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Why Running Cadence is Important


The importance of running cadence is often overlooked by runners, especially novice runners, but this is a mistake. Running cadence is the number of times either your left or right foot hits the ground in one minute, and the best runners measure theirs assiduously.


Concentrating on improving your running cadence can make you a faster runner and help you exert less energy while gaining the same amount of ground. Studies have shown that the world's fastest long-distance runners have a higher cadence than the average runner, between 85 to 95 steps per minute. This number doesn't necessarily change with the length of the race. Instead, a good runner's stride length changes to meet the speed of the race.



To find your own cadence, time yourself running for a minute. During that minute, count how many times your right or left foot hits the ground. You may want to do this several times throughout your run and take the average of those counts to determine your cadence. If your cadence is below 85, consider that you may be over-striding, and work on shortening your stride to be in balance with the rest of your body. If you are over 95, you're probably in good shape.


When you have a high cadence you also have a lower chance of injuring yourself. This is because your feet move so quickly over the ground that they don't have much time to come up very far and don't have as great a distance to travel back down, meaning that they will land with less force.


To increase your cadence, practice at a lower intensity than you normally run. Once you've determined your cadence, work on improving it within a during a short amount of time, say one minute. Work on increasing your cadence by building leg muscle, which can help make shorter steps count more. Try to be light on your feet, not allowing your sneakers to touch the ground for too long.


Once you have improved your cadence, you should notice that your race times decrease. You might not even feel more tired after runs because your body will be more efficient.

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#1 spikeymike 2010-08-02 07:26
I was wondering what people think about forefoot running? I know its a new trend but does anyone notice that running like that increase your cadence too much?

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