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Cadence - Has anyone modified their cadence sucessfully?

Still a noobie here, so I'm going through the same old voyage of discovery that all new runners go through! The latest bit of research concerns cadence and trying to decide whether I need to try to change it in some way.

I'm sure I don't overstride as I'm a midfoot/front foot striker, slow jogs are 160 cadence, 21k super slow was 7:00 pace at 160, faster 30 min 5k is 165, 1 hr 10k at 6:30 is 165, 26 min 5k is 170, fast 0.5 km at 3:00 is 190. I've not run any distance around the magic 180 mark yet (yes I know this 180 holy grail number is hot potato) so I plan go do a 180 slow run/jog today to see what that cadence feels like. I've got some minimalist Merrel Road Glove (minimal drop) shoes that I'll wear to help simulate a more barefoot style shorter stride (I bought them by mistake a couple if years ago in a sale not knowing a damn thing about what type of shoe they were and have used them for playing badminton up till now!)

Have any of you messed about with a focus on cadence? Have you managed to modify it to the benefit of efficiency, speed, endurance?

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Yeah, I used a metronome when I was doing the last weeks of C25K because I wanted to get 5k in the 30 minutes. It worked, but I don't do stuff like that any more :)

What you've found is that cadence increases with speed - just as I found all those years ago that, vice versa, speed increases with cadence.

I think my cadence is usually in the low 170s (for my regular plod), gets up to 180 when I speed up, exceeds 190 if I do parkrun :D It looks as though my stride is shorter than yours, but I'd bet good money that my legs are also shorter than yours - which is also something to consider.

Go carefully with the barefoot shoes if you're not used to running in them, they can be pretty hard on the calves! It's best to alternate them with some higher-drop shoes at first. Incidentally on the subject of the backs of the legs, shortening your stride can be good if you have hamstring problems.

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Just did a 5k high cadence at 192. I had to keep pulling myself up every minute or so when I noticed I was lengthening my stride/speeding up. Although I had not planned to run fastish and listened to my breathing and heart rate I seem to have run a pretty decent pace in any case despite reining back! When I noticed I lengthened I deliberately put in a much higher cadence spurt and shortened my stride. I ran indoors down on our parking garage (again ) and because it was without gps I'm not sure I believe the data on my Garmin - maybe it got confused with the higher cadence and only has my outdoor stride length data? Anyway the watch says 4;47 pace 23:56 5k cadence 192 but I don't belive it as my MHR was only158, 146 ave. Even if it was over estimating pace and distance it still felt good and quite a swift and efficient run anyway. Didn't completly destroy me, even did a 3k jog afterwards,

Thanks for the barefoot warning Abi! The barefoot shoes were interesting as I could feel the exact foot contact (solid concrete floor) but I will not run on such a hard surface with them again as it is rough going. Luckily I now know I am a front foot runner and only hit a full-on midfoot now and again (and felt it) and towards the end of the 5k as I tired.

I did a 3k warm down afterwards at 178 cadence Niko Niko style, 6:06 pace, to see what high cadence low speed feels like. Quite an odd run, felt very efficient and low exertion (HR was only 114 at the end of 3k cooldown), so I might be sold on this higher cadence approach for now!

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Sounds good! I've thought before that you seem like a natural runner :)

Re. shoes, if you already run on your toes the barefoot shoes may be a good option, I think they are very comfy once you get used to the extra sensations. Can't speak for Merrell though, as I haven't tried them.

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I think my calves must be used to them as I use them for badminton etc.

Ha ha, natural runner...I love you.

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lol

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My advice would be not to focus on it so much - your cadence is your cadence.

You could try a shorter stride length I guess - to more of a 'shufflel -

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Oh yes, agreed! Running seems to be incredibly over-thought out. It's a human thing I suppose, with a sprinkling of capitalism, which is also a human thing :)

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Yes, I am falling into all the well laid traps for the newbie!

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have you made chia seed iskia drink yet?

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Yeah, that's pretty much how I just ran my 3k cooldown. Felt good.

