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improve running speed!!!

bennybenny Posts: 1,314
Hi everybody!

Something I've been wondering about for a bit now, mostly during running sessions of course:

What is the best way to improve my run speed, without having to pay too much in form of endurance!

I know some of you will say: train! (like I didn't think of that[8|])

Others will say: RED (which is actually a very good answer).

But my dilemma is this: is the easiest way cadence or stride lenght!!

Which is the easiest, best and fastest way to improve speed:

-more rpm (CADENCE)

-longer steps (STRIDE)



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    GHarvGHarv Posts: 456
    Kenyans run with shorter strides and increased cadence.

    Forefront running also works for some - Newton Updates anyone?

    Also intervals are probably the way to go...

    Tommitri is a sub 15 minute 5k runner I think so hopefully he can give some further tips.

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    Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    Economy of running is pretty important - i.e. the ratio of effort to speed.

    The general consensus is that what really matters is, rather than stride length, a cadence of 180 paces per minute - count your right arm swings as you run at a reasonable speed - you should get about 90 in a minute. It doesn't matter what the distance (from 800m upwards), with elite athletes (well, anyone reasonably fit), this is always the optimum. As you run faster, your stride length will increase - but the cadence stays the same. This is the most efficient rate.

    It doesn't sound very intuitive, but there you are.

    I'm working through Jack Daniels running formula, which all about this kind of stuff - unfortunately, I'm injured at the moment, so haven't made much progress: Generally a good mix of easy runs, threshold runs, intervals etc. is the way to go!

    But if you over stride you will loose efficiency, so go slower for the expenditure, and get injured.

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    treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    Two things Benny

    1. I ntervals loads of them

    2. Lose weight
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    BlinkybazBlinkybaz Posts: 1,144

    This is my thoughts so feel free to ignore!

    If you change your stride to a longer unatural stride you may risk injury or actually slow down due to technique issues.

    I think you should up your camdence in tervals and inrease the lenght of the intervals slowly.
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    Your natural stride length is determined by your frame and is what it is, you shouldn't really try to extend it unnaturally, you'll just end up injuring yourself. Leg recovery is what matters, i.e. how fast you can get your trailing leg back to the front again, as this will increase your cadence. Lifting your trailing foot up towards your backside as you run actually enables you to recover it more easily than you would if you were to keep your leg relatively straight and increased turnover means increased speed.
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    bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    losing weight is not necesarry for me, at 174cm lenght and 62kg (race season) weight.

    Intervals are great and will be done , but should stick to base training now!

    Some answer that stride lenght is determined by frame. I can accept that.

    Some say that cadence optimum is about 90, I can accept that also.

    Does that mean I can't get much faster then??
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    TommiTriTommiTri Posts: 879
    hey benny,

    What the others have said is great advice, not sure I can add much. What jack says about the 180 strides per min is totally correct, this accomplishes two things it allows the utilisation of elastic energy that builds up within the ligaments and tendons when we weight bare on one leg, if you release this quick enough it can be used and will increase efficiency.Keeping at 180 will also minimise contact with the ground, which slows you down. As Jack says all levels of decent runners right up the elites use this cadence, what makes the elites faster is their stride length.

    So heres what I reckon you should do.

    1. you have to learn how to properly use this elastic energy. this is accomplished by -

    skipping - at 180 steps per min, essentially hoping from one foot to the other, but not really using your muscles to do this, just the elastic energy with a bit of muscle input. You should be barely bending you legs, just weight baring on one foot, then swapping over to the other foot. Count the steps and have a timer handy.

    Plyometrics - as described in a recent 220, these will greatly enhance the ability to store and use this elastic energy.

    2. learn to maintain a constant 180 cadence. Best done either on a treadmill with timer, or I like to do it listening to drum and bass, which is approximately 180 beats per minute.

    3. Once you have got this cadence you need to work on increasing stride length whilst remaining economical. This can be achieved many ways you want to try and include the following in you routine.


    Track work

    Hill reps. (also great for learning forefoot running, and increasing use of elastic energy)

    Also a tip, when you are running at your jogging speed in your interval session, when you want to increase speed try swinging your arms more and maybe a bit more powerfully, your legs take their coordination from your arms, not the other way around, if you try increasing your stride length from the legs then it can affect your coordination, which will make you less economical.

    It doesn't work for everyone, but give it a try.

    Also like jack I run using jack daniels formula, and train by paces. This took me from a 17:30 5k down to 14:42.
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    sfullersfuller Posts: 628
    I have a Garmin footpod which allows me to find out my speed, distance and cadence... my cadence is usually about 80, as the footpod is only on one foot is this 80 p/m on the right foot....

    when you say 180 is optimum im assuming this is both feet?

    I dont know if this makes any sense.... but if my footpod is 80 p/m and I need to make 180 p/m i can't see it happening...!

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    Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    Yep - your doing 160. So you need to up your rate from 80 to 90.
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    bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    Anyone know good strategies to up the suggested number to 90, as Jack suggests?
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    TommiTriTommiTri Posts: 879
    read my post benny!

    I found skipping and running up hills with short quick steps proved the best way!
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    bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    Sorry Tommi, overlooked it probably.

