General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Run cadence questions. Rss Feed  
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2013-12-28 11:52 AM

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Subject: Run cadence questions.
I've been running for the last two years or so pretty consistently, after having a off and on again relationship due to a few medial meniscus problems. Since I've gotten orthotics however those problems seem to have gone by the way side. I have had a few other smaller things like ITBS over the past two years but they have cleared up pretty quickly with some rest and a trip or two to see my physio. For Christmas I received a foot pod to go with my 910. Having always heard that you should strive for a run cadence of around 90, I was interested to see mine as I guessed I was a little bit less. I'm 6'2", 210(I usually race around 200-205). My 10k time is 46:20, half is 1:46:30. Usually run around 20 miles a week when not building up to a longer race. As I expected my cadence for my easy runs(5:35/km) is 84-85 and for tempo runs(4:45km) is 86-87. I tried a few times to get my run cadence up to 90 but I don't think I even got there. It really felt like I had to shuffle to get this cadence and seemed like more work then normal at a given pace. Just wondering from any of the seasoned runners, or runners who have increased their run cadence how they did it, and does the same cadence work for everyone of different sizes?


2013-12-28 12:01 PM
in reply to: BigDaddyD79

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Subject: RE: Run cadence questions.

I just run with what feels quick & light on my feet at the time.

2013-12-28 12:16 PM
in reply to: BigDaddyD79

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Subject: RE: Run cadence questions.
I am 6’ and was mainly running strides at around 170-180spm (85-90). I increased my spm to 190spm (95) to get away from the striding. It worked but as you said, it was like a fast shuffle. It felt unnatural but I was able to adjust over a month or so.

Today I wanted to split my run from at 180spm (90) then slow down so I had to set my runners metronome all the way down to 160spm (80). It worked well for me. One thing that didn’t work well fro me is having the beeps set at 80 so that one arm is timed. I need both arms timed so I set it to 160 beeps per minute to get a lower cadence.

The other thing you are tall 2” over me I would say going high spm is going to require more focus. It may be just too unnatural. I think cadence is very different in running styles and persons size. Maybe I am unclear why you want to change?




BrotherTri’s - Triathlon Training Support Group
2013-12-28 12:54 PM
in reply to: BigDaddyD79

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Subject: RE: Run cadence questions.
As long as you are not way overstriding I wouldn't worry too much about your self selected run cadence. You are fairly close to 90 already. When you are running concentrate on quick strides and holding form. You'll find yourself running quicker and less effort and your cadence will take care of itself.
2013-12-28 1:45 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Run cadence questions.
Originally posted by BigDaddyD79

I've been running for the last two years or so pretty consistently, after having a off and on again relationship due to a few medial meniscus problems. Since I've gotten orthotics however those problems seem to have gone by the way side. I have had a few other smaller things like ITBS over the past two years but they have cleared up pretty quickly with some rest and a trip or two to see my physio. For Christmas I received a foot pod to go with my 910. Having always heard that you should strive for a run cadence of around 90, I was interested to see mine as I guessed I was a little bit less. I'm 6'2", 210(I usually race around 200-205). My 10k time is 46:20, half is 1:46:30. Usually run around 20 miles a week when not building up to a longer race. As I expected my cadence for my easy runs(5:35/km) is 84-85 and for tempo runs(4:45km) is 86-87. I tried a few times to get my run cadence up to 90 but I don't think I even got there. It really felt like I had to shuffle to get this cadence and seemed like more work then normal at a given pace. Just wondering from any of the seasoned runners, or runners who have increased their run cadence how they did it, and does the same cadence work for everyone of different sizes?


I would totally agree with the premise that 'optimal cadence' varies from runner to runner. I would say that a newer runner, like yourself, with only a few years of experience and a relatively low weekly mileage, would do best to work on all aspects of running.
(I do not think there is data regarding taller vs shorter, but there is lots of data proving that optimal weight will help with speed/v02max/LT.)

Improving all aspects of running would include attempting a higher cadence. I'm sure others will weigh in on the fact that you cannot know what your 'optimal cadence' is so just run naturally.

I would argue that there are at least 3 reasons that one should strive for a fast cadence (~180 steps/minute )when running easy pace.

1)Less injury risk. A faster cadence means there is more ground contact time and less landing shock. Several studies have shown less vertical oscillation. There is also far less likelihood of overstriding. With less injury risk, newer runners will be able to progress and push up mileage without being on the sidelines, unable to train, with an injury. Consistency is a key to success in the long term. My orthopedic friends are convinced that the reason there are so many stress fractures is that newer runners push up mileage too quickly and are not 'quick and light' enough on their feet.

2)Neuromuscular entrainment. A faster cadence is closer to what we race with and allows quicker recruitment of muscle fibers when going fast. The training occurs at slower speeds, with faster cadence, will payoff at race pace.

