An average runner will usually have too low of a cadence and will benefit from increasing it. I have done a few cadence exercises in that sense and already have some graphs and perception to share about running cadence. This is a continuation of Running Cadence: 180spm Holy Grail.
The main question to myself was, what will I gain from running at 180spm? (180 is appointed to be an optimal cadence) So I tested where my ‘natural’ cadence was: an average of 167 – 173, a little low for my aspirations. My plan was to go up to a range of 174 – 183. This is range was research by Garmin and shown on the graphs below. Groups of runners where evaluated and divided by percentiles indicated by colors, the range I found myself to be on my first measured run was the green runners range, my goal was to reach the blue runners range and evaluate my perception of the effort in doing so.
FIRST MEASURED RUN: MY ‘NATURAL’ CADENCE
MY FIRST RUN AIMING AT INCREASING CADENCE TOWARDS THE BLUE RANGE
It was a track day and perfect exercise to put my experiment in practice. The days´exercise was 16 x 400m lengths increasing the pace at every 4 lengths. The graph below shows that starting on the 5th lenght my cadence was sustained in the target range. But more than that, as I increased my cadence during the exercise, my vertical oscilation and my ground contact time reduced, all measures of better running form.
MY PERCEPTION FROM RUNNING AT A HIGHER CADENCE
It was not natural and it took a considerable amount of concentration. But, I felt that with the higher revolutions my stride was much shorter and much lighter. At the end of the exercise I felt the strain on my body was lower and that my running form was improved. The graphs above show there was an improvement in running dynamics. My main difficulty was adjusting air intake. At first, when I accelerated my steps-per-minute I also accelerated my breathing, so I needed to be very aware in order to maintain the correct breathing at regular intervals for a given pace and, at the same time, accelerate my feet to a different, higher, cadence.
At this point I feel there is going to be a considerable pay-off from continuing to train at a higher cadence.
For more details please read: Running Cadence: 180spm Holy Grail