10 things you have to know about cadence to avoid injury and improve efficiency
Cadence is Simple.
Here we answer ten questions most people ask about the running buzzword that tends to cause a lot of confusion.
1. “So what’s cadence again?”
The measurement of how often your foot hits the ground while you’re running. It’s determined in steps per minute. Runners pay special attention to cadence because it indicates on how efficiently they are running. Optimal running technique translates directly to better times and fewer injuries. It’s a pretty straightforward concept with enormous benefits that often goes overlooked by beginning runners. If you just started running, and it feels like you’re slogging through quicksand, it’s probably because your cadence is too low!
2. “And what determines cadence?”
Fitness level, height, weight, and running pace. Simple as that!
3. “What’s the downside to a lower cadence?”
If you have a low cadence, you likely also have a longer stride. If you overstride, you likely lock your knees and hit your heels into the ground on every step. This not only slows you down, but creates a choppy, bouncy gait (gait is your manner of walking or running), and puts extra pressure on joints, making you more susceptible to injury. It feels sloppy and terrible because, well, it is!
4. “What’s the upside to a higher cadence?”
When you increase your cadence, you limit the force with which your body hits the ground. If you have a low cadence, you’re spending more time up in the in air displacing your body mass so you hit the ground much harder than if you had a high cadence. The more steps you take per minute, the less time you spend in the air, equaling a softer impact on landing.
5. “Wait, does cadence really prevent injuries?”
Yep!! 56% of recreational runners sustain a running-related injury each year. 50% of all running-related injuries occur at the knee, most often due to incorrect form. Essentially, form makes a huge difference! Luckily, it’s easy to change simply by running in sync to Weav’s music. More on that later though…
6. “How do I find my cadence?”
Weav Run automatically measures your cadence for you. If you’ve taken at least one run, you can look at your ‘steps/minute’ rating in the statistics tab. It’s that simple!
7. “Now what’s my ideal cadence?”
There’s inconclusive evidence based on limited cadence research, but as of now, there isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ recommendation for cadence. If you are looking to improve your cadence, shoot for 170-180 steps per minute (SPM). Elite runners hover around 180-184 SPM. If you want some personalized tips, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for help!
8. “How do I optimize my cadence?”
Use the “I Know My Tempo” mode in Weav Run to incrementally increase your cadence by 2-5 SPM per run. You should be able to gradually reach your desired cadence in about 8 runs! You should maintain a steady pace by making sure your feet always land on the beat. Don’t worry - the music will work for you! It feels kind of like magic the first time you do it, but it’s actually a simple concept - run smarter, not harder.
9. “How much faster will cadence make me?”
Hard to say, but you’ll immediately notice struggling less. By using less energy for each stride, you’ll conserve oxygen and breath, which will impact your endurance, and hold provide you with more energy reserves for when you need to push!
10. Now we get to ask a question! What does cadence mean to you?
We’d love to hear from you! Can share your experience in the comments below to help others?