You are reporting the following post to the moderators for review and possible removal from the forum

Smoove
RE: Another thread about 180 spm cadence. But this one is different...
I have always been in the camp of "our bodies know where they want to be" and figured that while my cadence was in that same 160-164 range on easy runs, I would leave well enough alone. I mean, before I switched to an upgraded watch 3 or so years ago, I had no idea what my cadence even was.

My injury history has not been terrible, and I think many of the injuries I have had relate more to some unusual structural issues than they do to my running form. But in my last two marathons, I suffered calf cramping in training and in the races, so I figured I would look into my stride more to see if there might be something that was resulting in lots of lower leg stress.

The University of Florida has a great sports performance lab, and that lab offers high end gait analysis using high speed cameras, a pressure plate treadmill, and body sensors; so I went to have a gait analysis done there. They test you, then they compare you to others in your demographic group who have run without an unusual incidence of injury, and compare your data to their data.

The biggest concern about a relatively low cadence is that it often suggests that a runner is over-striding. If that is the case, then you are being inefficient because there is a breaking effect with each stride as your land ahead of your center of gravity.

For me, that was not an issue. Despite a low cadence and a very long stride, I was landing pretty much below my center of gravity. But what they did find was that I had a lot of vertical oscillation in my stride - that I was "bouncy." And the result of my long stride and bounciness was that I was landing with much more force per stride than the average for my peer group - in fact, I was in the 100th percentile for impact force. That, combined with my atypical body structure (flat feet, slightly bowed legs, wide set hips) resulted in a lot of pressure on my lower legs.

So the proposed solution was to shorten my stride in an attempt to reduce the bounce and the impact on my body with each stride. It has been about a month since I had the analysis done, and I have had middling success with making changes. I went from about a 162-164 average cadence to about 168-170 or so, and from a stride length of about 1.4m to about 1.3m. It took two weeks for it to not feel weird while running, and my body is still adjusting some. I also tend to default to a lower cadence as I tire.

I will say that I am only 5' 8", but my leg length is comparable to a normally-proportioned 6' 1" person, and I am atypical in my running performances as compared to other 46 year olds, so I have some doubts as to the validity of the comparison against the control group in their database, but I figured that it was worth experimenting, and now was a good time to do it since I was coming off of a layoff after an injury and getting ready for a marathon that would require a lot of volume over the summer.

Lots of background in there, but I thought it might be interesting to hear since you are considering some changes. The bottom line is that I suspect that 6' 1" runners tend towards a 180 cadence on easy runs as much as runners of other heights. But if you don't have any significant injury issues and are not over-striding, I wouldn't worry about it too much.

Hit the submit button below if you want us to review the post.

If you feel this is urgent or want a reply, email us at [email protected] about the post and please include a link to the thread the post is on and what page number/post on that page it is.