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Kiwi Ironman athlete Simon Cochrane on increasing your run cadence.

Tips & Tricks

February 25, 2016

Why You Should Work on your Run Cadence

In a sport made up of three disciplines like triathlon, small tweaks can make a big difference to your overall result. Kiwi Ironman athlete Simon Cochrane trains by the ethos of “An athlete with perfect technique will always perform better than an equal athlete with poor technique” and as such, believes working on your run cadence is a must.

Cadence is the number of steps you take per minute. Here's how you can check your run cadence: Warm up for 5mins and then get running at your ideal race pace, count how many times your right foot hits the ground in 60 seconds. Double that number and you have your steps per minute (cadence).

If you are frequently injured or feel inefficient, gradually increasing your step rate (which in turn decreases your stride length) by five to 10 percent may help you run more economically while lowering your risk of injury.

A longer stride causes runners to extend their legs more, landing with a foot strike in front of the body creating a braking effect. This not only slows you down but can increase the risk of injuries by increasing the vertical loading pressure on the lower leg muscles and joints.

Increasing your cadence can also help with the overall metabolic cost of running. You are a lot more efficient when you are moving forward, the more that the body moves ‘up and down’ the more energy it will take you to run.

Simon Cochrane focuses on run cadence

Focusing on some running drills and technique can help you with the transition into a slightly faster cadence. There isn’t a perfect cadence that suits everybody – but most people out there would benefit from a slight increase and might be pleasantly surprised at the added performance benefits that come their way.

Most common benefits may include:

–         Improved forward momentum

–         Less effort

–         Increased speed

–         Lighter ground impact

–         Less injuries

So have a go at upping the cadence – it might just be that key you need to unlock your next level of running!

If you're keen to learn more you can contact Simon for Triathlon and Run coaching – simon@simoncochrane.net