What Is Cadence In Running?

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What Is Cadence? 

Cadence is defined as the number of steps taken per minute when running. This number varies from person to person, but the average cadence for distance runners is around 180 steps per minute. For sprinters, the average cadence is closer to 200-220 steps per minute.

An easy way to measure your cadence is by counting how many times one foot hits the ground in 15 seconds, then multiplying that number by four to get your total steps per minute. 

Why Does Cadence Matter? 

Cadence matters because it helps you optimize your form while running. When you run with a higher cadence, it forces you to take shorter strides which decreases the amount of time each foot spends on the ground—this reduces the impact on the body and can help prevent injuries like shin splints or plantar fasciitis.

Running with a higher cadence also helps increase speed over long distances since each stride covers less ground than if you were taking longer strides with slower leg turnover. Finally, higher cadences can help improve breathing efficiency since each stride will require less effort from your lungs and heart, giving them more time for recovery between strides. 

How Can I Increase My Cadence? 

If you want to increase your cadence, you can use several strategies depending on your fitness level and experience level as a runner. Beginners may find it helpful to start by using music or podcasts with steady beats—the beat of the music will serve as a reminder not to slow down or speed up too much during runs.

More experienced runners may want to focus on short bursts of quickening their pace—for example, if they feel themselves slowing down, they should aim for 10-15 seconds of faster leg turnover before returning to their normal pace.

Remember that all runners should focus on keeping their upper body relaxed while running—tense upper bodies lead to slower leg turnover rates, so relaxing those muscles will help keep your legs moving quickly.


Cadence plays an important role in any training program—it helps optimize form while reducing the impact on the body and improving breathing efficiency and speed over long distances. By understanding how it works, runners can ensure they get the most out of every mile.

Increasing yours will take practice but can be achieved by focusing on steady beats in music or podcasts, short bursts of quickening one’s pace, and keeping an overall relaxed upper body while running.