No, 180 is not your ideal running cadence. what is here

AndOf the many running form tips repeated around the internet, one of the most common pieces of advice is to increase your stride rate, AKA cadence, to become a faster, more efficient runner. In particular, 180 steps per minute (spm) is often repeated as the “gold standard” for aspiration.

But that gold standard is fool’s gold. Here’s why—and better targets to aim for instead.

Instigator: Jack Daniels

no, no that Jack Daniels! The one I’m referring to is the legendary running coach Jack Daniels, who noted at the 1984 Olympics that, regardless of the distance they ran, all runners—except one—were running 180 steps or more per minute. He also noted that he All beginner and intermediate runners worked with all ran at a speed of less than 180 steps per minute.

Over the years, this observation was left unchallenged and transformed into an unquestioned principle of running (never mind that Daniels observed that runners above 180 spm, not exactly on it).

“During my high school years and even in college, the golden rule of ‘180 steps per minute’ was repeated often by my coaches and peers,” says ultra runner and running coach Christopher Cocotazlo. “It wasn’t until I began to question its basis and looked at it and the research myself that I realized it was based on a misunderstanding and twisting of the initial observations of an elite coach at an elite track meet.”

How to take off the 180 rule

There are a few main reasons why the 180 spm myth has caught on: 1. It’s easy to follow (just reach this number!) and, 2. Increasing the cadence can be quite helpful for beginner and intermediate runners as it limits over-striding.

“Landing your feet too far in front of you means your knee joint is stretched straight,” says running expert and physical therapist Leslie Williams, DPT. “It’s an awkward position, which means the muscles can’t absorb as much force.” Instead, that force then travels to the knee, he says.

When you increase your cadence, research shows that you reduce stress not only on the knees but also on the hips. You also reduce the amount of time you break your speed, so you can be more efficient.

The problem with the 180 spm rule is that it is a fixed and absolute rule that is being applied to a dynamic and relative spectrum. What Daniels observed is that faster runners tend to take more steps per minute, which seems obvious, but instead of the takeaway being a relative one—”increase your cadence”—it’s become a constant—”hit 180 spm.”

Imagine if a coach used the average jumping height of NBA players—about 2.5 feet—as a metric for how high an everyday basketball player should jump. Or if the average tennis serve of professionals on the World Tennis Tour (about 105 mph for women and 120 mph for men) is used as a standard for your weekend tennis player.

That coach will be ridiculed because it is inherently ridiculous. You can’t set values ​​for the average population based on the subset that’s best at it. Yet that’s exactly what happened in the race.

Is there a good rule to follow?

The most proven method to effectively improve cadence is to increase your stride by five to 10 percent per minute. This range has consistently been shown to benefit increased cadence – reduced load and stress through lower body joints, reduced braking impulse, improved running efficiency – while Does not significantly increase energy costs. In other words, you can reap the benefits without exhausting yourself.

“In my experience, the five to 10 percent rules are easy enough to follow and don’t focus on unnecessarily strict rules,” says Cocotazlo. “This reinforces the importance of gradual progress, which both helps with adopting a new cadence and can reduce the risk of injury.”

Remember that adopting a new running strategy will not be an easy process. If there are runs where you don’t quite hit your mark, that’s okay! Just keep working on it.

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