- 800s with Cadence Focus
Objective: Learn how to increase your
running cadence (foot strikes per minute). Most runners have a cadence of under
180. All elite runners are at or above that, with many top marathoners at 190
or higher. Increasing your cadence reduces the amount of ground contact time,
shortens your stride, and forces you to land your foot closer beneath your center
of mass. Generally speaking, all of these will make you faster and reduce the
chances of injury. See one runner's dramatic results when increasing her cadence,
below. BTW, you should have only one cadence, but several gears. You go faster
not by increasing your cadence, but by increasing your forward lean, and this
increases your stride length. See Danny Dreyer's video: same
cadence, different gears.
Perform a standard
a sports metronome or a metronome app if you have one, to time your full-cycle
cadence - the number of times the same foot hits the track in a minute. This is
one half your running cadence, which counts every foot strike; setting a metronome
to beep on every foot strike will produce too much noise!
1 X 400 Determine
your current full-cycle cadence
5 X 800 at your full-cycle cadence plus
1. For example, if your full-cycle cadence was 76, set your metronome to 78 beats
You are going to run these 800s using your "new" cadence,
at about your 5K pace...
except that you will accelerate slightly
for about 50 meters on a straight section of the track. Coach will mark the start
and end points for the increased speed. To accelerate, you will maintain your
current cadence and gain speed by increasing your body lean, which will lengthen
your stride (or land you on your face!).
1 X 400 Add another beat to your
During the next few weeks, try increasing your full-cycle
cadence - no more than 1 beat at a time, until you reach at least 90 beats per
minute (running cadence of 180). Most top runners have a cadence of 190 or higher
|Cool Down||15 minutes
- walk 400, stretch for remainder of 15 minutes |
Cadence = More Speed, Less Pain
By Kris Johnson (winter 2012),
summer I was having a lot of knee problems; every time I ran more than just a
mile or two, both my knees would swell up quite a bit and it was painful to run.
I had never had knee problems before, so I didn't know what the issue was, and
Coach Bill offered to help. He analyzed my running on a treadmill and took videos
to show me exactly where the problem was (see the video
analysis). He also showed me videos of the correct way to run to compare (see
the Running - Great Form page).
It turns out that my running form issues - my long strides and heel-striking -
were contributing to my knee problems.
Coach Bill mentioned that one way
to fix the long stride and heel-striking (and therefore knee) problem was to increase
my cadence; that way, I'd be "forced" to land earlier in my stride,
not on my heels in front of my body. He gave me a metronome to help with this,
and I used it just as he said. I timed the metronome so that my right foot would
land on every beat (otherwise it's a little too fast if you do both feet) and
I started at a cadence slightly faster than my cadence at the time. I would increase
the metronome by just a bit every few times I ran and it definitely fixed my stride
problem. Perhaps it was the point after my stride was fixed that I started seeing
improvements in my speed. I wasn't a very fast runner to begin with - on a regular
5k run I would be somewhere around 8:30 miles - but after I improved my running
technique in a matter of months I had dropped to 7:00 miles!!!