General Discussion Triathlon Talk » running cadence in relation to your speed Rss Feed  
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2013-08-21 11:15 AM

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Subject: running cadence in relation to your speed
Ok, after getting some great info from another thread that I started about your average run pace, I decided that I am going to work on my running as it is my weakest link at this point. I have read a few things about cadence already but can't find the exact answer that I am looking for. Up to this point in my training I have never worried at all about my form or cadence. i simply just ran and listened to music. Whenever I would push myself harder I would always seem to get hurt. Recently I found the Maffetone Method and I have been using HR monitoring when running and have been loving it. I was able to ramp up my mileage and stay injury free. I would still love to use this method but right now my runs usually start at about a 10:15/mi pace and decrease to about a 12:00/mi pace by the end of my runs. I know this is super slow, but I am trying to follow the method very closely. Anyway, I am going to try and work on my cadence now. I have read that 180bpm is generally considered an "optimum" cadence. I don't know if its the best cadence for "me" but I will try and find out. I went and listened to an MP3 of a 180 cadence beat and holy crap is that fast. Is it even possible to get my cadence up that high while running say 11 to 12 min/mile? I haven't tried it yet, but I know for sure that my cadence now is no where even close to that. I can definitely speed up my pace, but is it realistic to get close to that cadence at the speeds I am running at using my HR training? Or should I shoot for say 160bpm at those speeds and as my speed increases, then I can increase my cadence?

Edited by spiderjunior 2013-08-21 11:21 AM


2013-08-21 12:01 PM
in reply to: spiderjunior

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Subject: RE: running cadence in relation to your speed

I'm not a great runner, so you might well get better advice down the line.  I am, however, a slow runner who uses a foot pod to measure cadence.  At 10:00-11:00/mile pace, my cadence is typically 90-92 (measured on one foot only).  At an 8:00/mile pace (a pace I haven't touched in well over a year now!), my cadence was slightly higher, 92-94. 

So to answer part of your question: yes, it's possible to have a high cadence even when you run slow (and within whatever HR zone you want to be in).  In my examples above, I just wanted to note that my cadence changes only slightly between my steady, easy pace and my race pace. 

As for whether it's good for you or if you should start at 160, I don't know.  Honestly, though, I think having a foot pod to measure it is a much easier way than trying to count or trying to keep up with music.  That said, after I used my foot pod for a couple runs, I realized it was a somewhat unnecessary purchase for me, as I didn't want/need to change from my natural cadence.

2013-08-21 12:39 PM
in reply to: ligersandtions

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Subject: RE: running cadence in relation to your speed
Originally posted by ligersandtions

So to answer part of your question: yes, it's possible to have a high cadence even when you run slow (and within whatever HR zone you want to be in). 


Thanks for your reply. I'll have to look into the foot pod thing as well. My plan was just to listen to a metronome playback over my headphones for a few running sessions. That might drive me insane after about 5 minutes of it though.
2013-08-21 12:43 PM
in reply to: spiderjunior

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Subject: RE: running cadence in relation to your speed
Foot pod + Garmin = cadence & speed measurement, even on a treadmill.
2013-08-21 12:48 PM
in reply to: spiderjunior

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Subject: RE: running cadence in relation to your speed

This is JMO but I think you are worrying too much. You don't have the base mileage to "push yourself harder." From what I can see, you are running 5-10 miles a week. If you want to get faster you should stop worrying about cadence and cadence beats for an MP3 and get in more miles. "Run a lot. Mostly easy, sometimes hard."

Don't overthink it

2013-08-21 12:56 PM
in reply to: trishie

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Subject: RE: running cadence in relation to your speed
Originally posted by trishie

This is JMO but I think you are worrying too much. You don't have the base mileage to "push yourself harder." From what I can see, you are running 5-10 miles a week. If you want to get faster you should stop worrying about cadence and cadence beats for an MP3 and get in more miles. "Run a lot. Mostly easy, sometimes hard."

Don't overthink it




x2

You can do a few 'strides' a couple times a week where you run fast (not quite 'all out' sprint) for perhaps 100m. Focus on "light, quick feet" and relaxed upper body. That's the kind of 'form' work you should focus on for now. The "light, quick feet" cue can be used in your other runs too. That will naturally help you up your cadence a bit and, hopefully, keep you from overstriding (hard to be 'light' if you are hammering down with your leg out in front of your center-of-gravity).

Also, start your runs slower. You should aim to hold a fairly steady pace from start to finish, not slow down as you go to keep your HR in check.


