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Running Cadence Debate... Ready, set, go! (Read 1039 times)

    May have been repeated by me, but I thought it pertinent since height was being discussed in this thread.  Wink

     

     

    Sorry, I repeated the comment that Ilene made... Both of your comments were funny!

    HCH


      Interesting thread!

       

      A few weeks ago, one of the coaches in my running group mentioned that he noticed my turnover was very slow and that it might be something I should work on over the off season. So I counted my footstrikes on my next run. Starting out at a warm-up ~11:00 mpm pace, my cadence was 160. Settling into my LSD pace (10:00 mpm), my cadence was 160. Speeding up a bit to a 9:00 mpm, my cadence was 160. Picking it up to an 8:00 mpm (roughly my 5k pace), my cadence was...162. I was floored. No way would I have guessed that my turnover was the same at an easy jog and my 5k pace.

       

      I've been trying to pick up my turnover on some of my easy runs the past few weeks, and honestly I am finding it very difficult. I can tell that I land and push off on the fore-foot instead of mid-foot, but it feels like I'm working much harder at the same pace. Has anyone else had this experience? If it's more efficient, why does it feel so much harder? Will it get easier with practice?

       

      I'm old. I'm slow. Of course I'd like to be faster but more than anything I just want to be able to run and be active without injuries. Maybe I shouldn't be tinkering with things at this point in my running career??

      - Holly

        The quality of Magness' posts is a bit erratic, but I thought the one that was linked on the first page of this thread was really good.

         

        Pace is a simple function of stride rate and stride length. There's only two ways to get faster -- pick up your cadence, or increase your stride length. So, it makes sense to work a bit on your cadence. Length of stride has almost nothing to do with leg length and pretty much everything to do with leg power.

         

        Counting strides and increasing turnover is a good thing to play with. I remember Mikey describing paying attention to stride as "ninja running," -- working on smoothing it out and making it efficient. Sometimes I play with the idea of making my legs into a wheel, striking quickly and rolling through with the absolute minimum of effort. Does this stuff work or is it just a game that we play while we are bored?

         

        This is also a hidden benefit of doing regular strides before workouts or after easy runs--developing a quick and light stride.

         

        Another thing you can and should do is listen to yourself running. Do you make a lot of noise? That noise is energy. 

         

        Finally, as others have mentioned, having a quick and graceful stride is more a consequence of being well trained than a cause of running well. My high school kids come in every summer with awful form but by October, they look like runners. Why? Well, we do some standard drills, but mainly it's because they've been practicing running!

          I think Ninja Running was someone else. My thing was Stealth Mode. I try to run silently. When I do this I am not specifically trying to run with a fast cadence but one of the things that happens when you try to run silently is you have to have a fast turnover, even at easy paces.

           

          I still do this from time to time, usually the day after a long run or workout.

          Runners run.


          Needs more cowbell!

            I don't think I have fast cadence (I always think my stride rate is sort of on the slow side, but I've never counted or worn a foot pod thingie to know for sure), but I am forever sneaking up on people, it seems.  Maybe a week ago I was running near dusk and as I approached a guy walking from behind I called out to him to let him know I was there.  I seem to startle people regardless of whether or not I give them a heads-up.  Some shoes seem to be difficult to run quietly in (the ones that seem to be more durable), but my kid and I are in the same shoe and people can hear him coming for blocks (slap smack slap smack).

            I shoot pretty things! ~

            '14 Goals:

            • 6 duathlons (1 Olympic distance)

            • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)


            I've got a fever...

              Vertical motion when running, beyond the minimum necessary, represents inefficiency.  How much vertical displacement you have will be a function of stride rate and how fast you are moving...it has less to do with how tall you are.  If you use too low of a stride rate you will need more "hang time", requiring greater vertical displacement, to get to your next footfall.  So you will be less efficient and have a tendency to over-stride as a result (perhaps more heel striking).  

               Well put.  

               

              This is something you can readily observe on a treadmill if you keep the pace constant and intentionally vary your cadence.  As your cadence slows, you will notice an increase in hangtime.  More hangtime means more pounding -- each footstrike on the treadmill will be harder (and louder) than your footstrike at the higher cadence.  Increase your cadence, and the pounding /  loud running disappears as the stride becomes more efficient.

               

              In my opinion, this is the dirty little secret about barefoot running.  No one would last very long running barefoot with a long, slow, heel-striking stride; you can get away with that while shod because of the heel protection afforded by shoes.  Running barefoot forces most people to run at a higher cadence to reduce the pounding -- it just so happens that the higher cadence is more efficient, so people associate efficiency improvements with barefoot running, when really all they had to do was keep their shoes on and increase their cadence.

               

              As for the magic 180, I've always maintained that the number itself shouldn't be taken religiously  Elite athletes warm up at paces that are faster than a lot of hobby joggers race at -- as Sam Jackson said in Pulp Fiction, "ain't the same ballpark, ain't the same league, ain't even the same f*****g sport!" 

               

              The point is that runners need to find the cadence that is most comfortable and efficient for them at the paces they run -- a cadence that reduces pounding, hangtime, and overstrding.  180 may not be the magic number for everyone, but it does turn out that for a lot of runners, it's a higher cadence than they're using now. 

              On your deathbed, you won't wish that you'd spent more time at the office.  But you will wish that you'd spent more time running.  Because if you had, you wouldn't be on your deathbed.


