Running Technique: The Importance of Cadence and Stride

Improving Performance

The majority of elite runners strike the ground around 180 to 184 times each minute. This cadence remains whether they are running a 1500-meter race or a marathon.

"This can benefit efficiency by increasing running economy," Dubois says.

Running economy is all about how efficiently you use oxygen at a certain pace. The more efficient you are in using it, the better your running economy. Running cadence is inextricably linked to economy because it affects the way you strike the ground. Better form and optimal cadence translates into improved running economy and faster times.

More: Simple Drills to Improve Running Economy

Dialing in Your Stride

"Retraining cadence is easy to learn for 90 percent of people," Dubois says.

While it is next to impossible to adequately judge your form while you're running, counting your strides for one minute is simple. Start your watch and begin counting.

Once you have a number—many recreational runners strike between 150 and 155 times per minute—begin working to improve it.

If you're on a treadmill, a metronome can be a great tool. There are plenty of places you can download a metronome mp3 set to 180 beats per minute.

Alternatively, download 10 to 15 songs that are around 180 beats per minute. Check online for recommendations or download a program that analyzes songs and lists the beats per minute. You can even drag in slower songs and have them reset to 180 bpm.

More: Workout Playlists: Music to Boost Your Exercise Routine

The transition to a faster cadence may initially feel foreign, but as you achieve that desired rhythm, it will become second nature.

Soon you'll find yourself running faster and more efficiently, getting you a little closer to the pros.

More: 4 Exercises to Increase Your Running Speed

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