Thursday, July 24, 2008

I think I get it!


"How to look really ridiculous on your run".

Had a very difficult run yesterday.

It shouldn't have been, It was only 8 miles.

And the average pace was only 10:33.

But I felt like I was doing intervals or something.

It was all because I was trying to increase my stride rate.

You see, I have a Garmin 305 and I have a foot pod attachment for it. I don't often use the pod as it's on my New Balance shoes and lately I have been using my Brooks! Time after time, I have read, heard or have been coached about the necessity of having a cadence of 90 (one foot hits the ground 90 times per minute).


On May 27th, my average cadence was 78-80 and on May 18th it was 74 which included cadences of 86 when running 1/4 mile intervals at @ 6:45 pace.

Yesterday, I made it a goal to start changing that and let me tell you, it was hard. My heart rate sky-rocketed, I really became tired and yet other runners easily, and in a much more relaxed state (including a slower cadence), passed me. There were many times that I questioned whether this was even worth my time. My cadence will increase with my pace, right? So stop worrying about it.

Of the 8 miles, only 3 of them were good as far as meeting my goal. Several times I purposely increased my cadence to well over 90, even 100. And it was at this time that I really understood. My stride felt right in every way (except a little short) as far as foot landing, time that my foot was on the ground and power. Unfortunately, I was only able to keep that cadence for minutes at a time. During the last few miles, I felt like I had run my longest distance ever.

I really, really get it. You see, the difficult thing about increasing pace is increasing your stride rate. It takes more energy to increase your stride rate than it does to increase your stride length. And once your body is neuromuscularly (is that a word?) trained at the higher stride rate, you can more easily increase your stride length. Therefore, the method to increase your pace, as well as improve your stride, is to increase you cadence to 90. This is what I have read, have been told, intellectually understood but yet couldn't grasp anyway, until now.

Does this make sense? Do I even understand the concept correctly?

Most people don't do this, by my observation anyway. Honestly, it is too difficult to do all at once, so I am going to have shorter runs with just a cadence goal as well as involve them in part of my longer runs.

If anybody has been through this, please leave me some hints and ideas.



  1. OK, it makes sense. I had to read it twice, but I got it.

    And I don't have a lick of advice for you. I don't know what you can do. Good luck!!

  2. Well, you are already fast there Steve. It would be interesting to know what your cadence is!

  3. Hmmmm...I've read about that too. I've never even tried to monitor my cadence though. I probably should. I'll try it...and see what mine is and let you know.

  4. I tried to monitor my cadence but it took too much thought (I didn't have a foot thingy for my 305). I do agree though that running faster means smaller steps, but practicing that was too hard. :) I think it's smart to do small cadence specific runs - you'll have to let me know how that works for you!