Did you see Usain Bolt shatter his own world record last week in the 200m at the 2009 World Track and field championships in Berlin? It was amazing. He ran a 19.19 seconds shattering his Olympic record of 19.30 seconds. Then there’s Priscilla Lopes-Schliep winning the silver medals in women’s 100m hurdles. If you watch these elites run the common denominator among all of them is how fast they can turn their feet over in a minute, ie their run. Most elite runners can maintain 200 steps (or more) per minute which is a of 100 foot strikes or more. So in order for you to run faster you must invest time in running.
When running, you either “plod” or ”float” and the difference is how quick your cadence is. Most runners plod which means a longer contact your feet have with the ground. If you watch the elite runners they practically float. Their feet contact the ground very lightly and push off very quickly. They don’t use the traditional running shoes but wear racing flats (or sometimes called running flats) which are less bulky, smaller and helps with running on the forefoot making you run faster with a quicker cadence. The less time you contact the ground the less chance for injury.
Measure Your Running Cadence
How do you measure your running cadence? Running cadence is usually measured by counting how many times your right (or left) foot strikes the ground in one minute. There is a magic number for cadence. On average a runner should run at a cadence of about 85-95 on a flat course, 60-65 on uphills and 100+ on downhills. If your cadence is below 85 on a flat course, you are possibly over-striding and should to work on increasing your leg turnover and shortening your stride. When you over-stride, you put your foot too far out of the center of gravity and it reduces your momentum. You should focus more on maximizing your cadence and your body will naturally produce the most optimal stride and turnover rate. If your cadence surpasses 95, you might want to consider training with Usain or Priscilla.
Try Cadence Running
Run a set of 8 x 400m on the track:
Run the first two at 90 cadence.
Next two at 92 cadence.
Next two at 95 cadence.
Last two at 100 cadence.
After you get comfortable with running short distances faster you can increase the distance to 800m and then slowly graduate to a more difficult cadence training. Try to run 20 minutes at 90 cadence, 20 minutes at 92 cadence and 20 minutes at 95 cadence. Overall, the faster your feet turnover the faster your pace will be.
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