Running Cadence - Day #9

A few years back we ran with a team and learned a lot about running.  One thing was running cadence, or the number of steps you take per minute of running.

The ideal number of steps is said to be 170-200, or the number 180 is thrown around a lot, although some dispute it being the "magical" number since elite runners often run over 200 steps per minute!  That being said, 180 is a good number to shoot for.

Finding out your running cadence is easy:
1.  Get into a good running rhythm
2.  Count how many times your right (or left) foot hits the pavement in one minute's time
3.  Double that number = your steps per minute (spm)

So why even bother?  Why do you want to run 180+ steps per minute?
1.  Shortened stride
2.  A shorter stride = smaller/lighter steps
3.  Lighter steps = less impact/reduced load on your legs/joints
4.  Reduced load = lessened chance of injury
5.  A shorter stride will naturally force you to land more mid-foot and avoid heel striking which is often a contributor to injury (it was for me)

But I'm too slow to run 180 steps in a minute...?
Actually, this is what I found fascinating when we did cadence drills, it doesn't matter your pace.  If you run slower, you have a decreased stride length in comparison to those who run at a quicker pace, but you both have the same(-ish) leg turnover.

For instance, take a slow lap around the track with a quick cadence.  Now keep that same cadence but pick up the pace/speed by pushing off each step with stronger force.  Now your stride grows longer, but your quick leg turnover is keeping you from "overstriding" or heel striking.  (Essentially you could say that your stride grows longer behind you as opposed to in front of you.)

How do I go about increasing my cadence?
Slowly.  Like anything fitness related, abrupt changes can contribute to an injury.  One thing I like to do is listen to music that has a cadence ballpark to where mine is or I want it to be.  By running to the beat it helps me when I get tired and my legs don't want to turn over as fast or my form starts to falter.

One of my favorite 180 bpm songs by Michael Jackson:

Increasing your cadence may feel strange at first, but give it some time and you'll probably find that you are faster in the long run.  ;)  Good luck!


As far as my running streak, it is track and Chipotle Tuesday.  Instead of Chipotle, however, we went out with the track group after practice to an Italian place.

Today we met at a different location than the track and did 4-6 400m hill repeats with 400m recovery jogs back.  Arizona isn't very hilly so that's something that we kind of lack fitness-wise (unless you are a trail runner) so it was a great way to mix it up.  

It was hard and I thought I'd call it after four, but I knocked out two more.  So yay.

Check out the stormy weather!!

  • Today's mileage:
  • Total June mileage: 2 treadmill + 19.06 = 21.06
  • Hottest temp run in: 105
Run, Blog, Log Everyday

Goodnight!  Or good morning for some.  Have a wonderful Wednesday!


  1. Snazzy new layout! That 105 = ughhhh.

  2. I need to focus on my cadence. It's definitely work for me to run 180 steps but it definitely seemed to make my over all pace faster.