Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cadence Drill

I'm going to sound like a broken record. Sometimes the simpliest things, are the most useful. Recent research done by the top running coaches in the world has shown that the variable that holds the highest correlation with performance is cadence or stride rate. Bio-mechanics are extremely important, but when one breaks down the film on the top performers in the sport of running, the one element that consistently has the highest relevance is stride rate. When one stops and actually thinks about it, it makes perfect sense. There's a self-fullfilling prophecy about proper stride rate. One is forced to have better bio-mechanics and form in order to maintain the proper stride rate. The general rule of thumb for stride rate is that 94 individual strikes per minute is optimal. That's either right or left foot strikes for every 60 seconds.
The wonderful element of this simple drill is that it can be incorporated into almost any run. I do it on treadmill runs, tempo runs, and general long base runs. I find that when I really focus on the proper cadence that I tend to float over the ground. At first the drill can be much more aerobically challenging. However, over time, the benefits start to sink in and the efforts become much more fluid. It's less muscularly taxing to be running properly then literally putting the brakes on every foot strike. Unfortunately, so many of us have developed the loping run stride, that is a classic over-stride. This type of stride creates more work and literally slows us down every time our feet make contact with the ground.
A visual que that one can use while running is that you never want to see you foot in front of your knee. If you can see your foot out in front of your knee, then you are overstriding.
Keep training and keep it fun.

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