The question of frequency and length of steps is studied either because of the lack of comfort in running, because of injury, or in order to improve the sports performance.
As practice shows, there is no obvious correlation between injuries and cadence in marathon runners, so this point can be left alone. And to prevent injuries, it is necessary to study the landing technique more deeply. As for the well-being of the athlete and the possibility to increase the speed of running, cadence has a direct relation to it.
For competitive marathon runners, this is the main reason for the whole undertaking of researching the possibilities and optimizing the performance of their own biomechanical complex.
Running speed = length of steps x frequency of steps.
This simple equation captures the essence of running. In order to run faster, we need to increase either the cadence or the distance from one landing point to the other. Better yet, we need to do both.
Professional athletes run at the maximum possible frequency and length of steps. Nevertheless, they are in a balanced ratio and do not exceed the body’s ability to maintain a given pace for a long time. That is why the cadence of the elite does not fall below 180 steps per minute, but rarely exceeds 210 steps/minute.
Not because experts in biomechanics and sports physiology decided so, but because the body (especially the CPS) prepared by training can work with such figures, achieving maximum speed and maintaining it for a long time.
Some theories of running, such as chi running, argue that to increase tempo, it is only necessary to increase stride length while keeping stride frequency constant. These theories diverge from practice and from the opinion of most top athletes, who say that the best and most effective option is to increase both parameters.
In some cases (in confirmation of the ci-theory) you can hear that the elite run almost without changing the cadence, but only by playing with the length of the stride. But the word “almost” is key, because if you consider that the stride length in marathons is close to a couple of meters, then changing the cadence by two or three steps per minute can leave you far behind in the short term.
When talking about professionals, amateur runners try to structure and adopt their technique, reasoning about its obvious effectiveness. In reality, however, the main priority in modern training is the individual characteristics of the track and field athlete.
Of course, there are the basic, basic principles, the staging of movements, and everything else, but this is not used to fundamentally change the biomechanics, but only to slightly adjust and supplement it. An experienced eye can easily notice how different the technique is among the elite.
The same applies to the frequency of steps together with the length. In races, the pros run differently: some focus on cadence and some on frequency. But in any case, the basic principle remains the same and both parameters are increased to increase the pace, which is especially noticeable in the finish sprint.
Длина бегового шага
This is a completely individual value related to the height of the person and to the length of the legs in particular. In short distance running, the stride length of a sprinter can very approximately be deduced from the formula:
1,20 x рост (в см).
An alternative formula uses a coefficient of 1.35. It is, of course, difficult to apply to long distances, even to professionals in asphalt, but a stride length of 1.8 meters for men and 1.4 meters for women is quite common in both the ten and the marathon.
The other side of this question is what to increase the distance between the landing points? Beginners often encounter this problem and, first of all, they try to bring their shin further forward. At the same time they stick the heel of the straightened foot into the running surface.
As we know, the main problem of running from the heel is formed when the landing on it is far in front of the center of gravity, not in the heel itself or anything else.
In more correct marathon running technique, only the knee is brought forward and the lower leg continues to move by inertia. And the touching of the ground takes place as close as possible to the center of gravity of the body, and the foot spends in contact with the surface for as short a time as possible.
If you take into account these nuances, we can say that the length of the running stride increases due to the activity of the pushing leg and the angle of separation of the thighs.
Do I have to worry about the cadence?
No. There is no need for this if you are running for your health and don’t go beyond the heart rate zone of heart health. Moreover, even for competitive amateur runners, you should put comfort and well-being first, before frequency and stride length.
The only thing to avoid is a blatant sticking, that is, keeping the foot on the surface for too long. The treadwheel must be spinning, otherwise the movement will be jumping from bump to bump, like on a swamp.
In general, according to statistics, the average amateur cadence is 164 steps per minute. And this is considered a normal frequency that does not require adjustment.
When it comes to competing for times, prizes and medals, working on a running speed formula is undoubtedly the most important point of preparation.
In this case, the metronome is most often used. For example, in the form of an app on a mobile device. The methodology varies slightly, but the most prevailing idea is to gradually increase the frequency of steps over a long period of time (month, year) and is applied when there is already a ready initial base with endurance, oxygen exchange, etc.