Sunday, April 25, 2010

Improve Your Run Cadence with this Simple Trick!

Your run cadence is one of the biggest determining factors of your run speed and ability. Most athletes give it lip service, not realizing that a slow cadence means slow pace. If you want to improve your run cadence, (keeping it ideally in the 90's), then you should use some simple technology which may already have.

If you have a Garmin, or some type of speed-distance device with a foot-pod, (Suunto, Polar, etc), like the one in this image below, you have all you need to improve your cadence in only a matter of a few weeks!

Simply take your watch, and set the screen so the only thing you see on it is your cadence. It helps to take away your pre-conceived notions about pace and intensity, and let's you simply focus on ONE, SINGLE ASPECT of your running technique.

Checking your cadence by counting every few minutes won't do as well as this, because when you are counting your steps you will likely cheat and focus on it more, even if you don't mean to. The point is to make it a natural habit, not just when you focus on it.

One of my athletes came up with this idea, as we have been working on his cadence, and it has done wonders for him. If you have a GPS or foot-pod compatible watch, invest in the foot-pod and do this a few times per week. You'll be impressed with the difference a few weeks of focusing on cadence can do for you!

Coach Vance


kxux said...

I agree cadence in running is important. I worked on this very hard about a year ago and it was very good for my running.

Just a technical note - only Garmin and Polar (specifically S3) foot pods capture cadence. The one shown on the picture is from Suunto and that one does not capture cadence.

Jim Vance said...

Thanks for the clarification, good to know. I am a big fan of Garmin, especially the 310XT, as it can do GPS detection for speed-distance, and just use the foot-pod for cadence, or use the foot-pod entirely if an athlete is going to use a treadmill.

Jay said...

Does the Garmin 305 have the ability to add a footpod?

Jim Vance said...


Yes the 305 does offer a foot-pod as well, with this capability.


Chris said...

Kxux is correct, Suunto does not support cadence with their footpod which is one my only complaints about their otherwise fantastic product. Also, if you're going to buy a new Garmin footpod remember that there are several different "generations" of the device. The latest is the third generation, it's the one you want. It is much smaller and has much better battery life than the previous two models:
First Gen: 010-10818-00
Second Gen: 010-10998-00
Third Gen: 010-11092-00
Check out this discussion for lots of details about the differences: