Don’t stress over your cadence

I didn’t get the usual month end post up last week due to the holidays. But I do have one link I want to share this week instead because it’s a topic that I feel very strongly about and I believe there is a lot of bad advice on it.

We’ve all heard the advice. Running with a stride rate of 180 steps per minute is the ultimate goal. If you’re not there, you have work to do. Is that right, though?

I’ve long stated that we are all individuals. Some of us should be running at 180 but some would be better off at 170, 160, maybe even 190 or 200. What matters is that you find what is right for you, not some mystical number that is right for someone else.

Well, here’s some research to back up that view.

This research looked at top finishers from a 100K world championship race and used their data to calculate average stride rate for each 10K segment of the race. Then, importantly, they both averaged the data and kept each individual runner’s data separate.

So what did they find? The average came out very close to that mythical number: 182 strides per minute. But, very importantly, there was wide variation, from less than 160 strides per minute to over 200 strides per minute. In short, while the average came out to very close to 180 and most seemed to fall between 170 and 180, it’s not like even with these very good runners 180 strides per minute was a universal number. There was wide individual variation.

Consider this a reminder: while the average tells you something, it doesn’t give you the whole picture. 180 strides per minute is not some magical number. The number that is best for you might be 160 strides per minute. Or 200 strides per minute. Find what works best for you.

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