Why is my cadence so low? Unravelling the mystery of running cadence

The Unexpected Marathon

Imagine the scene. You're running a marathon, your feet rhythmically hitting the pavement, the cheering crowd around you, the adrenaline pumping through your veins. Suddenly, your running app chirps, "Cadence too low". You frown, thinking, "Why is my cadence so low?"

The Cadence Conundrum

Running cadence, the number of steps you take per minute, is a key aspect of running efficiency. It can be the difference between a smooth, effortless marathon and a gruelling, energy-sapping slog.

  • High cadence: Greater efficiency, lower risk of injury
  • Low cadence: Increased strain on joints, inefficient energy use

Behind the Low Cadence

A low cadence often indicates a runner's tendency to overstride, which means landing the foot too far in front of the body's centre of gravity. Overstriding, besides being inefficient, can lead to injuries like shin splints and runner's knee.

The Fix: Increasing Cadence

Now the question arises, "How do I improve my cadence?" Here are some proven strategies:

  1. Use a Metronome: A metronome, a tool that produces a steady beat, can help you match your footfall to a set rhythm, gradually increasing your cadence.
  2. Shorter, Quicker Strides: By consciously taking shorter, quicker strides, you can boost your step count per minute.
  3. Strength Training: Strengthening your core and lower body muscles can enhance your running form and cadence.

The Cadence Catch

Are you wondering, "Is there a perfect cadence?" Well, not exactly. While the most efficient runners often have a cadence of around 180 steps per minute, it's not a one-size-fits-all number. The ideal cadence varies depending on factors like a runner's height, weight, and fitness level.

Cadence and Performance

So, does a higher cadence equal better performance? Not necessarily. While it can help reduce the risk of injury and make your runs feel easier, focusing solely on cadence without considering other aspects of your running form is not the path to peak performance.

The Journey Ahead

Understanding your cadence is an integral part of your running journey. So, the next time your running app chirps about your low cadence, you'll know exactly why and how to deal with it. Happy running!