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I have to say I had to look it up. Now I know what it is, I think I'll just carry on ignoring it as there are too many variables, i.e. pace, leg length, etc. for me to even know what I should be aiming for on each run.

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I'm still all wide-eyed and bush-tailed (noobie) ;-)

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I'm am only a year into being a runner myself, and in no way an expert either.

I just want to enjoy my runs. Forget breathing techniques or how many steps I should be doing in a minute. Too complicated.

My kids run. I take them to junior park run, and aside from a couple of poor souls with pushy parents, all the kids just rock up to the start line, and go for it; they run with no gremilns and just do it for the pure pleasure of the feeling of propelling themselves forwards with the wind in their hair.

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Running is not an intellectual pursuit so no need to overthink it

One foot in front of the other does me πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜πŸ‘πŸƒβ€β™€οΈ

You can get so carried away with the details , cadence, watches, pace, heart rate, shoe types, blah blah that the running gets lost in the mix

Enjoy it for what it is. It’s gorgeous! Complete freedom for mind and body

But I know what you mean. When you’re not running your mind is not busy enough so these thoughts begin to creep in 😁 Can An be dangerous Though!! Buying smart watches and low drop barely-there footwear don’t come cheap. In fact the less shoe there is the more money they cost 🀨

I

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You are right of course, but I think most people go through the initial newbie syndrome? Who'd have thought I'd know what, cadence, barefoot/low drop, toxic 10, mins/km pace, foot strike etc mean a few months ago? I'm sure I'll get over it soon, I mean how much is there to learn about putting one foot infront of the other? ;-)

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I can’t say I have. I run as I run, and I haven’t explored further into other stuff, but I’m thinking it would be helpful as I want to get back my 5k PB. So I will read, apply and reportage back.

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I found it quite fun (and felt a bit silly especially running 178 cadence at slow jog pace!) but it felt better than I imagined and all that extra leg activity does not seem to have as much of an energy drain as I first imagined it would. High cadence jogging = spinning for runners?

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My Cadence is around 175 to 185. That's probably down to the short legs, but also the constant dripping of information with a bit of trial and error thrown in. I was a heel striker, which killed my knees. I worked out that my lovely soft, cushioned heel trainers had encouraged this, so they are only used for the gym or PE lessons at work. I bought trainers which had a much more flexible, thinner sole, and my running changed to mid/fore foot without even trying. The knee pain went immediately. The fore foot strike, along with advice to run with the hips thrust forward, meant I couldn't over-stride if I wanted to. My cadence increased and hills that were previously impossible became much easier. That's how my cadence got where it is. I find now that even when I'm going at snail pace, my cadence is still quite high.

My homework now is to check out what Niko Niko style is. πŸ“–πŸ‘€

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Sounds like you've hit on something there just like me! The Niko Niko thing is a Japanese fellow who jogs at walking pace with front foot action. I didn't jog quite that slowly but it felt like it with the high cadence at 6:00 pace.

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Thanks for the link. πŸ˜ƒπŸ‘πŸ» He seems to have it sussed. I guess it depends on why we run. Our focus changes. Most of us love a challenge and start piling on the pressure with goals and races and keeping up with others. I understand that as being 'sport'. But I've always hated 'sport' because at school when we did PE nothing was ever fast enough, high enough, long enough, precise enough. I associated 'sport' with 'fail'. But, I used to ride my bike for miles and miles, I loved to go rowing, and when nobody was watching I'd run around the school field, just because I wanted to. No pressure, just pure enjoyment.

I think I like this Niko Niko guy. πŸ™‚

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That's a great outlook! Just running is winning fullstop.

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This is really interesting - I think I am quite similar to you. Heel striking doesn't feel natural to me but I have noticed that certain very built-up shoes seem to encourage it. My knees hurt the most after experimenting with shoes with a more rigid and stable soles (one of my more costly mistakes). My cadence is also around 170-180 and I am a lofty 5'5" at full extension :D

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It's always reassuring to find others with similar experiences. I can't say I share your experience of running at your pace though! πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

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I'm not so sure, we are both quite speedy!

