The Melbourne Marathon is almost here, and longer training runs will be happening for those competing. If you are competing or an avid runner, knowing the finer details and the biomechanics of running can be an asset. You may have come across the terms such as cadence and overstriding. If you are repetitively injuring yourself or simply wanting to improve your form, you may find the below information valuable.
Overstriding occurs when the foot makes contact with the ground while the knee is extended. When the knee and leg are straightened, the foot’s heel will be the first point of contact to the ground. This increases the load and impact through the body and, as a result, slows the runner down.
Cadence is the total number of times both feet contact the ground per minute, basically steps per minute. There is no universal figure of cadence or no stride rate everyone should aim for. Many things will contribute to the cadence total, such as running experience, speed, biomechanics, leg length, and strength. Google will say 180 steps per minute is the best and most ideal running cadence. If your Eliud Kipchoge, this is pretty accurate, but it might not be the case for a weekend warrior.
The easiest way to measure your cadence is to use a watch-based app such as Garmin or Nike Run Club. This will automatically calculate your cadence while running, allowing you to figure out where you sit. If your cadence is too low, you may be overstriding, resulting in injuries and joint issues.
A higher cadence is said to reduce the risk of injury, although you want to make any adjustments gradually. While increasing your cadence, you may want to stick to your usual training route and ensure that you run flat, even terrain. You will need to complete several cadence focused running sessions to ingrain any changes.
4 Top Tips to Increase cadence
- Focus your attention on picking your foot up, not putting it down.
- Shorten your stride by landing with your foot beneath you, not straight out in front (see image). This facilitates a higher cadence and prevents overstriding.
- Think fast and light.
- If you want to get serious, using a metronome app for pacing your steps is helpful. Start by setting it between 170-180 and perform some drills on the spot before heading out for your run. This will instil a faster rhythm and gradually increase your cadence.
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