How To Improve Your Running Cadence

 
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Running cadence or stride rate is the number of times your foot strikes the ground per minute. It is measured in ‘steps per minute’; you’ll see it noted as steps/min or spm. Runners optimize their running cadence because it can make them more efficient runners. It can also reduce their risk of injury. So, optimizing your cadence sounds like a no-brainer, right?

Below is a guide to help you begin working towards improving your cadence.

1. Before you start fine-tuning your cadence, you need to determine your current cadence.

This will be your baseline cadence, and you just need a ballpark figure to get started. Luckily, Weav Run has a built-in feature to measure it.

If you haven’t already, download Weav Run.

Weav Run automatically calculates your overall average cadence. And it’s displayed on the ‘Sessions’ tab. This is a quick and easy way to find your cadence baseline. But only if you use Weav only while running—not walking. If you’ve used Weav while walking, this number is affected by those slower-paced sessions. If this is the case, you’ll want to use the following method to find your average running cadence.

Using Weav Run:

  1. Select “Match My Stride” and pick a favorite playlist or album.

  2. Start an easy-paced quarter-mile (0.25 miles) run.

  3. Save your run, and view your average cadence displayed under ‘Run Stats.’


An alternative to the above method is to check the cadence dial while you’re running at your steady easy pace and use that reading as your baseline.

2. Now that you have your baseline, you can start fine-tuning your running cadence!

We’ve seen runners make improvements to their cadence in as little as seven runs. So, knowing your baseline cadence, use the table below to plan out your next seven runs. Aim to increase your cadence by 2-5 spm per run.

For example, if your current average cadence is 166 spm, you’ll want to run between 168 - 171 spm on your first run. If your cadence goal is 170 spm for the first run, you’ll want to aim for 172 - 175 spm for the second run. Remember: Your goal is not to increase your speed—your goal is to increase the number of steps you take per minute. Think shorter, faster steps!

Tip: Many runners find it helpful to run on a treadmill when focusing on cadence and running form. Since you’re able to run at a fixed pace, you can focus more on your steps and form.

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If you haven’t already, download Weav Run.

3. Using the “Fixed Tempo” mode on Weav Run, adjust the dial to your target spm.

For example, if your target is 170 spm for your first run, you’ll adjust the dial to 170 spm.

4. Tap ‘Start’ to begin your session.

And start running at a steady pace.

5. Match your steps to the beat! Focus on maintaining a steady pace with your foot hitting the ground with the beat.

Don’t worry! The music will work for you. And after a little practice, you’ll start to feel the benefits of a higher cadence!

In fact, you might find that you need to adjust your cadence again as you become a more experienced runner. Cadence can change based on your pace—you take more steps while sprinting versus jogging.

An important reminder: Cadence is NOT one-size-fits-all. Factors like height, weight, age, experience level, and more go into determining each person’s ideal cadence. Just because your running buddy hits 182 spm doesn’t mean you should be too. Also, if you start to struggle at, say, 180 spm, but feel great at 174—stick with 174! When you hit your upper limit, it’s ok to pull back and adjust! Most importantly: You want to feel comfortable and ready for future miles!

Working on you improving your running cadence? How’s it going? Let us know know below.

Want to learn more about cadence? Check out these related articles:

Runners share the benefits of a higher cadence

10 things you need to know about cadence

How to avoid shin splints and other running injuries

Article by Kelley MacDonald.