Frequently when working with runners to improve their running efficiency, one of the main considerations is to reduce impact and braking forces on foot strike, by reducing the tendency to over-stride (land the foot too far ahead of the centre of mass).
One of the most simple and highly effective ways to achieve this is to increase running cadence at a given pace.
Running Cadence Range
I often refer to a runner’s cadence range. This refers to the natural differences shown in running cadence of an individual’s running style at an easy pace compared to a tempo pace, compared to their short interval pace (400m reps, for example).
As discussed in a previous article on running cadence, the “magic number” approach of striving to hit 180-184 strides per minute, regardless of running pace is fundamentally flawed when applied to the distance running masses: A runner will naturally run with a slightly slower rate of cadence when running slow compared to when running at a faster pace.
This is shown on the graphically represented example below.
The key to improving efficiency through manipulating cadence is to shift the cadence range to the right by initially increasing it by 5%.
The “Easy Pace” cadence, previously 164spm will become 172spm, while the “Hard Pace” changes from 176spm to 184spm.
All of which will result in less over-striding at a given pace, compared to the lower cadence version of the same pace.