Do you know what run cadence means? More than likely your answer will be no, but it’s actually a very simple concept.
run cadence = the steps you take per minute
Altering run cadence can yield positive results related to the treatment of common overuse injuries in the knee, ankle, and foot.
Reason #1: Saving the Knee
Your cadence can have a huge impact on your joints, especially your knees. The knee is often marked as having many issues from limitations at the hip or ankle to strength or biochemical deficits. While injuries to the ankle and foot need the guidance of a professional who knows how to assess, changing your cadence can be done on your own. You can do so by increasing your step rate by 5% leads to a 20% reduction in energy absorption at the knee. In many cases, this change alone has yielded incredible results in clients with a history of “cranky” knees and other knee overuse injuries.
Reason #2: Saving the Ankle
I often work with runners who have limited dorsiflexion and in return attempt to move around or compensate which is demonstrated in the video below.
When running, there is a higher demand for ankle dorsiflexion in the midstance phase with individuals that maintain a slower cadence compared to those with a quicker one. This leads to an increased loading of the achilles which will likely increase stress or strain and this is in runners that have adequate dorsiflexion to begin with. Limited dorsiflexion and a slower cadence = increased trouble.
Reason #3: Saving the Foot
Increasing your cadence is also linked to have possibly benefits with overuse injuries associated with elevated plantar loading of the foot. This includes plantar fasciitis, which many runners suffer from at one time or another.
What Cadence am I Aiming For?
While this will differ from person to person, ideally we should aim for over 175 steps per minute. Records are set from 176-210. If your step rate is significantly lower than 175 steps per minute, work on increasing it 5% at a time. This will allow you to handle the new transition easier.
If an effective step rate is closer to the ideal number of 175, we can work on improving the rate to 10% at a time. A 10% jump will not increase oxygen usage or elevate your heart rate which will make you more effective without exerting any more energy.
For more information on cadence take a look at this video.
Great Information, Brandon,
,but How Can I Change My Cadence?
This is where things get tricky. I see many coaches cueing their runners to “just take shorter steps” but unfortunately, that just doesn’t work. While it may create a temporary change, the runner usually resorts back to the cadence they are used to. This is where gait re-training needs to occur.
Over the past few years, I’ve been fortunate to learn from some incredible people in all different fields of performance, nutrition, rehab & recovery, and strength training for runners. Christopher Johnson of Zeren PT & Performance has been a great influence on my success with runners and I’m excited to announce the release of his new app, RunCadence.
RunCadence has two different features:
This is where you will learn how many steps you are taking. Trust me. Running at a moderate pace while trying to count your steps by yourself is harder than trying to parallel park an SUV in NYC during rush hour!
Setting your cadence will give you feedback so you know what to aim for during your training run. It beats to a metronome, so you’ll know your step rate before the run starts.
If you need more help with consistency of your step rate you can easily hop on the treadmill and the speed and incline gradient will remain the same. This will allow you to know how the new step rate feels under different fatigue levels.
Once the run has started, you’ll be able to track current cadence, total time elapsed, and current mileage. At the end of the run, you will be given your finishing time, mileage, and average cadence.
This app has been out for about a month and since starting it I have noticed significant changes in both my own running as well as that of my clients. At just $2.99 it’s a must-have for every runner.
Running for Fat Loss
Running has great potential to be an effective tool for successful body transformation, one in which I have loved my entire life. Unfortunately many runners suffer from chronic injuries and a discouraging lack of progress. This is where I come in. I want to teach you everything that you need to be successful. I can help you by creating a plan to meet your specific needs.
- Proper shoe selection
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