Improve Your Running Cadence: 5 Quick Tips to Crush Your Cadence

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Wondering what running cadence is and how you can use it to become a better runner? These 5 tips will help you become faster and more efficient.

What is Cadence?

Before we tackle these tips, let’s briefly talk about what cadence is (that’d be helpful, wouldn’t it?). Cadence is the number of strides or steps taken per minute. If you want to improve your form, become a speedier runner and avoid injury (overstriding), tracking and improving upon your cadence is a must-do. We’ve shared some quick and easy tips from our favorite run expert,  @trackclubbabe, to help you improve your cadence.

Editor’s note: This is a part of a weekly series featuring training, running and motivational tips from marathoner @trackclubbabe. Tune in every Tuesday for her newest tip. 

Since we began dating, my husband, @tunderface has been telling me to work on my cadence. Here are some of the things I have done to take my cadence from sloth level turnover (high 150s/low 160’s) to barely decent (mid 170’s). My ultimate goal is to achieve a cadence in the 180s.

Use Your Watch

Add cadence tracking to your watch. And make sure it’s one of your top fields so you can’t ignore it. This is the number one thing I did that helped me. If you passively track your cadence and review it after your run, it’s too late to do anything about it. That’s why I highly suggest that you track it actively using your watch of choice.

Schedule Cadence Runs

I like to specifically dedicate runs to cadence every week. Ideally, I select the runs that aren’t heavily focused on pace so I can solely focus on my cadence and improving it. When I was beginning my running journey, I used my long runs as my time to completely focus on cadence. There can be a surprising amount of things that go through your mind when running – everything from forward lean to strides. Dedicating runs to just cadence helps you to focus on how to get your cadence to where it needs to be.

Embrace the Change

It will feel harder and like more work at first. So if it does — you’re doing something right! Initially, I felt it in my hip muscles when I started really working on my cadence. This is completely normal. You’re making your body function in a way it’s not used to, so expect a period of adjustment.

Get Used to Baby Steps

You’ll essentially be taking exaggerated baby steps. Seriously GOOD cadence (when you’re coming from ultra slow cadence) feels like the tiniest baby steps you’ve ever taken. You’ll get used to it.

Get Ready to Feel the Speed

What you do in practice comes together and feels natural in speed. The most exciting part about practicing my cadence was that when I tackled speed workouts, I found I was better at them because of the work I put into my easy runs.

Stop Thinking in Strides

To go faster, don’t think of taking longer strides; focus on more steps! Now when I’m trying to become faster, I focus on higher turnover.

Do you track your cadence? Comment below:

Author Bio: @trackclubbabe, AKA Kimberly Clark Underwood, started running in 2012 to see if she could train for a marathon & fell in love with running. She went from hoping to run 10-minute miles in the marathon to aiming for a sub 3 marathon. She posts the highs & lows of training + everything that has helped her to improve on her IG.

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