3)Improved running economy. This is partly because of the neuromuscular reasons above, but also because of other illdefined reasons. Some of this is likely just from putting in more mileage. And with higher mileage, there is increased injury risk for the future. We also tend to improve the sloppiness in our form when running faster. There is less arm swinging, less head bobbing. There is less wasted energy.

I think Daniel's described it best (and was one of the first-although Ben was quick to agree)-optimal turnover is 'quick and light' on your feet. This needs to be practiced. Base training is a good time to ramp up the mileage and do lots of drills=skips/fast feet/high knees/butt flicks. All of this form work helps, but building the mileage up will help you find your optimal cadence.

And do strides year-round during one or two runs each week. Strides are done by slowly picking up the speed and quickening up the speed. You naturally extend your stride and pick up the pace. This is one very natural way to help with running economy. Practice a natural lean also, just slightly falling forward and using gravity to move your center of gravity forward just a little bit. Be relaxed and fluid. Try to minimize excessive arm movement.

But, until you get there in overall mileage, practice 'quick and light' at 180 steps/minute. You will have to slow down the pace to be able to hold this faster cadence for a while. Running with uptempo songs helps, but when doing drills, focus on doing them perfectly, so pause the music.

You've had nice improvements in your race times. From 51min 10K to 46:26 this year. Well done. That is substantial improvement-you increased your vdot from 39 to ~44. Get Daniel's book and read it. Learn drills/strides/reps/training paces.

Join us!
100Mile Run Challenge in January!

Edited by dtoce 2013-12-28 2:08 PM
2013-12-28 2:06 PM
in reply to: dtoce

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Subject: RE: Run cadence questions.

I tried pushing my pace up from mid to high 80's (where you are) to 90 about a year and a half ago.  Felt really odd at first, especially at the lower speeds, to add just those few footsteps - which frankly surprised me.

What I learned, however, was how to run more efficiently (or, as said above, economically).  My stride looks a bit different than it did - not wholesale changes, just more "athletic/balanced/powerful" even though I was taking smaller steps (same pace, higher spm).

Fast forward another year.  Now my spm is around 90 even for slow runs and will go as high as 95 or more in a race (where I both lengthen the stride and pick up my turnover a little).  My form is much better for it…  

If you want to avoid the shuffly feeling, try the higher cadence on a bit of an incline.  I first "got it" when I tried the faster cadence up a hill (hills have a remarkable way of making you run with good form - at least for me!).

Yes, it's just part of the total package and NOT a magical fix that will shave a minute a mile off your time.  However, again as nicely said above, it is a part of getting better at running.  I suspect that 90 isn't perfect for everyone (no surprise there), but if you try a faster cadence and then race after working on it for a while, you will likely get a good sense of your optimal rate.  Prolly close to 90, and you might be at a lower optimal cadence than I (I have reeeeeeally short legs - not sure if that translates directly, but seems it must have some effect), but I guess it's higher than mid-80's.

Only way to know is to try…  Good luck and enjoy the ride!  Let us know how it goes (or if it goes).  

Matt



2013-12-28 5:39 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Run cadence questions.
I have the same issues. My HR increased when I try to get my cadence to 180/90. It's sort of off putting but I do seem to have less joint pains over the last month but that could be because my training is pretty sporadic. I know the foot pod isn't 100% accurate. I've been doing my training on the treadmill by trying to hit 15 right steps every 10 seconds. I have a good feel on what 180 feels like now so I can take that with me outside. One thing that helped me when trying to up my cadence is worry about my arms and not legs. I tried to increase cadence with faster leg turn over but I always slowed down naturally unless I really concentrated the entire run. Instead I concentrated on my arm speed/cadence. If I have a faster arm turn over, my legs just naturally followed the faster rate without having to think about it.

Edited by Blastman 2013-12-28 5:41 PM
2013-12-29 3:58 PM
in reply to: Blastman

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Subject: RE: Run cadence questions.

Originally posted by Blastman I have the same issues. My HR increased when I try to get my cadence to 180/90. It's sort of off putting but I do seem to have less joint pains over the last month but that could be because my training is pretty sporadic. I know the foot pod isn't 100% accurate. I've been doing my training on the treadmill by trying to hit 15 right steps every 10 seconds. I have a good feel on what 180 feels like now so I can take that with me outside. One thing that helped me when trying to up my cadence is worry about my arms and not legs. I tried to increase cadence with faster leg turn over but I always slowed down naturally unless I really concentrated the entire run. Instead I concentrated on my arm speed/cadence. If I have a faster arm turn over, my legs just naturally followed the faster rate without having to think about it.

This is great advice and not often said, but it really works.

Arms drive the cadence if you're trying to up it.

Matt

2013-12-29 4:29 PM
in reply to: mcmanusclan5

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Subject: RE: Run cadence questions.

Drill more.

 

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