Frequently when working with athletes to improve 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 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
We often refer to an athlete’s cadence range. This refers to the natural differences shown in running cadence of an individual’s gait at an easy pace compared to a hard pace.
As discussed in a previous blog post, the “magic number” approach of striving to hit 90-92 strides per minute, regardless of running pace is fundamentally flawed when applied to endurance running: A runner will naturally run with a slightly slower rate of cadence when running “easy” compared to when running at a “hard” 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 82spm will become 86spm, while the “Hard Pace” changes from 88spm to 92spm.
All of which will result in less over striding at a given pace, compared to the lower cadence version of the same pace.