    Thanks T.
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    moonshinemoonshine Posts: 335
    some suggest using a metronome to help with the beat of 90 you can set it to do smaller increments over the weeks you can get small pocket ones and it means you're not attached to a treadmill or oblivious of your surroundings with earphones in but you do get funny looks for the sound you're making[:)]- but drum and base sounds a far nicer way of dong it
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    neil66neil66 Posts: 8
    Talking of metronomes I downloaded one from this site and stuck it on the old iPod shuffle


    It has every beat from 30rpm to 200-odd I think but can be hypnotic and make you go googly eyed. Like moonshine says though - music is better.

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    Jelly legsJelly legs Posts: 278
    Its all very well suggesting someone should up there cadence to be able to run faster after reading a book, or doing a search on the internet.

    The reality is somewhat differant.

    The only was you can or will do it is to run,run and run.

    Its as simple as that.

    Depends what level your at but all things being equal in that your not new to running.

    You should be doing at least 3 runs a week consisting of

    1 Normal race pace effort of about 3/4 miles.

    1 Long run of about 65 % of MHR, when i say long i mean long a good two hours.

    1 interval session, basiclly run the length of a football pitch as fast as you can, jog the width. do this for about 20 mins.

    Its impossible to give accurate feedback, because we dont know your level, what speed your running at now, what level you want to get to etc.

    But the above is the minimum you should be doing to improve, as you get fitter, with all your training you will improve, but it takes time and dedication, its not going to happen by next week, or next month, but in time if you really want it.

    Train hard, Race easy. think about that when you say thats it i'm knackered and cant do anymore.

    p.s this is in reply to no one, i dont know why its saying that. !!
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    bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    You say run run run. I can handle that, as matter of fact I love that.

    I run much, maybe too much in comparison to bike and swim. That's probably an often made mistake to train the thing you're best at and love most, but hey were only almost human aren't we!?[:D]

    Been reading in 220 an article about resistance training and how it promises to lengten your stride (and up your pedal power). Anyone believes /knows about this, or is it a waste of time, ie. better spend time running??
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    gunforhiregunforhire Posts: 457
    The more I cycle the slower I run[:@]
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    MowfMowf Posts: 272

    Also like jack I run using jack daniels formula, and train by paces. This took me from a 17:30 5k down to 14:42.

    My god that is fast. And that is a serious improvement - bearing in mind you were running like a lightening bolt anyway! I just about managed a 19.05 at Cotswold last year and was chuffed to bits! This Jack Daniels thing - what is and how do I do it?

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    TommiTriTommiTri Posts: 879
    The jack daniels formula is essentially training by pace based on current race performance. So its designed to gradually increase you running speed. You get given a Vdot value representative of race performance, and then this gives the paces. The aim is to gradually work your way up the vdots.

    I found it a lot better and much more focused than training with a HRM (but I do still have this on as it all helps)

    Gunforhire you have scared the absolute sh*t out of me! I have been off running for nearly 3 months now, in that time I have been doing about twice as much cycling as I have been running. I had never really thought that doing more cycling would affect my running speed, and was hoping when I came back from injury that I would be able to build up fitness again to run at my old speed!

    I haven't put on any bulk, and have actually lost nearly half a stone since I stopped running, mostly though increased training volume and sensible eating. I am now really scared as to be honest, running was what I was best at and what I really loved, I still have never been able to run a sub 30 10k and that was my aim for later this year [:(]
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    Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    Gunforhire you have scared the absolute sh*t out of me!

    I'll let you into a secret. One of my motivations for doing Tri is that I expect that I can never be as good as I would like to be at Running. Or at Cycling. It seems completely logical that the price you pay for being an all rounder, is that you will _not_ be as competitive at the individual events as if you trained solely for them. So, I expect that those that are really brilliant at a single event, will stay at that single event, which gives me an advantage as the better competitors won't be around. To be a good all rounder requires mental strength and discipline in a great proportion than for a single discipline. I have that in spades - even though my age, and the time I have for training, limits my ability to be as physical strong/fast as I want to be.

    So, if you still have things that you want to achieve in running, then not doing tri would be a good thing! (and it means that I won't have you to beat me [;)])
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    Hi, I remembered reading this thread a while ago and was interested about the recommendation of a cadence of 90.

    Well for my birthday I got a Garmin FR50 with footpod & bike pod. Went for a run today and found that a running cadence of 90 felt unusally high. However, when I looked back at my hill repeat session I realised that I reached a cadence of about 100. Each hill run was about 300m so is a cadence of about 100 OK or should I be trying to keep it to 90?

    Similarly on the bike the 90 cadence did feel much faster, maybe I was around 80 normally. I have only done a turbo session so far and will wait and see what happens out on the road.

    Maybe I'm a bit sad but checking out the post training analysis on Garmin Connect. Great motivation to go out and get more sessions on the system!

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    garyrobertsgaryroberts Posts: 869
    Hi Simon

    I too find a running cadence of 90 a little fast, if fact i can't hold to it for more than 5 mins before it slows to a more natural 80-85.

    Its different on the bike, i find 90-110 is good for me.

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