem with that, is that all runners are different. Runners with long legs will have a different optimum cadence than a runner with shorter legs. Your cadence will likely change based on the type of workout you’re doing. If you’re doing speed work, you’ll likely have a higher cadence than while on a long run.
If you’re conscious of your cadence, you can achieve a more consistent cadence which will improve your running.
How To Increase Your Cadence
There are a few different ways to increase your cadence. One common method is to listen to music with a tempo equal to the cadence you want to achieve. For example, if you’re targeting a cadence of 180spm, you can listen to music with a higher beats per minute (say 150+bpm or higher).
Another method is to simply focus on taking smaller strides and turning your feet over more. That said it’s important to not focus solely on cadence. Trying to increase your cadence without proper running form can also put you at risk for injury.
There’s More Than One Way To Become A Better Runner
Simply focusing on your cadence is not necessarily the best way to become a better runner. Good running is a combination of many things. Working on your form and stride, in combination with cadence can help you become more efficient.
Don’t Make Running A Chore
While I advocate increasing cadence as a way to become a faster and more efficient runner, I caution against making running into a chore by over focusing on small details. The most important part of becoming a better runner, desire to run. If you make it too complicated and take the fun out of it, any gains in speed and efficiency will be wasted.
Go out and have fun running. If working on your cadence is appealing to you, try it out. If it’s complicating your runs, don’t bother. There are many great runners who don’t know, or care what their running cadence. I found it helped me become a better runner, maybe it will help you to?
Do you know your running cadence?