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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

4. Stride rate is the key to successful running

The forward lean in running is free speed, but the high stride rate, turnover or cadence really is the most important aspect of successful running. The less the amount of time, per foot strike, your foot can be on the ground, the less strength is required, the less fatigue is accumulated & the less eccentric micro tearing in the leg muscles takes place. A hallmark of champion distance runners is a stride rate of over 180 steps per minute – some as high as 208! Count your cadence by counting the number of foot strikes you achieve with one foot in 15sec & then multiply that by 4. This will give you a single leg turnover. The minimum number you are striving for is 23 (or 92 steps per foot per minute, which is 184 for both feet). Your length, leg length or gender is irrelevant. Lastly, do not simply try to move up your cadence by moving your legs faster; this may lead to injury & may not improve performance. Do this by leaning slightly forward from the ankle, staying tall through the hips, bending your elbows 90*, (till you could hold a pebble in the crook of your elbow & not drop it for the duration of the run), punching your elbows rearward slightly &, most importantly, pushing your foot to the ground, (but NOT while on the ground). Do this rather than launching up into the air (pushing off) & dropping to the ground – a recipe for injury, fatigue & poor performance.

Bobby McGee – Bobby McGee Endurance Sports

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