Refine Your Cadence And Stride To Speed Up Your Running Times

The next time you go out for a run, count every time your right foot hits the road for 60 seconds. You may be in the range of 75 to 85.  The slower you run, the lower the cadence becomes. Elite runners tend to keep their cadence about 90-95 whether they run slow or fast.

Practicing drills to increase your cadence and lengthen your stride is the first step to faster running. If you have a long stride but an inefficient cadence you may be wasting energy with vertical oscillation. Running with a higher cadence will reduce vertical oscillation because the foot spends less time in contact with the ground. Until your foot comes off the ground you aren’t going any place.

Landing flat footed versus landing on your heel minimizes foot contact time. Minimize straightening and locking your knee during flat-footed running. This will speed you up. The fastest way to experience flat-footed running and faster cadence is to run downhill barefoot.

Notice both pics forward lean bent knee on both legs, landing and follow though leg

Go to a park or other grassy area that has a very slight downhill grade of one to two percent. After a warm-up take off your shoes and run down the hill for 20 seconds
(walk uphill to start point). Do this six times in a session. This should be a fairly fast run. Focus on a flat-footed landing with the knee slightly bent. Your goal should be 30-32 foot strikes in 20 seconds. If you start at the same spot for each stride and finish farther down the course this is an indication that your stride is also getting longer since cadence remains steady.

As your fitness progresses, after each downhill stride, do about 50 total skips on the recovery. This will further ingrain the flat-foot, slightly knee-bent landing.

As the skips get easier, skip for height which will build power in your legs which in turn will increase stride length… without even trying!

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