How to Improve Your Cadence

When it comes to cadence, we’ve all heard that the magic number is 180 – why is this though? At the 1984 Olympics, famed coach and running researcher Jack Daniels counted the strides of distance runners as they raced, and discovered that nearly all of them took at least 180 steps per minute. Many experts have cited Daniel’s work in suggesting to minimize overstriding, lessen impact forces on the legs, and maintain forward momentum, runners should always aim to hit that number. However, your cadence is hinged on your pace. Even Olympians take fewer steps per minute when they run at a slower speed. As a matter of fact, your easy and 5K paces may differ by up to 20 steps per minute. With that being said though if your cadence at 5K pace is below 180, it needs a boost. Here’s how to improve your cadence at every pace.

Take Notes:

First, establish your baseline cadence for all of your training speeds. On a treadmill, begin at warm-up pace and increase the speed by one minute per mile until you’re at 5K pace. As you reach each training pace (easy, marathon, temp, etc.) give yourself a minute or so to adjust to the speed, then begin counting your steps for 30 seconds. Multiply by two, record the number, then accelerate to your next pace. You should see that as your speed increases, your cadence increases. You can also do this on the track using intervals of 800 to 1200 meters.

Set a Target:

Add five percent to each of your recorded numbers. This is your goal cadence for each pace. According to biomechanics researchers, five percent is an attainable target that is still big enough to significantly reduce impact. So for example, if your easy run cadence was 160, aim for 168; if your tempo was 166, strive to hit 174.

Practice it:

One of the easiest ways to quicken your step is to run with a metronome (there’s an app for that!). You can also use things like JogTunes to find music with beats that match your desired turnover. Otherwise, monitor your progress with a 30-second cadence check every couple of miles. To accelerate the transition, schedule a workout like downhill sprints (Check “Get in Stride” below). If you’re struggling with the new target, lower it by two to three percent. Practice that revised cadence for three weeks, and then bump it back up again.

Get in Stride:

Here are some weekly workouts to train your legs for a faster turnover:

The Workout: Downhill Sprints

Details: After an easy run, do five accelerating sprints (strides) down a gentle grade of 150 to 200 meters, reaching top speed at the bottom. Walk back up for recovery.

The Workout: Fast Feet

Details: Using short, quick strides, take as many steps as you can in 10 meters. Keep your ground contact as short as possible. Jog for 10 meters. Repeat five times.

The Workout: Race-Pacer Tester

Details: Run fartleks of 30 seconds, 1 minute, 2 minute, and 1 minute at 5K pace. Jog one minute between reps. Do two sets. Count your steps or use a metronome during each rep of the second set.


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Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

Stop Complaining And Stay Comfortable As You Work Out

Do you work out and complain the whole time? Being comfortable as you work out is more than possible, and is so much safer. Use the following info to make sure you can stay comfortable as you work out, and stop complaining for good!

Never Neglect To Check Your Form

If you’re uncomfortable as you workout, it might very well be because your form is off. Maybe your knees are going over your toes as you squat or lunge. Maybe you’re not quite in the right position. If you neglect to check your form, you could end up with injuries, lose your range of motion, and all sorts. Make sure your form is as good as it can be all the way through each set. This is why so many people do their exercises in the mirror. Watch a Youtube tutorial if you’re unsure!

Find The Perfect Pair Of Shoes

The right shoes are essential for staying comfortable as you work out. Think about it; if you try to go for a run in a pair of Converse, you’re going to be uncomfortable. You can buy shoes that are great for all types of workouts, so if you do a mixture, they might be best for you. Try some on in the shop so you can decide before you buy. You want a pair that will last a long time!

Make Sure Your Outfit Isn’t Hazardous

Have you considered that your outfit might be hazardous to your workout? You don’t want to spend the workout pulling up your leggings or making sure you’re not falling out of a loose top. Your outfit must be suitable for the type of exercise you’re doing, so you can feel good and stay safe.

Find Accessories to Make Your Workout Easier

There are all kinds of accessories that will make your workout more comfortable and a little easier. How about wireless earphones? If you like to listen to a playlist of your own as you workout, going wireless will stop the wires from getting in the way. If you’ve had injuries in the past or you’re recovering, something like a knee brace could be the right choice.

Warm Up And Cool Down

Warming up before your workout is crucial, but so many people get it wrong. Here’s how you should be warming up:

  • Dynamic exercises, such as star jumps and body weight squats.
  • A really light set of your first exercise.
  • A couple of minutes on a cardio machine to get your heart rate up.

Notice how warming up should not include stretches! Stretching a cold muscle is a bad idea. Stretch all you like after a workout to keep things supple and as pain free as possible, but don’t stretch before.

Just Get On With It!

Rather than spend your workout complaining and finding reasons to half-heart it, just get on with it. Focus on your exercises, listen to your playlist, and stay off your phone. Ideally you’ll be in and out of the gym in an hour, and it’ll feel like it goes so much quicker!

What’re Your Thoughts?

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

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Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

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A common mistake made by newbies and the elite veterans is running with improper form. Even if you’re currently running with bad form you may not experience any problems yet, but eventually they’ll start popping up one after the other. Here are some quick and easy signs your running form is off.

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Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

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