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Running - eureka moment

CCSCCS Posts: 53
The optimum stride rate is a cadence of 90 i.e. 180 steps per minute... so you want to go a bit faster yet!

But well done, it's great to make a breakthrough like that!


  • willieverfinishwillieverfinish Posts: 1,381
    See I'm really lanky and I've always wondered about cadence and running.( mainly cos I'm slow)

    better look into this.


  • CCSCCS Posts: 53
    This will probably seem old hat to all you experienced folk, but I thought I would share a few thoughts that seem to have helped me a lot in case they are useful to other newbies...

    By way of background, I have done some running for general fitness for the best part of the last 20 years - never very far or very fast (quite the opposite) and certainly never in any sort of competitive context (haven't ever even done a fun run). Anyway, since plunging into the world of triathlon in late Feb this year, I have come to the conclusion that I have been doing it all wrong all this time(!).

    The first revelation was looking at photos of me running in my first tri on the last bank holiday Monday. My other half's kind comment was 'it looks as if you are walking' - harsh but true! Cue all sorts of research re heel vs. forefoot striking etc.

    The second revelation was on the training day I attended at Dorney Lake on Saturday, where the coach started talking about running cadence (which I had never so much as heard of never mind given a thought to) - it turns out that my default cadence seems to be around 144 strides / minute. Today, I carried out a bit of an experiment, and downloaded some metronome MP3s for my ipod on my run - and tried out at 160 bpm (still on the slow side I know, but you have to start somewhere) - and managed immediately to knock 3 mins off my PB for a 8.5k run !

    Needless to say, I am quite chuffed, and thought I would share in case this might be of help to anyone else.
  • husslerhussler Posts: 237
    'Optimum' Cadence is a loose word in the context of running....

    It all depends on the individual. There is a trade off between stride length and cadence.

    Yes increasing cadence may speed you up but go to high and you sacrifice length therefore your legs will be going ten to the dozen but not actually moving very quickly.

    Although I would say you have good scope to increase your cadence, experiment with it.

    Be careful with changing your running style from heel to forefoot running as your body will wonder what the hell is going on, especially as you have be running for so long. You will injure yourself!!! Most people struggle to change so dont worry about it too much, your foot strikes the floor the way it does because it needs too in order to distribute weight/shock etc

    I tried changing from heel to forefoot a couple of years ago, within 3 weeks I had a knee injury.... So I said sod it and went back to heel striking :)
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    My non mathematical mind wonders...180 steps per min, 60 secs per minute therefore 3 steps per second...
  • shadowone1shadowone1 Posts: 1,408
    Britspin wrote:

    My non mathematical mind wonders...180 steps per min, 60 secs per minute therefore 3 steps per second...

    two legs though....
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    1.5 steps per leg per second, (I was sitting here drumming index & first fingers of hand to try to fit in 3 per sec...)
  • moonshinemoonshine Posts: 335
    so am I right every click is a step - eek 180? So you set metronome to 180 or 90 and make sure that same foot hits for beat - 180 sounds like a hamster in a wheel to me:)
  • BlinkybazBlinkybaz Posts: 1,144
    You got it moonshine! Sounds far to technical to me. I am going to stick the HRM and the mindless thoughts I have when running about weird stuff that would make you all think I is crazy!
  • Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    hussler wrote:
    'Optimum' Cadence is a loose word in the context of running....

    Not really. A lot of research has been done in this area. A distances > 800m, all elite (reasonable?) athletes have, generally, something in common - running at this rate. Speed is then given by stride length. Doesn't vary too much depending on the size, or gender of the athlete. It's all about efficency etc. etc. Of course, when sprinting, cadence can be higher...

    I would back this up with some references, but the stuff google is giving me is too vague, or too hard, and all my books etc. are at home.

    However, I don't think that trying to run at this cadence should be a primary objective of training. It is something that will come naturally as you get fitter, more experienced at racing (if you find yourself doing substantially less than this, you are more likely to be at the jogging end of the running spectrum - i.e. less that what you are capable of - so run a bit faster). So, if you find youself with a cadence of, say, 45, you need to run faster.

  • MGMG Posts: 470
    Hmmmm, something tells me you havnt done too many tris?? Have you ever tried running at a cadence of 180 after swimming and cycling......
  • Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    Cadence is 90. Not 180. Count the number of times your right arm swings.

    Nothing to do with how many tris I've done!

    There's a lot of thought that having a similar cadence on the bike and run is a good thing for Tri.

    I think I would have to be a humming bird to get a cadence of 180.

    Perhaps you are thinking of the Bionic man?
  • Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    Sigh I'm rushing. Didn't link to quite the right article. Ho hum.

    Anyway, my synopsis of the current state of the art is:

    1) Optimal running is a cadence of 90 (180 steps per minute)

    2) If you finish the cycle leg at around this cadence, then the negative impact on the start of the run is less... i.e. you hit the ground running! [Meaning, if you cycle at a lower cadence, then you start off running at a lower cadence - jelly legs syndrome].

    3) There is more debate about what an optimal cadence for cycling is....

    This is, of course, theory.. and you can't just set out to make yourself run at a cadence of 90 etc. etc.

  • This is something completely new to me .. running steps per minute, i'd just started working on swim strokes per length. I do love all the techy stuff in training ! [8|]

    Ipod metronome?! .. sounds like that disco i went to in Berlin .. bmm tss bmm tss bmm tss bmm tss bmm ..
  • danny_sdanny_s Posts: 235
    For what its worth, experiment of me, with just one condition tested and one result measured, upping your cadence helps.

    I've been focusing on running a very regularly since New Year's and about early march decided to give this magical 90 a try. The first times I did it, my stride length shortened up A LOT. This was really awkward and felt funny after being on ~50 miles a week at ~80-82. However, persisting and keeping it up for a week, it was much more comfortable and helped me move onto my forefoot to run. My right hamstring which had been sore for ages due to a herniated disk was also incredibly comfy after every run.

    This in turn gave my legs a fresher feel and I was able to get a bouncier step, cutting down on the time my feet touch the ground. After about a month of this, I'd managed to drop 2:30 off of my normal 7k "balls to the wall" run.

    After 3 months now my stride is lengthening up gradually, but the cadence staying the same, ergo - faster. I had a break through sort of on my own wednesday morning where I was early for our 5 a side football in our gym and went to the cardio room for some running. Doing 1km intervals, I started out thinking that I'd really punish myself doing 4min/km repeats, but after the first one realized that this was too easy, and sped the next one up to 3:50, and then 3:40 and finally 3:30 where I nearly died. But! if you'd told me I'd run a 3:30 km that morning I'd have laughed at you, and I'm convinced that my satisfying speed work is due to the improved stride technique.

    I forget where I'd read it but vividly remember seeing that anyone who was running under 6:00/mile had to run on their forefoot or just couldnt' get their legs around fast enough to make it possible. At least now I can join that club!

    Sorry for the wall of text but this has been a great week for my training!

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