2013-08-21 1:01 PM
in reply to: trishie

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Subject: RE: running cadence in relation to your speed
It sounds like you're trying to increase cadence without changing stride. With the increase of cadence, shorten stride. Concentrate on bending forward at the ankles and placing feet below-behind center of gravity, lifting heels, keeping spine long and straight. Essentially you monitor and change speed by increasing and decreasing your lean while keeping the same cadence. This increases and decreases your stride somewhat = speed change. Someone posted this previously, it's good advice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSGzqkjrWRA

It'll probably feel super awkward at first. Stick with it. Personally, improving form eliminated knee pain. I hope this helps.
2013-08-21 1:07 PM
in reply to: cgregg

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Subject: RE: running cadence in relation to your speed
Originally posted by cgregg

Foot pod + Garmin = cadence & speed measurement, even on a treadmill.

i need to get one of those....
2013-08-21 1:19 PM
in reply to: JohnnyKay

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Subject: RE: running cadence in relation to your speed
Originally posted by JohnnyKay

[ Focus on "light, quick feet" and relaxed upper body. That's the kind of 'form' work you should focus on for now. The "light, quick feet" cue can be used in your other runs too. That will naturally help you up your cadence a bit and, hopefully, keep you from overstriding (hard to be 'light' if you are hammering down with your leg out in front of your center-of-gravity).



I am a pretty high cadence runner and I visualize trying to get my feet off the ground as fast as possible. I want my feet to 'tap-tap-tap" on the ground as light as they can. It is hard to over-stride or have a slow cadence if you are concentrating on getting your feet back off of the ground asap.

I worked very hard at developing a high cadence, short stride, running style in response to a knee injury. It took a long time (think a year) for this to feel natural but it was well worth it. I am running faster than ever with essentially no knee pain with bone on bone in my right knee. I have also averaged between a low of 25 and a high of 65 miles/week, pretty much every week for the last five years. I would echo the 'run more!' sentiment of several other posters.
2013-08-21 1:19 PM
in reply to: Clempson

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Subject: RE: running cadence in relation to your speed
Originally posted by Clempson

Originally posted by cgregg

Foot pod + Garmin = cadence & speed measurement, even on a treadmill.

i need to get one of those....
I love having my cadence info right there on my Garmin. I have found that even with their calibration process, the distances don't really match with the treadmill distances. I'm sure there are multiple reasons for this, one of which being that treadmills aren't really all the accurate, and another that the Garmin foot pod won't notice the increase in angle depending on how the treadmill tilt is set. Regardless, I find it helpful to be able to take a quick glance to make sure my cadence is staying in line. I have noticed I tend to slow my cadence down a little further into my runs, both on the treadmill and outdoors.
2013-08-21 1:43 PM
in reply to: spiderjunior

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Subject: RE: running cadence in relation to your speed
IMO, there is no need to worry about cadence at this point.  Focus more on your biggest limiters to improving speed which are increasing your overall training load and losing any excess weight.  As mentioned above, you also may want to work on pacing your runs more evenly throughout rather than fading almost 2 minutes per mile from start to end.


2013-08-21 1:50 PM
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Subject: RE: running cadence in relation to your speed
Wow, great info everyone. thanks a bunch. Never a shortage of responses and suggestions when I post something here. Very helpful. A few people mentioned getting my miles up and that is exactly what I plan on doing right now. Just started training in January for triathlons and really had to dedicate serious time on learning to swim so that cut into my running big time. I have no more races planned so this is a fall / winter / spring training thing for myself to work on until next season. I definitely want to get quicker but realize I have to work on my form first and then the speed will come. I am mostly trying to stay healthy right now. If i can run a bit slower with a higher cadence it sounds like that is a good recipe for avoiding injuries. Thanks again for all the suggestions and feel free to keep them coming if you want.

Edited by spiderjunior 2013-08-21 1:50 PM
2013-08-21 2:57 PM
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Subject: RE: running cadence in relation to your speed
Recently, I started running with my wetronome Tempo Trainer set to 180 beeps per minute. Yes, it's hard to do 90 at slow paces (shorten your stride a lot), does it help you get more efficient and faster, absolutely. The first time that I worked with the TT, I could only do about 45 minutes at 180 beeps and keep consistant. A month later, I can do almost 2 hours, but then leg timing starts to fall off. The bad thing is that when you get tired, those beeps can drive you insane, and the good news is that it also permanently ingrains in your brain... beep, beep, beep the tempo and helps you during a race.



Edited by tomspharmacy 2013-08-21 2:57 PM
2013-08-21 5:04 PM
in reply to: spiderjunior

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Subject: RE: running cadence in relation to your speed

i've got a playlist of songs that are at 180bpm  (hard to find, but jog.fm is a good source).

I run to the music at 180 bpm, regardless of how fast I'm running.  180bpm is a 6min/mi or a 10min/mi.  or anywhere in between.

2013-08-21 6:48 PM
in reply to: morey000

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Subject: RE: running cadence in relation to your speed
Seiko makes a clip on metronome that I started using this year and have really enjoyed it. My long runs are usually around 170 (85 on the metronome) bpm. Shorter runs sometimes make it to 89. I've not yet given the time to breaking the 90 barrier. My sweet spot is 85. I actually love the beeping. It gives me a rhythm I find relaxing.

http://www.amazon.com/Seiko-DM50S-Digital-Metronome-Silver/dp/B0007...
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