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What is cadence and Why does it matter?

What Is Cadence and Why It Matters

Runners get injured a lot.

And when I say a lot I mean a whole lot of injuries!

It is expected that 56% of recreational runners and 90% of runners training for a marathon will sustain a running related injury each year. Approximately 50% of all running related injuries occur at the knee and the majority of the rest at the lower leg, ankle, hip and thigh.

The reason for most of these injuries is the repeated forces applied to the lower extremity when the foot hits the ground during the stance phase of running.

To reduce injury while running it would therefore make sense to minimise the force applied to the lower limb while running.

That’s where cadence comes in.

Cadence, also known as stride rate or leg turnover, is the number steps taken in a given time interval. Typically measured as Steps Per Minute (SPM)

Research published in the Journal Medicine & Science In Sports & Exercise found that a small increase in running cadence can decrease the stress at the knee joint by 20%.

Researchers concluded- that subtle increases in step rate can substantially reduce the loading to the hip and knee joints during running and may prove beneficial in the prevention and treatment of common running-related injuries.

To determine your running cadence do the following

With a stopwatch or using your smartwatch or phone count the number of steps you take in 1 minute during a run.

Alternately, you could count the number of times 1 foot (your right OR left) strikes the ground in a minute and double that number.

When you do this make sure you have warmed up and are running at your normal pace and are on a flat or reasonably flat stretch.

The average recreational runner will have a cadence of between 150- 170 SPM while elite runners and Olympians are usually in the 180- 220 SPM range.

There is not one perfect cadence for everyone and factors that can affect your cadence are height, fitness level, speed and stride length.

It is generally considered that most recreational runners will benefit from an increase, even a small one, in cadence.

Want to run faster and decrease your chances of injury?

At my upcoming Running Workshop one of the running skills I will be teaching is how to improve your running cadence for optimal performance.

Here are the details and the link to join the workshop.

Link here-

Becoming a Better Runner Workshop

On Saturday the 23rd April I will be doing a Running Workshop which will be a practical session aimed at improving your running. The techniques and tips I go over in this Workshop will help you to run more efficiently and with less chance of injury. Whether you’re a novice runner or someone who has been running for decades this Workshop is for you.

This is a practical event so The Workshop will be limited to 12 places.

Register your interest through the link or call 94284033 to secure your place.

Cost: $95 non practice members

Current practice members: $45

*Dr Mark Uren has been running competitively for over 50 years and was ranked in top5 middle distance runners Nationally, has competed at distances from 5k to marathons and finished in the top 10 at the World Masters Games 10k and is a Level 1 Recreational Run Coach Course with Athletics Australia.


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