Starting to run more often, you might start thinking about cadence. 

What is cadence? In running, cadence is often defined as the total number of steps you take per minute. Cadence is one of the two factors that make up a runner’s speed. The other is stride length. One easy way to measure your cadence for running is to count the times your feet hit the ground in 60 seconds. Good runners usually have a higher cadence because they usually go faster than beginners. Top runners typically run with a cadence of around 180, whereas most beginners will run at 150-160. Cadence plays a crucial role in running efficiency and injury prevention. 

Here are the top three reasons why cadence is important:

  1. Efficiency: Maintaining an optimal cadence helps runners utilize energy more efficiently. A higher cadence often corresponds to shorter, quicker steps, which can reduce vertical oscillation and excessive braking forces. This translates to smoother forward motion, allowing runners to cover more ground with less effort.
  2. Injury Prevention: Consistent cadence can help reduce the risk of overstriding, which occurs when the foot lands too far ahead of the body’s centre of mass. Overstriding can increase the impact forces on the legs and joints, potentially leading to injuries such as shin splints, stress fractures, and knee pain. By maintaining an appropriate cadence, runners are more likely to land with their feet underneath their bodies, distributing impact forces more evenly.
  3. Performance: Cadence is closely linked to running speed. Research suggests that increasing cadence can lead to improvements in running performance. By increasing stride turnover, runners can generate more power and maintain a faster pace. Additionally, a higher cadence may help runners better adapt to changes in terrain or race conditions, allowing for more consistent performance.

Overall, paying attention to cadence can help runners become more efficient, reduce the risk of injury, and enhance their overall performance.

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