4. High Cadence 165+

4. High Cadence 165+

I analyzed elite & rarely injured runners running at normal human speeds and found that cadence varies with pace. The old recommendation of 180+ is inefficient & difficult at slower speeds and is only applicable for most at speeds of faster than 7 minute per mile pace. While elite & rarely injured runners generally do not run 180+ at slower speeds, they rarely if ever drop below 165 steps per minute. Research has shown that the average runner can reduce all forces on their joints by 20% by simply increasing their cadence by 10 steps per minute. Below is what I found and recommend for cadence based on your pace.

  • 165+ steps/minute: 10 min/mile and slower
  • 170+: steps/minute: 9 min/mile pace
  • 175+: 8 min/mile pace
  • 180+: 7 min/mile pace and faster

I recommend downloading a free metronome app to your phone (I use Pro Metronome) and running to the corresponding beat.
You can also use a watch and do a “cadence check” by counting how many times your right leg hits the ground in 20 seconds. Shoot for 28 (which is 162 steps/min) to 30 (180 steps per minute).
if all else fails, grab the metronome off your piano, set it to the right tempo, take it for a spin and run to the beat 😉

Zero Drop shoes will naturally improve cadence, as will less cushioned shoes. It’s difficult to learn proper high cadence with a highly cushioned shoe with a traditional 10-12mm of heel elevation (drop).

Note: After years of teaching and testing, I believe the easiest way to improve cadence is by using the FloatRun Harness


One comment

  1. In fact, that is pretty obvious by just watching at a maximum aerobic speed test gpx record that the cadence is speed related, Anyone can check that by itself with the proper tools (gps watch+ podometer for exemple).

    In fact it was reported more than 20 years ago (I remember having read that before even been 18 years old) and was even in podometer’s calculation for centuries.

    Cadence is a consequence, not a cause.
    Trying to change it artificially may lead to some successfull testing, But may also lead to regression or wasted time, if not injury, doing things unnaturaly.

    Moreover, the body stress gain mesured in each stride has to be put into perspective of increasing the number of stride for the same distance to get the right information : what matters is total body stress over a given same distance.


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