2 Easy ways to improve your running cadence
Running cadence is a topic that comes very often in running conversations, for good reasons! Having a optimal cadence allows you to run more efficiently, use less power and less oxygen.
If you want to know more about the benefits of improved cadence, you can read about the research done: HERE
Improving your running cadence is often about reaching the higher cadence of about 180spm (strides per minute). Most beginner runners tend to run at a cadence of more or less 160spm while experienced runners tend to run at a higher rate of 170 - 180spm.
Do Drills: Once or twice each week
Running Drills are dynamic exercises that help to ingrain proper movement patterns into your muscle memory. Once ingrained, these movements become automatic.
Do your drills on a smooth an flat surface, over 20-50m and walk back to your starting point. Start by doing 2 reps of each drill and build to 4 or 5 reps over the weeks.
- Butt Kicks: helps to improve cadence and improve quadriceps and hip flexor flexibility. Video
- A skip Drills: reinforces midfoot landing and helps to improve cadence and coordination. Video
- Fast Feet: helps to improve your cadence while emphasising proper foot placement and short ground contact time. Video
- High knees: help to reinforce midfoot landing, improve cadence and hamstring flexibility. Video
Some of the drills are visible in this video:
Use a Metronome:
This is not the most exciting approach but it is very effective! During any of your runs (easy runs AND interval sets), set a metronome sound or a drum beat in your headphones and aim at hitting the target cadence.
How to do it:
At the start of your run allow yourself time to warm up at your usual cadence, then follow the metronome for 5 to 10 minutes. Towards the end of your run add another 5 to 10 min using the metronome.
Start by setting the tempo at your usual cadence + 2bpm then Increase tempo by 2 bpm each week, and only increase it if you manage to hit the target comfortably!