Running Cadence testing at StrideUK
Metronome / Cadence running
From 5k to a marathon, efficient elite runners share a strikingly common cadence of 180 steps per minute (stride rate - 90). Elite runners typically find their ideal stride rate after years of running, adaptation and subconscious experimentation. So how can we skip running thousands of miles to run more like the elite?
It was the legendary running coach Jack Daniels, who spotted this remarkable uniformity at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games by actually counting the number of steps that Olympian runners from 800m to the Marathon typically took while competing, based on a 1 minute split. All of them, male or female, short or tall, took between 180 and 200 steps per minute, with the higher cadence recorded at the lower end of the distance range. No runner, after all, was ever told, or ever consciously attempted, to take between 180 and 200 steps per minute, and yet here were the best distance runners in the world, all turning over more or less in sync. more info...
StrideUK completely support the evidence behind cadence running, and believe that launching our running cadence testing service has come at such a great time whilst there is so much conflicting information regarding ultimate, efficient and injury free running styles.
'To consciously change a running style or plant your foot in any way different from what you usually do can result in new painful conditions and injuries occurring. If you were to improve Cadence in a controlled environment over a sustained period of time, good running technique and performance improve as a natural outcome'.
Think of Cadence as the RPM (revolutions per minute) in a car. The Speed of the car is a separate entity. However, the difference that separates cars RPM and our RPM (Cadence) is that a car performs better with low RPM, we perform better with high RPM! Let us explain:
Lower cadence runners (slow RPM) tend to have a longer stride length and rely on a cushioned heel of a running shoe to absorb heel strike contact.
Higher cadence runners (high RPM) tend to have a shorter stride length and wear smaller / lighter / racing flats as their initial contact is far likely to be more mid / forefoot.
Can you see a pattern emerging here?
'Once the cadence is sorted, the footware and running technique tend to all come together... naturally'.
Test your own Running Cadence
Time yourself with a stopwatch for a 1 minute split. Count how many steps you take within that minute. Always count just the left or the right foot landing as it's so easy to lose count. This number will be your Cadence (usually anything between 60 to 90). Doubling this figure will give you your steps per minute (usually anything between 120 to 190). You can always test this a few times, but you will find that your results are not likely to change that much, even if you pick up the speed.
Once you have this information, visit our free stuff and downloads page to download a free StrideUK Cadence Testing chart to compare the results.
Running with a metronome
You can buy metronomes very cheaply on amazon or ebay, just clip them on to you sleeve or jacket and enter in the cadence you wish to run to. This metronome will emit a 'short beep' to prompt you cadence efficiency every step you take.
We would however like to point out one very important consideration when running with a metronome...
1. Don't always expect a good reaction from other runners (especially on race day) when wearing your trusted metronome whilst it persistently beeps away every bleepin step you take. This constant repetitive 'beep' can be enough for someone to throw a running gel block or drinks bottle at you!
You don't need to run with a metronome to measure the 180 beats per minute (BPM) tempo. The right songs do the counting for you. Also when looking for 180 bpm, you won't find a choice of many 'allegrissimo' songs, unless you've got a soft spot for Jungle and Drum&Bass. If however you look for around 90 bpm with a strong melody or beat, you can do cadence drills doubling on the beat, whilst enjoying some great tracks.
Please note: Cadence drills do not have to be strictly 180 or 90bpm, especially if you cadence was quite low at test. We're strong advocates of following a 10% increase rule. Increasing your cadence at 10% every few weeks isn't likely to create too much of a 'conscious' strain on the body, therefore unlikely to cause vulnerability to injury. Remember, we're trying to improve your performance, not injure you!
USE iTUNES TO IDENTIFY YOUR HIGH CADENCE TRACKS.
If you have iTunes, you may notice you have a view option for BPMs. This field however offers no means to automatically populate it. To allow you to fill it in, you need to use a 3rd party BPM detection program such as Beatunes:
Beatunes operates automatically and is designed to work seamlessly with iTunes. We have tried it and it works perfectly. Beatunes offers a 14 day free trial, it will update your itunes instantly which means your absolutely ready to go.