Cadence Q & A

Recently we asked Suunto Ambassador Adam Chase, long-distance running superstar - who won more than 20 ultramarathons, is captain of the Salomon Trail Running Team, former Prez of the American Trail Running Association, co-author of "The Ultimate Guide to Trail Running"- to explain the importance of running cadence.

Here is the Q and A:

Q: What is Running Cadence?

A: Running cadence is the number of times either your left or right foot hits the ground in one minute. Concentrating on improving your running cadence can make you a faster runner and help you exert less energy while gaining the same amount of ground. Studies have shown that the world's fastest long-distance runners have a higher cadence than the average runner, between 85 to 95 steps per minute.

Q: Is that true? Why is it important?

A: The problem is that the statement is erroneous. While some of the world’s fastest runners do have a high cadence the high cadence isn’t the source of their speed as much as it is the fact that they are less likely to be injured. Those same runners will run at the same cadence on a slow run or fast run, the difference being the length of their stride. Higher cadence is often connected with where one lands on her or his foot. Heel strikers have a tendency to overpronate and exhibit higher impact pressures whereas midfoot and more so forefoot runners are able to better dissipate the shock over more steps and through the more resilient part of the foot and that is why people are taking up minimalist or barefoot running. In a nutshell, the objective of striving for a higher cadence is to minimize injury. Barefoot runners are almost never fast but they are able to train a lot more and that often results in running improvements, including efficiency.

Thanks Adam! Great insight.

Recommended watch for keeping track of your cadence: Suunto Quest.

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