I think my pace is a psychological issue though (MUST DO ALL THE THINGS FAST!!) rather than a good thing, and I think that if I finally manage to deal with it I may be better at protecting my knees and increase the distance I can manage without pain for days afterwards.

I didn't help myself recently by entering a virtual race in which the medal was something meaningful to my son. I wanted to appear high on the scoreboard as I knew he would love that and pushed myself hard for a 5k in 26.30. It was exhilarating but I also felt winded and nauseous at times. And knowing how I am, I also know I will likely end up doing it again...

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Hmm, I see your difficulties there. Is taken a while for me to accept that slow doesn't mean fail, it I do suffer from the same determination. I need to remember that determination has the word termination in it. Overdoing it may have taught me something. Just a shame it was just at the point where I was happy to reduce the miles anyway. If I'd come to that conclusion a week or two sooner, I'd probably have avoided injury. πŸ™ˆ

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It's so much easier with the benefit of hindsight though. I suppose the best we can do is try to learn from our mistakes next time round.

I am a closet competitive I think. I always assume I am not, but then (especially when I am on the river path, where the only other people are runners) if I spy someone in front of me I become all "Let me reel you in, little fishy!". And it's not big or clever for me to try to compete with male six-footers many years my junior, but I do anyway (I am the original yappy Jack Russell that tries to take on passing German shepherds!)

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24 hours after my high cadence 5+3k runs in barefoot/minimalist shoes I notice that my legs are aching slightly (calves), so that must be down to minimal cushioning in the shoes and running on concete! I don't usually get aching legs unless it's after a big distance increase so Abi was spot on about minimalist shoes and extra stress on calf area etc.

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I suspect the calves will get beneficially stronger as you continue to wear the shoes, just be careful not to push them too far too fast :)

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I have absolutely no idea what my cadence is or why it matters

If I know, will it make any difference ?

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I have the same sort of relationship with my bank balance! ;-)

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Ha ha 😁. I don’t wanna know πŸ˜«πŸ˜ŽπŸ˜€

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I think it is crucial if you are young professional world elite runner. If you are not young, amateur, woefully unprofessional local substandard crawler like me, then looking after cadence is a waste of breath.

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I smashed my 5k record time by 1 minute when I was concentrating on high cadence and was not even trying to run fast, so maybe there might be something in it?

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Try running away from a pack of vicious dogs! That will yield some incredible PBs.

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I'd have ask them to let me warm-up first! ;-)

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Hi Lordi read this post a couple of days ago. I am in the getting faster phase of my asics plan for a 10k. I didn't really give much thought to how i would get faster, I just thought get fitter, get faster. After reading your post I checked back through my results to see that my cadence was pretty much the same for my fast 5ks after which i was worn out, and my 8.5k comfortable runs where i felt like I could go on forever, in fact it was around 160/164 for all my different paces so the difference was all stride length.

So yesterday I did my scheduled 5k jog Niko Niko style, it felt really strange but I achieved an average 179 (max 188). with 74cm stride length. It had the effect of flattening the hills (Consistent 1k splits), narrowing the heart rate range and making the entire run aerobic.

Today I went out for a fast 5k and decided I would try and up the cadence and not worry too much about the overall speed. When I finished i felt that it was a bit slow but that i had been able to hold a more consistent pace all the way.

When I checked the results my stride length had dropped from 108 cm to 106 cm but my cadence was up to 169 (177 max) the biggest surprise was that it was my best 5k yet at 27:57.

I need to get fitter stronger and lighter, but i will definitely work on cadence and stride length now as well.

Thanks for posting.

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Wow! There does seem to be something in it.

Having said that, I've reverted back to my "natural" cadence just recently which is probably too long a stride length that feels like a plod when feeling tired...I maybe need to take a few more runs at higher cadence to try to change what feels natural. I didn't find it easy to raise my cadence, had to keep reminding myself to up it all the time. I think I'll set a minimum cadence alert on my watch from now on!

Keep us posted on your progress with it!

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