Running speed is a combination of 2 factors – your stride length and frequency of strides (running cadence). To increase your speed, either one of these factors must increase.
What Is Running Cadence?
Running cadence is how many times your foot strikes the ground in a minute. Ideally, your running cadence should be at 180 – 200. To get faster, it is better to focus on increasing your running cadence instead of your stride length. This is because trying to increase your stride length can lead to overstriding issues which can lead to an unwanted injury.
A higher stride rate is also more ideal because of the force that helps propel you forward. If you spend too much time floating in the air, it decreases the amount of force pushing you forward. Your energy is spent on pushing yourself upwards, instead of propelling yourself forward which is the main goal.
Here are 3 ways you can help up your running cadence in order to help you run faster timings:-
#1 Use A Metronome
A metronome is a device that has a predetermined number of beats per minute. You can play the rhythm while running and just run to the beat. This is great because you don’t have to focus on counting your steps yourself, you just concentrate on making sure your foot strikes the ground at every beat. Some people may find a metronome tune a little monotonous. The great news is these days, there are music tunes set to a specified number of beats.
#2 Downhill Sprints
Running downhill helps your legs train for a faster turnover. Your legs tend to cycle faster during downhill portions. Look for a downhill and do 100m sprint repeats and jog back up to recover. You can do 8 – 10 sets. Bear in mind to keep a high stride rate and not increasing your stride length. Your body should also be in an upright position throughout.
#3 Fast Cadence Drills
Running drills can help you train your feet to move light and quick, which in turn helps you increase your running cadence. Examples of these running drills include – baby jogs, butt kicks, and high knees. You want to be moving as fast as you can in the 1 minute you are doing these drills. Thereafter, you can finish off with some striding drills. Strides are running at 80 – 90 percent of your maximum effort. You should run for about 80 meters, 6 – 8 sets. Allow yourself to fully recover between each set. The focus is on the turnover of your feet and form.