Just for Runners: How to Improve Your Cadence


Hello all you runners out there! Whether you are a seasoned marathoner or new to the sport of running, I have one word for you that may make a big difference in how you run and reduce potential injuries – CADENCE.

What is Cadence?  Cadence is how many steps you take in a minute.  It is not how fast you cover ground in that time, but simply how quickly your legs are turning under you.  The research says that a person should be taking 160-180 steps in a minute in order to reduce ground reaction forces (too much of this can cause too much stress to bones, joints, and tissues).  As a practicing PT who does biomechanical assessments of runners, I really feel like 170-180 is a better window for people.

So how do you find your cadence? While running, count your steps x 30 seconds and multiply by 2.  Easy.  If your number is below 160, I recommend downloading a metronome app to your phone and use this to give you a beat to run to during your next run.  Surprisingly, this increase in cadence can be challenging to your cardiovascular system, so I suggest starting with for every 5 minutes you run, one minute of that is at the improved cadence.  Once you feel like one minute is not as taxing, add a minute to the point where your body can run your preferred distance with the improved cadence.  You can also google songs at your target cadence and get a playlist of ideas that will keep you moving during the course of your run.

There you have it – one suggestion to keep you running more efficiently and keep you healthy.  And if you have more questions about your running form, come see me in the OSI White Bear Lake clinic for a running evaluation!

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