Increasing run cadence

every foot strike causes friction, certainly, and there are specific causes of deceleration which affect different components of running…

But i would urge you to think long and hard about not wanting the foot to land in front of you…

I used to heel-strike and also used to get shin-splints a lot.
I started to work on my cadence and haven’t had SS’s since.

I’m 170 for my Z1 stuff through to 182/3 for 5km.

It definitely lowers as I go very slowly, trying to keep it at 180 while running 9min/mile feels like dancing.

I found it easier to focus on moving my arms faster rather than moving my legs faster.

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focussing on arms, especially when tired, is a good way to run faster…

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Definitely works. I was with a local running club last week and was telling a guy who was tiring to focus on his arms and he couldn’t believe he could maintain the pace for the last 0.5 miles when his legs were going.

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For slow easy runs I tend to be just under 170, but for races around 5k-half it’s usually 180 give or take, can’t remember about marathons, I think probably somewhere in between but late race fade will impact it. At the start of a race or a sprint finish scenario I might get into the 190’s.

I wouldn’t call myself a descending demon by proper fell running standards but I can get down decent inclines better than a lot and up with road runners who are often in front of me on races so I suspect that helps, but a lot of it is about switching your brain off, or being able to pick a route. I think playing football for a lot of years helped with the quick and small changes in foot placement.

I did try increasing cadence a few years ago but mentally doing it but with a shorter stride, it felt unnatural but I don’t think the 180 wasn’t bad anyway.

My bike cadence isn’t particularly high though, usually around 80.


First few runs at higher cadence completed. These feel really weird currently as if I’m running on the spot. But it gives me something to concentrate on and also finding myself thinking about running form at the same time.

I did have a look back through some older race times and back in 2015 when I set 5k and 10k PBs. I note my 5k run had a cadence of 178spm and 10k was 176spm. So it does look like I do up the stride rate when I can and am fit. Also looked at recent 5k - more like 172spm and 2 min slower than my PB.

Hoping the regular runs at higher cadence will get easier/more natural over the next few weeks.

I don’t have any Garmin data before 2018.
There’s a few runs on Strava from 2012 and 2013, then nothing again until 2018.

So, to answer the earlier question…I’m not sure of my long run cadence?

Ok - i’ve looked back a bit further to see ho mine changes over distances:

3km (track): 182 (2016)
5km: 188 (2019)
10km: 186
Half: 186 (2016)
Mara: 182-184 (knee went at about 17 miles, so averaged the first proper bit of my run)

The obvioulsy anomaly here is my 3km, but i would put that down to the fact that it is on a proper track, so you get a lot more ‘free bounce’. not sure what this really tells me to be honest, but it’s still interesting to look back.

Long runs all seem to be in the high 170s for me. Again, the shoe appears to make the biggest difference, though i’m only talking 4-6 spm.

182 for me today on a 10 mile race, and that included 133M of climbing which would have probably slowed, although the descents possible evened it out.


I remember many years back when I was a crap runner I thought I would count my cadence in the middle of a long run, bang on 180. I was that crap I even had to stop the run, but my cadence as it turrns out was good.

Subsequently, as others I have transitioned to a more mid/fore foot strike as I have got faster, most of my training runs are at 180 (long or short), perhaps the slow ones nearer 170, but this is below 5 min/k’s.

The two recent data points I have now I have a new watch
Recent near 5k in 16:30 - Avg cadence: 200
Recent London marathon in 2:43 Avg cadence: 190

So I am not much help really as I have always seemed to be high though I will say the guy who I am neck and neck with at the 5k’s has a very slow cadence and just lollops effortlessly along besides me, so cadence is certainly not everything.

Similar experience to everybody else here TBH. I started on this because TTowel said he used it as a method to improve his running. I was also prone to ITB issues and definitely a heel striker (no judgement on that). At the time I didn’t have a watch to measure just used feel. Now I do all my running above 180.
The Outlaw (3:50, swim-run obvs) was at 187, Outlaw half (1:41) at 195, Vale of York HM (1:29) 198 and 10km will be above 200. I now am mid-foot strike on steady, easy runs, fore-foot on faster ones.

Now I must emphasise that I have the legs of an oompa loompa where as Poet is more gazelle like. I’m 169cm and 67kg but really do have the leg length off a small child and long monkey arms. In fact I would probably have a longer stride length walking on my hands.

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yep, as a generalisation, increasing cadence reduces knee flexion excursion which reduces itb syndrome

Another bit of interesting data from an ITU athlete’s run session this morning:

On the easy warmup and between intervals, their cadence was around 184-188. In the 10 minute build block and the 1 minute efforts, they were up at 200

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… spill

I can’t say exactly who it is as they want to stay hidden on Strava! But often puts down one of (if not THE) fastest run splits

that makes good sense - a consistently high cadence is A key component of good form…

How do you actually go about increasing your run cadence?

Took a look at my runs and it seems it is pretty much always mid 150 average which is considerably lower than most in this thread

I too have been thinking about this I’m sat around 160 for most runs

In its simplest form, just add 5 - 10% to your current cadence, set this pace on a metronome and off you go…but a wise word or two…only run for a minute, then walk home and keep adding a minute a day…and/or learn a selection of running drills to improve all of your biomx and build from the drills…

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I just tried to move my feet more quickly but without trying to run faster. It was easy, in that a mate and I ran daily Mon-Fri along a canal tow path and I had him to keep the pace the same, if that makes sense. I did this a long time before I had a watch that measured it so it was all off feel.

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