Cadence, or your turnover rate is how many steps you take when you run. Cadence has a massive effect on your efficiency and is something we want you to focus on in the coming weeks.
The shorter your stride length and the quicker your stride rate, the faster and better you run. If you have a low cadence, you likely also have a long stride. Runners who overstride tend to lock their knees and slam their heels to the ground on every step. This slows you down, creates a choppy, bouncy gait, and puts extra pressure on muscles and bones, making you more susceptible to injury.
By increasing your cadence, you’re doing more than moving your feet faster; you’re changing the positioning of where your foot lands. Rather than having your foot land in front of your hips, with a higher cadence, it lands underneath you – in your centre of gravity. This naturally decreases your stride length and increases your turnover, which means you’re wasting less energy moving up and down (from the ground to the air and vice versa). Rather, your body is focused on moving forward, making you faster.
The optimum cadence is 180 steps per minute. This is quite quick! Have a listen to this metronome that is set at 180 beats per minute:
This week, time yourself running for 1 minute and count the number of steps you take (or count for 30secs and then double it!). You then have your current cadence.
If you are sitting around the 140-160 steps per minute range you want to start to focus on take more steps and shortening your stride length. A good way to practice this is to download a playlist that has a beat per minute rate of around +10 above your current cadence (ie: if you are sitting at 150, download a playlist with a 160bpm) and try running in time to that beat.
Runners of all abilities, from beginner to advanced, can benefit from working on their cadence. While adjusting your stride might feel a little awkward and unnatural at first, if you stick with it, you’ll be on your way to becoming a faster, less-injury prone runner.