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Improve Your Run Time

Improve Your Run Time

Increase your cadence for a better run time...

If you are looking for a way to improve your running time and decrease your risk of injury, try stepping up the pace.  Research has shown that increasing your cadence reduces the risk of injury, and helps to improve running mechanics, which may improve your times.

While running is a wonderful way to burn calories, relieve stress and keep the heart healthy, it can also be hard on the body.  Studies have shown that as many as 56% of recreational runners and 90% of those training for a marathon suffer a running-related injury each year.  There are several risk factors that play a role in injuries, including age, sex, training volume, surface and training techniques.

There is plenty of good research on gait mechanics and running, such as improvement in mechanics can improve both performance and reduce the risk of injury.  When specifically looking at cadence, also  referred to as stride rate or step count, some important points stand out:

  1. Increasing your step count led to improved biomechanics at the ankle, knee and hip. These changes can lead to faster times, but also less injury risk at these joints.
  2. An inverse relationship between the amount of force of the foot hitting the ground (known as ground reaction force) and stride rate was found. In other words, the higher your cadence, the less force your foot absorbs when it strikes the ground.
  3. An increase in stride rate was also found to keep the body’s center of mass from moving too much, another biomechanical factor in injury and performance.

In our gait lab, we have found similar findings with the patients we work with.  Often times, improving their stride rate leads to better performance, with seemingly less exertion during their runs.  There are several ways we use to help improve the cadence in the runner’s we work with.  Our goal is to keep you moving, speed you up and keep you out on the road, not in the exam room!

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