              Feeling the growl again

                My high school kids come in every summer with awful form but by October, they look like runners. Why? Well, we do some standard drills, but mainly it's because they've been practicing running!

                 

                Back in the day, I found running some 100 mile weeks I was not really ready for to be a great way to create lasting form changes with little thought.  When your body is being pushed and is tired, it finds ways to become more efficient and ease the pounding.

                 

                And ditto the other post's comment on what barefoot running contributes to this.

                "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                 

                  A few weeks ago, one of the coaches in my running group mentioned that he noticed my turnover was very slow and that it might be something I should work on over the off season. So I counted my footstrikes on my next run. Starting out at a warm-up ~11:00 mpm pace, my cadence was 160. Settling into my LSD pace (10:00 mpm), my cadence was 160. Speeding up a bit to a 9:00 mpm, my cadence was 160. Picking it up to an 8:00 mpm (roughly my 5k pace), my cadence was...162. I was floored. No way would I have guessed that my turnover was the same at an easy jog and my 5k pace.

                   

                  I've been trying to pick up my turnover on some of my easy runs the past few weeks, and honestly I am finding it very difficult. I can tell that I land and push off on the fore-foot instead of mid-foot, but it feels like I'm working much harder at the same pace. Has anyone else had this experience? If it's more efficient, why does it feel so much harder? Will it get easier with practice?

                  Like form, I don't like to manipulate cadence by "thinking" about it.  My usual cadence seems to be 168-172.  I've tried to see how 180 feels like and it felt crazy fast.  But as I sharpen (later in the program) and start doing more leg-speed work, my cadence goes up naturally.  Just like everything else, it's a learnt skill and you need to work on it, not to think about it.  Anything you try to do unnaturally, you'll be creating some other stress somewhere else.  I've found downhill striding to be one of the best form of leg-speed workout.  Of course, to me, there's no point of improving your cadence 5 months before the target race (within reason, that is...).  

                   

                  I'm old. I'm slow. Of course I'd like to be faster but more than anything I just want to be able to run and be active without injuries. Maybe I shouldn't be tinkering with things at this point in my running career??

                  Don't you EVER say that!  "I'm old...", okay, we can't beat that!! ;o)  More and more, I'm realizing that for sure!!  But "I'm slow"?  It's rather "I've never worked on my speed..."  In fact, the older we get, the more we should work on it.  Of course, just increasing your cadence to 180 won't cut it; you'll have to have a systematic approach to improve one piece at a time.  I've found hill training, or simply running up and down rugged nature preserve area to be one of the best ways to stay supple and improve speed; both stride length AND stride frequency.  

                  HCH


                    Just like everything else, it's a learnt skill and you need to work on it, not to think about it.  Anything you try to do unnaturally, you'll be creating some other stress somewhere else.  I've found downhill striding to be one of the best form of leg-speed workout.  

                     

                     

                    That's kind of been my intuition as I've been trying to play around with my turnover the last couple of weeks. It's felt like "Hmm, this feels different. Maybe I better not be doing this." My good fortune in staying healthy seems to have run out, and I've had a lot of injuries over the last year and spent 10 weeks on the bench. Suddenly my pace isn't nearly as important as staying healthy.

                     

                    That said, my turnover is objectively slow. Maybe it's because of the injuries or, more likely, it's a root cause of my injuries. I probably would benefit from a more structured approach to my training. Know any good coaches in the Twin Cities?Wink

                    - Holly

                    HCH


                      Just stumbled across this in Running Times this month. I found it to be a helpful summary.

                       

                      http://runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=27045&cm_mmc=RT-_-1070438-_-10152012-_-CadenceDebate&PageNum=1

                      - Holly

                        Just stumbled across this in Running Times this month. I found it to be a helpful summary.

                         

                        http://runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=27045&cm_mmc=RT-_-1070438-_-10152012-_-CadenceDebate&PageNum=1

                        A good article, Holly.  But yeah, nothing new.  Let me go off tangent first.  Have you seen "Matrix", the first one?  In that movie, one of the first cool scene was when those Neo and Morpheus did a jujitsu fight.  Remember when Neo ran up the pole and jump high in the air...and Morpheus is watching him and, as soon as Neo landed, gave the a$$ kicking, well, kick in his stomach?  Being in the air is not a good place to be.  Basically, you can't do anything.  In running, you generate POWER when your foot is hitting the ground.  You watch most of the tightly fought race; it's USUALLY (not always) won by the guy whose turn-over is quicker.  If you watch the final 50m of Sydney Olympic 10000m...Geb, although his form was falling apart, you could tell his turn-over was quicker than that of Tergat.  It sort of a counter intuition--you would think you want to lengthen your strides if you want to speed up. Of course, if you're Usain Bolt to maintain 10-foot stride and still move your legs fast, you actually want to "generate power" by hitting the ground more often.  

                         

                        Now that being said, again, as anything else, quicker leg turn-over is a learnt skill.  It's actually a nerve thing; you need to teach your nerve ending to fire up more often and you'll need to practice it.  We do a workout called "Leg-Speed" where we run 100-150m by turning our legs as fast as we can--not concerning the stride length.  This is actually best performed on a slight downhill or with the wind on your back.  You do this once or twice a week and your leg turn-over will quicken very quickly.  Again, you'll need to think about WHEN you want to do this.  No point trying to do this when you're building up aerobic base mileage in the dead of MN winter (unless you're racing indoor in 2 weeks).  As long as you're NOT loping, you're fine.

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