Improving your cadence, or the number of steps you take per minute while running, can enhance your running efficiency and reduce the risk of injury.

Here are three effective ways to boost your cadence:

  1. Gradual Increase: Start by determining your current cadence during a comfortable run. Use a running watch or smartphone app to count your steps for one minute. The ideal cadence for most runners falls between 170 to 180 steps per minute. If your cadence is below this range, aim to gradually increase it by 5-10% over several weeks. Focus on shorter, quicker steps rather than longer strides. Practice this higher cadence during your easy runs before incorporating it into faster workouts.
  2. Metronome Training: Utilize a metronome to set a rhythmic beat matching your desired cadence. Many running apps offer metronome features that synchronise with your music playlist or provide standalone metronome functionalities. Start by setting the metronome to your target cadence and try to match your footfalls to the beat. Over time, your body will adapt to this rhythm, improving your cadence naturally. Begin with shorter intervals and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable with the rhythm.

Another option for those with Garmin watches is to set cadence targets in your runs. When you set up a running workout, select cadence as your ‘Intensity Target’, and then adjust to your cadence level.

  • Strength and Mobility Exercises: Strengthening your leg muscles and improving your overall mobility can help you achieve a higher cadence with less effort. Incorporate exercises targeting the muscles used in running, such as squats, lunges, calf raises, and hip flexor stretches, into your regular routine. Additionally, focus on core stability exercises to enhance your posture and running form. Engaging in regular strength and mobility workouts can improve your running economy, making it easier to maintain a higher cadence over longer distances.

Consistency and patience are key when working to improve your cadence. Be mindful of your body’s limits and avoid overstriding or forcing a cadence that feels unnatural. Listen to your body, gradually implement these strategies, and monitor your progress over time to achieve lasting improvements in your running cadence.

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