Running Health: Cadence

What role does Cadence play in Running Health?

Running with a slightly higher cadence may be beneficial from an injury prevention perspective. Studies have shown that an increase in Cadence to a level 5-10% above that naturally selected by a runner can reduce a number of biomechanical loading factors which contribute to injury risk.

How can I improve my Cadence?

To increase your Cadence metric and support your cadence–focused running sessions, a combination of running drills, training of fundamental movements and plyometrics is highly recommended. Below are some workouts you can use to improve your technique and conditioning. Depending on your fitness status and exercise abilities, choose to start with either the Beginner or Advanced exercise plan.

If you have not done any of the exercises listed below, start with a Beginner plan. If you are familiar with the exercises and are confident in your technique, start with an Advanced plan.

Aim to complete 1 or 2 sessions per week as an addition to your normal running schedule.  Regardless of the plan you choose, we recommend adjusting the number of sets/reps if you feel that you’re working too hard or not hard enough.

You should emphasise quality of movement over quantity so feel free to experiment until you find set/rep combinations which allow you to maintain good form throughout your workout. You can also consult a PT/ S&C coach to get a more personal recommendation. 

Exercise plans 

BEGINNER: Session 1 (time estimate: 40-50 mins)(Downloadable PDF)
For single leg exercises, complete the sets and reps listed for each leg.

BEGINNER: Session 2 (time estimate: 40-50 min)(Downloadable PDF)
For single leg exercises, complete the sets and reps listed, for each leg. 

ADVANCED: Session 1 (time estimate: 50-60 mins) (Downloadable PDF)
For single leg exercises, complete the sets and reps listed for each leg.

ADVANCED: Session 2 (time estimate: 50-60 mins)(Downloadable PDF)
For single leg exercises, complete the sets and reps listed for each leg.

Using These Workouts 

If you commit to the plan and perform 1-2 sessions per week you should start to see improvements in around 6-8 weeks.

Make sure that you don’t take any increases in cadence too far as this will be counter-productive for running economy. A 5% to 10% increase from your self-selected preferred cadence is normally considered a safe and effective modification for runners. Remember, even after improvements are made, regular strength and conditioning sessions will be required to maintain improvements.

How can I tell if my Cadence is improving?

Running Health can show you whether your exercise program is helping to improve your Cadence.

 

1. Go to the Running health screen. Check your Health Radar graph regularly to see the current grading of your average cadence. If you started with a low grading for Cadence (i.e. ‘Bad’/’Poor’/’Average’ category), focus on whether you’re gradually moving towards ‘Good’ / ‘Great’ categories. You might notice that other aspects of your form in Running Health will start changing too. This is normal - running with cadence higher than preferred may induce a change (often positive) in other aspects associated with your running form.  

2. Now scroll down to A breakdown and select Cadence for more detail on how your cadence has changed over the past last 28 days. The Cadence graph shows a line for your Cadence against your expected cadence shown in grey. By comparing your Cadence to expected cadence, you can see whether you’re generally running at a higher or lower Cadence than a typical runner with your biomechanics (pace, height, gender). This way you can see whether you are generally below (red) or above (blue) your expected value.

Following a period of focus on your cadence you should hope to see a trend similar to the screen below with steady increase in the average cadence.

 

Workouts 

Beginner 

Advanced