Running Cadence: Is 180BPM Right For You?

shutterstock_141278242.jpgRunning. Some do it for fun, others for competition. For many it is the primary activity associated with their chosen sport and for some an uncomfortable and at times painful strategy toward weight loss. FootNotes Publishing has looked a lot at running within the last 12 months including; strike patterns and injury, foot strike and performance and running economy.
In the following short article, we look at the idea of running cadence and the impact that can have on injury to the lower limb in running.

It has been found that between 56 – 90% of those training for a marathon will sustain an injury at some time during their training period (Heiderscheit, Chumanov, Michalski, Wille, & Ryan, 2011). There are many factors which can contribute to these injuries and the factors which may pose a problem are highlighted here:


Strike Patterns:



A popular running theory touted in a number of specialist magazines and running blogs has been the promotion of a cadence of 180bpm. Obviously, this is quite a rounded and general number and does not account for individual differences within the population.
Lyght, Nockerts, Kernozek, & Ragan, found that a progressive transition in the change of step frequency and consequential foot strike of a runners naturally chosen cadence to +/- 5% significantly reduced the peak forces experienced by the achillies.
Similarly, (Heiderscheit, Chumanov, Michalski, Wille, & Ryan, 2011), found that by increasing step rate and decreasing step length there was a significant reduction in vertical Centre of Mass velocity and less eccentric energy absorption at ground contact. Despite the increase of ground contact moments there was seen to be less likelihood of lower limb injury.
Despite the obvious procedural differences among the literature it appears an increase in step rate and a decrease in stride length can reduce influence toward injury of a number of biomechanical factors associated with running (Schubert, Kempf, & Heiderscheit, 2013)

This is only a short article, as it feels like we have covered much of the material over and over again. It is important that the other factors outside of step frequency are taken into consideration and assessed before making a decision on changing someone’s running technique. The change in technique leads to loading of other tissue away from an injured area and as such those tissues must be able to handle the forces which are being directed toward them.

Until Next Time

Jackson McCosker
Director/ Chief Editor

Allen, D. (2013). Treatment of Distal illiotibial Band Syndrome in a Long Distance Runner with Gait Retraining Emphazing Step-Rate Manipulation: A Case Report. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 126.

Heiderscheit, B., Chumanov, E., Michalski, M., Wille, C., & Ryan, M. (2011). Effects of Step Rate Manipulation on Joint Mechanics During Running. Medicine & Science in Sports , 296 – 302.

Lyght, M., Nockerts, M., Kernozek, T., & Ragan, R. (n.d.). Effects of Foot Strike Pattern and Step Frequency on Achilles Tendon Stress During Running. La Crosse: University of Wisconsin .

Schubert, A., Kempf, J., & Heiderscheit, B. (2013). Influence of Strde Frequency and Length on Running Mechanics: A Systematic Review. Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach.




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