Running Series Part 3: Stride/Cadence

Common problems runners can run into (HA) are knee pain, shin splints, back pain, etc. If you are having these issues, please get assessed by your friendly neighbourhood physiotherapist. Here are a couple general tips I tell people to minimize pain while running, beginning with adjusting your stride.

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Disclaimer: everyone’s bodies are different, and this is only meant to be a general overview.

There’s a bit of a hot debate in the physio world of the ideal foot strike pattern when running (this is how your foot lands when you are about to take your next step). I think instead of stressing about joint alignment or how to pull up your toes when you run, a better piece of advice is to adjust your cadence.

Your cadence is your RPM (revolutions per minute) or how many times your feet hit the ground in a minute with your running form. The ideal number ranges from 150-180 a minute. The best piece of advice I can give without assessing a running stride in clinic is to count yourself how many times your feet hit the ground in a minute so that you know your base level cadence. From there, I would aim at increasing 25% to start. When I first started running I was sitting at a real pretty 115.

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A smaller RPM is an issue because it means your taking a longer stride in your run. This means you are most likely landing on your heel, increasing the load and force on your knees and hips. If you increase your cadence, you decrease your stride, and your foot strike will adjust accordingly. Some helpful cues I give people are to “try land softly on your feet” or to picture running with a band around your knees that you need to lightly push out into. The easiest way to try adjusting your cadence is to run with a metronome app on your phone. Set the BPM for the RPM you are aiming for, and let your feet hit at each beat. There are even running playlists with ideal BPMs! Fun fact: Rhianna – Cheers (I’ll drink to that) is a 160 BPM song, and I think a perfect message to end this blog post. Get your run on friends!

Cheers

 

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