When you generate more power, like during a sprint to the finish, your step length, cadence, or both can increase.
Of note, the subject with the most to gain happened to be one of the few runners in the study who didn’t report participating in organized races, in keeping with the idea that less experienced runners are less likely to have optimized their strides through trial and error. If everyone ran at their optimal pace, the median heart rate would have decreased by just 0.5 beats per minute, which doesn’t seem worth the laborious effort of retraining your natural stride. It seems to me that cadence is also a function of a runner’s size and the terrain – iow, a 6+ ft runner with long legs will have a slower cadence than a 5.5 ft runner with short legs, and when running uphil you shorten your stride and increase your cadence ( like the downshifting on a bicycle whne going uphill) As in the example shown above, cadence generally increases with speed, so you should perform the test at whatever training or racing paces are relevant to you. rather than testing 20 students, test 40 to 60 and up the trials from 3 to 5). The Garmin Forerunner 620, for example, provides three stride elements—cadence, vertical oscillation and ground-contact time. There were, however, a few exceptions: at least two runners would be expected to see more meaningful decreases of 1 to 3 beats per minute.
This is why I specifically chose a group of experienced runners that were close in age and athletic ability. There are a lot of variables that go into the equation, including your individual biometrics: your overall height, the length of your legs, and running biomechanics like your foot strike, says Sperl. are all factors that can determine a runner’s cadence. “Sometimes it’s counterproductive to try and change biomechanical patterns that have been ingrained for years.”. are all factors that can determine a runner’s cadence.
Generally, the longer your legs are, the longer your stride is, and a long stride implies a lower running cadence because you cover more distance with each step (your foot hits the ground less because it is in the air longer).
All runners have an optimal cadence which allows for the body to do the least amount of work possible. This way, I could compare the cadences in both groups, and the results would tell me the extent to which athleticism and running experience affect cadence. Here is some information on why a higher cadence is ideal. That’s because stride length functions on a bell curve. Students took turns using the 6 available treadmills at TuHS. The number of steps you take is always twice the number of strides, and the number of steps you take per minute is called cadence. The group consisted of 9 males and 11 females whose heights ranged from 5’1’’ (154.5 cm) to 6’5” (195.6 cm), providing a wide spread for optimal test results. Here’s a typical example of what the data looks like if you plot heart rate (HR) versus cadence (SF, which stands for stride frequency, another term for cadence). I needed a broad range of heights to support my hypothesis, so an equal number of male and female students was critical. Above is a diagram that illustrates the reasoning behind my hypothesis—as height increases, stride length increases; therefore, running cadence decreases.
For example, it can be assumed that, at a given pace, taller runners will naturally have slightly lower cadences than average due to increased stride length. To test the effect of height on running cadence I had to design an experiment in which only the height of the runner was being manipulated in order to get the most accurate results. In most of these studies, though, there are a few outliers whose self-chosen cadence is significantly off from their efficiency sweet spot. While running, they counted the number of times their left foot hit the ground and reported that number back to me to record. This was a crucial step in setting up my experiment, for I had to control all other variables so that only height was being manipulated. To gather my data, I had each student run on a treadmill for exactly 60 seconds at a pace of 8:00 min/mile. Ashley Mateo is a writer, editor, and UESCA-certified running coach who has contributed to Runner’s World, Bicycling, Women's Health, Health, Shape, Self, and more. A simple self-test zeroes in on the most efficient stride rate for your running style, and compares it to your usual choice.
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