How to increase running cadence (and avoid injury)

You want to increase your running speed and reduce your time, but you’re not sure where to start. Many of us have experimented with changing steps per minute. But the simple question of how many steps you take in a minute has a complicated relationship with training and performance.

Running cadence is the measurable frequency of your stride or steps. There are mixed opinions about the ideal running cadence: some say “Louder is better,” and others encourage “whatever is comfortable for you.”

Then what is? In this article discover how running cadence and performance are connected and how to effectively adjust your own pace of steps.

What is the ideal running cadence?

It was Jack Daniels. – he elite career coach, not the other who observed Olympic runners with cadences greater than 180 steps per minute (SPM). Since then so, Cadence has been associated with efficient performance. Their takeaway was tThe more times your feet touch the ground, the faster you will run.

You’ve probably heard of the magical 180 as a number to aim for. HoweverCoach Daniel’s interesting observation has been taken out of context and promoted as a quick, one-size-fits-all solution. I would be It would be great if we could break our personal record. simply increasing our cadence to 180 steps per minute. But that’s not a realistic goal for everyone.

So how can we increase our steps per minute? we need to Take a closer look at the relationship between running cadence and running performance.

How do I measure my cadence?

Before you start working on increasing your cadence, you need to know how to measure it accurately. Here are two easy ways to measure your own cadence:

How do I measure my cadence?

Low technology: Count each strike with the right foot for 30 seconds and multiply by 4.

Advantages: Simple technique for a single measurement
Cons: It distracts you from your career and is not the most accurate.

High technology: A variety of pedometers and watches with accurate cadence sensors are available. The adidas Running app also shows cadence. (iOS only)

Advantages: Accurate and continuous measurement for analysis at any time
Cons: Wearable technology comes at a price

Common Cadence Mistakes to Avoid

1. Increasing your running cadence too quickly

It takes time for your body to adapt to a new cadence. Although most of us would benefit from a higher running cadence, aiming for a step rate that doesn’t match your training level or anatomy will likely increase your risk of injury and cause a temporary decrease in his economy going.(1)

2. Ignoring your running cadence

Most runners naturally select a lower than optimal cadence. Lower cadences mean longer strides. Longer strides mean greater heel impact forces and a higher risk of injury.(2)(3) However, Increasing cadence toward optimal can improve running economy and injury-related ground reaction forces wWith adequate adaptation.(4)(5)


Here are some determining factors to consider if your goal is to increase your running cadence.

Height and length of legs

Cadence is determined by several factors, including height and leg length. Taller runners have longer strides and therefore have lower cadences. Good to KnowBut this is not particularly useful since we cannot change our height or leg length.

Muscle fibers and training history

Training history, acute fatigue., and even predominant muscle fiber Type has also been suggested as factors affecting running cadence. YesSome tests showyes that fast-twitch muscle fibers function optimally at a higher cadence, Alabamaalthough it is unclear how this affects performance.(6)(7)

Running pace

More than diet, fitness or motivation, The race pace is crucial and glaringly obvious factor that‘s the key determinant of running cadence.

A recent study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology demonstrated exactly this. The researchers measured the cadence of 25 elite ultramarathoners during a 100 km race. As expected, the athletes clustered around an average of 182 SPMapparently supporting the idea that 180 is the holy grail of cadence.(8)

However, the same study also demonstrated wide variation in individual stepping speed.yesfrom just 155 to an incredible 203 steps per minute! The study showed that Cadence was not related to fatigue, weight, sex, age, or training history of athletes.

In addition to height, over which we have no control, the only factor related to cadence was running speed. As the runners accelerated, the cadence increased. As they slowed down, his The cadence decreased.(9) In other words, runners are not fast because they take 180 steps per minute. They take 180 steps per minute because they run fast.

The point is that you can’t select a magic cadence. number and run blindly towards him. Your cadence is specific to your anatomy and pace, whether you’re running half marathons or half hours.

A closer look at race pace

To put it in perspective, let’s compare the cadence of elite athletes running at different speeds. At a pace of 5:20 per mile (3:20 per kilometer), runners took approximately 175 steps per minute. At a pace of 3:50 per mile (2:23 per km), this increased to over 200 SPM. According to research, a runner will take six additional steps per minute for every increase in speed of one meter per second.(10)

If you’ve ever tried running at this pace, you’ll know how fast it is. And, most likely, your cadence was around 180. The conclusion? Rhythm dictates cadence, not the other way around toround.


Forcing a high cadence is a questionable strategy for improving performance and, as we have seen, cadence is largely determined by how fast we run. That said, most of us naturally select a lower than optimal cadence and would benefit from retraining at a higher step rate.

Here are our tips to increase cadence safely and effectively:


Continue your cadence for each pace you run. Remember that when you run, you are likely to run faster than usual with a higher step rate. Over time, you’ll learn how your cadence relates to the speed at which you run.


Cadence is determined by speed. As your fitness improves, you will be able to maintain a faster pace with a higher cadence. If you can run a 5-minute mile (5-minute mile), your cadence will almost certainly be above 170 SPM.


Prevent injuries and setbacks from increasing the pace of your steps too quickly. Gradual adjustments of approx. five Steps per minute will give your body time to adapt without causing injury or affecting performance. The objective is increase your cadence for a given pacenot reaching 180 in each race.


Recent research has shown that heart rate can be used to identify optimal cadence. [11] Register your FC for a comfortable pace (below threshold) at various step rates between 150 and 200. Whichever step rate produces the lowest heart rate is the most efficient! Wait a couple of minutes for your HR to stabilize at each new cadence.


Run Cadence is not something you can manipulate to get instant results. But like you physical condition improves and your pace quickens, you should see a natural increase in step speed.

It doesn’t matter you skill level, most runners choose a cadence that is less than optimal. So growing his Cadence for any given pace is a good idea.

Remember aAdjust your cadence gradually and take advantage of wearable technology for accurate step rate analysis. Over time, you will find the optimal cadence for your chosen activity and enjoy the rewards of better running economy and reduced impact force. —jJust another reason to go running.


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