Sports Medicine Tip: Running Cadence

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Count Your Cadence

The quickest and easiest way to decrease your risk of injury and improve your running can be through simple modifications of your running form. There are many drills, shoes, books, and techniques that are designed to address your form; however it's possible to make significant changes by paying attention to a few simple details during your daily run.

Count your cadence: Over-striding is a common culprit of many running injuries. This is due to the increased impact of each foot strike. The ideal running cadence is between 176 and 184 steps per minute. Check this by counting how many times you're right foot lands over the course of a minute. Take this number and double it to get your cadence. If your number is too low, simply shorten your stride and quicken your turnover (without increasing your overall speed) to improve your cadence. To incorporate this in your training, count your steps over a minute. This is your baseline number. Speed your cadence up and try to maintain this new cadence. Recheck after 5 minutes. This drill can be repeated throughout a run and performed frequently to create lasting changes to your running form.

By improving your cadence, you can make a simple improvement in your form that will pay off with increased injury resistance and improved performance.