Fitness Data Freak
Michal Ozogán

What is a running cadence and how to track it

What is a running cadence and how to track it

Running cadence is a number of steps that you will do in one minute. It is common to recommend to keep it about 180. Even that this value can be applied in a vacuum only, it is good to keep your cadence in higher levels. More steps in a minute mean that you are running more effectively.

180 steps in a minute could seem like a high number. Especially if you run in slower pace. That is why you can’t take this number as holy. If you choose to run slowly, cadence will be lower and if you choose a really fast tempo, your cadence could be higher than 200.

Don’t stick to 180 for every cost. But have in a mind that higher cadence will help you to avoid long elephant steps.

To compare your cadence with others, look at MilestonePod global statistics. Average cadence in tempo 4 min/km is 172 and in tempo 7 min/km it is 156.

How to track cadence

Times, when you had to count your cadence in your head, are gone. Today you can use a regular smartphone. I think that the best application for cadence is Strava because you can pick your mobile phone as a cadence sensor. You can see it the image:

Strava, cadence sensor

The simple step counter is integrated into Android and iOS and it can be used by any app developer. That is why it’s the surprise for me that the phone as a sensor cannot be used in Endomondo. I wasn’t even able to pair some Bluetooth cadence sensor.

Same weir attitude has Fitbit. Its device it actually complex step counter but it will not show you cadence for your runs. You can count it by yourself from Fitbit data but it is really not comfortable.

The last option, if you don’t count smart bands, are shoe pods which are most precise. I have MilestonePod which is cheap and allows me to look at my cadence minute by minute and on the relation with pace. I wrote an article about my experiences with MilestonePod.

MilestonePod cadence view

How to increase your cadence

Don’t increase your cadence by increasing the speed. That’s not the point. Do small steps. How to achieve it? Besides strong will you can use technology. You can download some metronome to your phone and launch it before your run. Regular rhythm will help you to find ideal cadence.

The first logical question is, which cadence level choose? Measure your steps per minute first and then change it. You don’t want to be at 160 and suddenly jump to 180. Little by little. Step by step… Always take into account your pace. You don’t need to aim to 180 in a slow pace.

I use Natural Metronome, which is simple and sufficient. BPM will be your cadence and I recomend you to set “Betas per bar” on 2. It will differ sound of metronome for left and right foot.


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