Cadence increasing 5K

So I thought I would try and increase my cadence, and "cadence increasing running plan" didn't throw anything out. I also knew from experience that if I just did a 5K unstructured (i.e. trying harder) I would fail.

I decided to run 1st, 3rd and 5th K at between 160 and 170 regardless of pace or HR and run the 2nd and 4th Ks as recovery, regardless of cadence or trying to get my HR down.


Very pleased with the result - you can clearly see where my cadence increased and there are a few download trajectories of my HR on the even Ks - not as much as I had hoped for but that will improve with time.

It was also encouraging to note that my 'recovery K' cadence was a teeny bit higher than normal.

It was interesting how much extra effort that extra cadence cost - perceived and HR. I did speed up unintentionally during the increased cadence. I can't run a 5K at that increased cadence yet, but within a month - almost certainly.

Next run will hopefully be a long 7.5K 'aerobic' HR run where I am not going to worry too much about my cadence.

I plan to put this workout at least once a week.

Anyway, off to enjoy my post-run peanut butter on toast :-)


Featured Content

Join the NHS Couch to 5K community

Couch to 5K has been designed to get you off the couch and running 5km in just 9 weeks

Start today!

Featured by HealthUnlocked

15 Replies

oldest β€’ newest
  • I so wish I could make heads or tails out of what you put on here...:)

    But it is interesting! :)

  • Not just me who's lost then 😜

  • :) I just run.. sometimes slower, sometimes faster... and see where it gets me... :) (Including lost) :)

  • That is very tech'y but I can clearly see your changes in cadence.

    I make a point of trying to up my cadence when I'm flagging and even though I feel it sometimes shortens my stride (which isn't a stride, more a shuffle at the best of times) it does seem to push me along surprisingly faster.

    I still think you're bogging yourself down with it all a bit in these early days. It will undoubtedly help in the long-haul but you also want to learn to just feel runs and gauge it for yourself without constant feedback. Maybe you are, I can see that the tech' could actually make you more attuned to your running- but relax a bit ;)

  • It is probably too early in your running 'career' to be worrying about cadence.

    The science behind running with an optimum cadence and stride length is quite interesting but the main benefit of an increased cadence (lower impact forces through your legs) are really only going to be a factor at speeds a good bit quicker than you are doing right now.

    I would advise just to go about running with the intent of building stamina and aerobic endurance for the time being.

  • Yes I can see the increase in your cadence. I have tried to increase mine (and there is a slight improvement from a few months ago) along with better posture. I have found it makes me run slightly faster too.

  • Is there any joy left in the process with so much emphasis on tech, HR, cadence etc? I'm no expert, but if I were your running guru I'd recommend leaving the Garmin at home for a couple of weeks and run by listening to your body for a bit ... get to know what makes your running body tick, if you know what I mean. It seems to be ruling you rather than being an interesting record of your achievements. By all means tell me to mind my own beeswax though!

  • I've been working on my cadence lately, too, having had a bit of coaching. I was told to get my running cadence up to 180, which is apparently recognised as the most efficient. I bought a small clip on metronome from Amazon and ran with it beeping at me. Just about got it cracked now, and it feels a lot better - prevents overstriding apart from anything else!

  • Thanks all - some brilliant responses.

    There are clearly two camps - those that enjoy the freedom of running and those that enjoy the 'tech' of running. If there was any doubt I clearly fall into the second camp - the thought of just 'going for a run' really doesn't do much for me. The thought of going for a run where I can see I have improved something - sure :-).

    But you know, different folks, different strokes (where does that phrase come from).

    I am also very inpatient (the tech world moves incredibly fast) so there is that challenge.

    Don't get me wrong, I passionately love this running lark, but mainly because I can see progress - how do I see progress - through tech :-). Me trusting 'how it feels' and 'how my body reacts' would see me back on the couch thinking 'nah, can't be boffer'd' quicker than you could say 'lazy so and so' :-)

  • In that case, feel free to obsess, that man!!! Whatever floats your boat :)

  • I get that. I have far more basic tech with my runs than you (currently...can't lie, I've been looking at Garmin's etc!) but I too get the need for near constant improvement. I don't want to take away the love of this forum but have you considered joining an online running group? If you're up for a bit of (quite sweary) banter and a massive mix of inspiration I'd suggest requesting to join 'Running Ninja's' on Facebook.

  • I don't think that it is a matter of obsession - but learning HOW to run! :) Many people think that they naturally know "How to run" - but it is a skill like any other. If you took up the sport of archery, do you think that you would automatically and naturally be a great archer?? No - you would have to practice the skill. Same with darts, bowls, golf, etc. Someone once said that we run because we can - not because we know how to. We all have our own unique "stlye" of course - and our own unique body shape :) And I could never ever throw three bulls eyes in a row regardless of how long I practiced throwing darts :)

    The thing with low cadence (low number of steps per minute while running) is that it "can" lead to overstriding - which IS harmful and leads to knee injuries . I would say that it is "natural" for people who run with a low cadence to increase their pace by stretching their leg out forwards in an attempt to increase stride length and hence pace -- BAD!!!!

    Now my "problem" is that I suspect that I might be running with too high of a cadence (200 BPM) and too short of a stride length. :(

  • Fancy swapping your spare cadence for my spare stride length?

    Ha, I joke (obviously) but also because my stride length is tiny. I was watching my feet on the higher cadence Ks earlier and the words 'pigeon step' came to mind :-).

    I must admit, that is one of the things I am quite chuffed with - I did a lot of reading (who would have guessed :-)) before starting c25k and deliberately spent a while monitoring form. Right from day 1 I have tried to land with my feet under my hips and my knees slightly bent.

    Then again, with 20+ stone to throw around I wasn't taking any chances with my dodgy knees!

  • Which was very sensible. I lost a lot of my excess before starting to run but form was thought about. Bazza1234 you're so right in that we do need to learn how to do it properly. I think a lot of people expect to be able to just stick on trainers and go off 'naturally', forgetting it's a skill to be honed.

  • Have you tried the C25K+ podcasts with Laura? From your cadence graphs I'd say you might find them quite useful. I understand your "tech" approach, I love trying different stuff too, but I also just go out and plod along sometimes. xx

You may also like...