Cadence in running refers to the number of steps a runner takes per minute (SPM) while running. It is also known as stride rate and is an essential metric for runners to monitor. A higher cadence can help improve running efficiency, reduce the risk of injury, and increase speed. While the ideal cadence for running has been traditionally thought to be 180 SPM, recent studies suggest that the optimal cadence may vary based on individual factors such as height, weight, and running style. Some runners may benefit from increasing their cadence, while others may find that their natural cadence is optimal for their running performance. Incorporating cadence work into a running routine can help improve posture, reduce ground contact time, and increase speed, making it an essential metric for runners to monitor.
HOW TO WORK ON YOUR CADENCE
- Measuring Cadence: Start by counting your steps for a minute while running. A higher number of steps per minute generally indicates better efficiency and speed, and it puts less strain on your joints.
- Improving Cadence: Focus on taking shorter, quicker steps. This approach reduces the impact on each foot strike and increases your step frequency. Over time, this can raise your overall cadence.
- Tools to Help: Use a metronome or listen to fast-paced music to maintain a consistent step rate. This method helps you keep up with a quicker step rhythm.
- Benefits: Higher cadence can improve your running economy, meaning you expend less energy at a given pace. This can help you run longer distances without getting as tired.
- Overall Running Form: While cadence is important, remember to also pay attention to other elements like foot strike, body alignment, and posture. Improving your cadence might take time, and advice from a running coach can be valuable.
In summary, focusing on your cadence can enhance your running by making you more efficient and reducing the risk of injury. You can improve it by shortening your stride length and practicing consistently, possibly with the help of a metronome or appropriate music.
There are several ways to improve running cadence, including:
- High-cadence strides: Doing high-cadence strides a couple of times per week after an easy run can help teach the body to go fast and get used to striding faster.
- Use a metronome: Using a metronome app or an actual metronome for music practice can help guide the cadence while running and keep you on track with your running cadence goals.
- Run strides: Running strides after a run is a great way to improve running form and increase running cadence. Focus on quick turnover, as if each footfall lands on hot coals, and pump your arms to drive your legs forward.
- Jump rope: Jumping rope can help increase cadence by keeping jumps low and fast, similar to running.
- Gradual changes: Adjusting cadence gradually is important to avoid new stresses and potential for injury. For example, if your usual cadence is 160 SPM, try increasing it to 165 SPM and gradually work your way up.
Incorporating these techniques into a running routine can help improve running cadence, leading to improved running efficiency, reduced risk of injury, and increased speed.