Should I in­crease my ca­dence?

Runner's World South Africa - - Personal Best - – CHLOE, CAPE TOWN

Elite ath­letes run at a ca­dence of over 180bpm, and it’s com­mon prac­tice to try to em­u­late what they do.

There is the­o­ret­i­cal ev­i­dence that run­ning at higher ca­dence leads to ath­letes keep­ing their po­si­tion bet­ter over their cen­tre of mass, be­cause they’ve short­ened their stride.

But to truly ben­e­fit from in­creased ca­dence, you should also main­tain a longer stride, which in­creases biome­chan­i­cal stress. If you can mas­ter in­creased stride fre­quency, while main­tain­ing stride length

and mov­ing over your cen­tre of mass, you’ll re­duce the load on your joints and some mus­cles. But there’s also ev­i­dence to show this in­creases load to the soleus ( calf) and achilles. There­fore, any changes must be made with caution.

Try short­en­ing and in­creas­ing ca­dence, both up and down hills. This helps to re­duce force gen­er­a­tion go­ing up, and the pound­ing on the way down. Both will spare your mus­cles and re­duce fa­tigue.

That said – through many years of try­ing to change both my own ca­dence and that of the ath­letes I coach, I’ve found that a) it takes a long time, and b) when un­der stress, we go back to what works best for our unique biome­chan­ics any­way.

Lind­sey Parry is a qual­i­fied bioki­neti­cist, Two Oceans and Com­rades sil­ver medal­list, and 2: 47 marathoner. Email him at lind­sey@ coach­parry. com.

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