Do you have pain with running? Or have you experienced an overuse injury due to running in the past? Before you go about changing your running form or throwing in the towel altogether, you should look at something called your cadence.
What is cadence? The total number of steps you take per minute.
Believe it or not the optimal running cadence is between 170-180 steps per minute! Each beat on this metronome would correspond to when your foot hits the pavement if you ran at a cadence of 180. Many people do not run with a cadence of this speed or even knew it was an important thing to consider.
What’s So Important About Cadence?
Why would you want to change your cadence? The more steps you take per minute, the less load your muscles and joints absorb. A decreased load means your body doesn’t have to work as hard and can tolerate running better!
How do you figure out your cadence? Once you are warmed up and at a steady pace in your run, time yourself for one minute and count your steps. If you find yourself much lower than 170-180, don’t worry. Increasing your steps per minute by just 5-10%, will still decrease the load on your muscles and joints quite a bit! This change is usually enough for you to notice a difference and allow your body to tolerate the workout better.
How Can I Improve Cadence with Running?
What’s the easiest way to implement your new cadence? The easiest way to hit your target cadence is to download a metronome app or a YouTube metronome video with the rate you are looking for, and listen to it while you are running. Each step should occur with each metronome beat. Once you have an idea of what this cadence should be like, you can also find Spotify playlists with tempos that match specific beats per minute / steps per minute.
It will take time to make the adjustment, be patient with yourself. You got this!