General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Running Cadence for tall people (6'6+) Rss Feed  
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2007-03-08 3:28 PM

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Subject: Running Cadence for tall people (6'6+)
Just wondering from all you running experts whether running cadence is a relative figure or is 90+ strides per/min the perfect figure regardless of leg length etc. At the moment I am running at about 80 and really strugglng to bump it up higher.....


2007-03-08 4:40 PM
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Subject: RE: Running Cadence for tall people (6'6+)

jclsmith - 2007-03-08 1:28 PM Just wondering from all you running experts whether running cadence is a relative figure or is 90+ strides per/min the perfect figure regardless of leg length etc. At the moment I am running at about 80 and really strugglng to bump it up higher.....

My understanding is that it height doesn't matter.  It should be around 90 regardless.  Now everyone is a little different and you optimum might be a little higher or lower, but 90 is a good refrence point.

My turn over is a bit slow as well... I need to bump it up. 

Oh and I'm by no means an expert  

2007-03-08 4:44 PM
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Subject: RE: Running Cadence for tall people (6'6+)

I've heard the same thing, but it doesn't make sense to me.  I'm 5'2" and, on my good days, run like a chihuahua. 

Maybe somebody on here who is more informed than I can 'splain again why 90 is still the target, whether you're my height or 14 inches taller.  ??

2007-03-08 6:39 PM
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Subject: RE: Running Cadence for tall people (6'6+)
CitySky - 2007-03-08 4:44 PM

I've heard the same thing, but it doesn't make sense to me.  I'm 5'2" and, on my good days, run like a chihuahua. 

Maybe somebody on here who is more informed than I can 'splain again why 90 is still the target, whether you're my height or 14 inches taller.  ??



Same reason as bike cadence no matter the size of the bike.
2007-03-09 1:33 PM
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Subject: RE: Running Cadence for tall people (6'6+)
My testing has shown that taller runners need the same high turnover as shorter runners. Slower turnover increases the need for vertical displacement (up and down movement), increases use of the sprint muscle fibers (which don't have good endurance), and reduces the energy return of elastic recoil.

Learn more about this in my book The Triathlete's Guide to Run Training or my DVD Evolution Running: Run Faster with Fewer Injuries (www.EvolutionRunning.com). An exerpt from an article explains in more detail below.

Ken

Elite runners of any height and leg length, generally run with a cadence between 180 and 182 steps per minute. Watch the lead pack in a road race the next time you get the opportunity. You will be amazed at the incredible synchronicity of the runner’s strides. Efficient runners of significantly different height and leg length consistently chose almost identical turnover rates. Why would a 6’2” professional runner use the same turnover rate and significantly shorter stride length (proportionate to height) than a 5’4” runner?

The first answer lies in the nature of the elastic responses of human tissue. At a given pace, longer strides mean more contact time with the ground. This reduces the benefit of elastic recoil, causing the muscles to contract more forcefully. Even though a taller runner’s legs may be longer, his elastic tissues respond just like shorter runners’. As discussed earlier, when human tissue is stretched and held, the stored energy dissipates and less energy is returned as elastic recoil. The taller runner must take strides that are proportionally shorter (compared to leg length) in order to keep contact time between the feet and ground short to enable the energy return from elastic recoil.

The second reason is that a longer stride necessitates greater vertical displacement. If I wanted to throw a baseball 20 feet, I could basically throw it on a straight line without much arc. To throw the ball 50 yards, however, I would have to arc it upward, because gravity would have a long time to act on the ball. In the same way, running with long strides forces runners to move up and down more than shorter strides.

Longer strides require the muscles to contract more forcefully. First of all, to cover 20% more ground, even with optimal efficiency 20% more force at push-off would be required. Factoring in the need for vertical displacement and the loss of power from elastic recoil, and the increase in force required at push-off is staggering.

Contracting muscles more forcefully fatigues them far more than contracting them frequently with less force. Each of our muscles is made up of thousands of different muscle fibers. These muscle fibers fall into two basic categories (though there are also several sub-categories), slow-twitch and fast-twitch. Fast-twitch fibers are tremendously powerful, but fatigue very quickly. Slow twitch muscle fibers have tremendous endurance, but are not very powerful. One major problem with taking long strides is that the slow-twitch fibers are not able to provide the majority of the power required for push-off and the fast-twitch fibers are required to contribute significantly. Running with longer strides and slower turnover requires much more power at push-off than the slow-twitch fibers can produce. This means the fast-twitch, sprint muscle fibers must contract to make up the difference, which leads to lactic acid accumulation and premature fatigue.

Running with a slow turnover requires increased vertical displacement, greater contact time with the ground, and more forceful contractions at push-off, all of which impair economy and lead to local muscular fatigue and greater risk of injuries. Improving this aspect of technique pays big dividends.

Our research shows that, for durations of the range of triathlon race durations, optimal turnover is about 180 – 182 steps per minute, regardless of running speed. This is considerably higher turnover than most runners naturally use, especially on long, slow runs.


2007-03-09 1:39 PM
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Subject: RE: Running Cadence for tall people (6'6+)

How fast do you run?

I always thought that 90 cycles/min was pretty universal, but Dave Scott (yes, that Dave Scott) told me it's a bit rate dependant. If you're running slower than 8:30/mile, you should be closer to 85.



2007-03-09 2:16 PM
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Subject: RE: Running Cadence for tall people (6'6+)
Out of curiosity, do you have any published studies that demonstrate what you're talking about, Ken?  I would be interested in reading those.
2007-03-09 3:18 PM
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Subject: RE: Running Cadence for tall people (6'6+)
Ken I love your run book. I have the mental training one also. My run is improving everyday.
2007-03-09 4:44 PM
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Subject: RE: Running Cadence for tall people (6'6+)
My research hasn't been published in a peer-reviewed journal, but I do own a laboratory and we consistently found both lower oxygen consumption and higher lactate threshold running speed with turnover at 180+ once the athlete had time to adapt (this will not necessarily be true in the short term).

Ken
2007-03-10 7:52 AM
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Subject: RE: Running Cadence for tall people (6'6+)

"I'm 5'2" and, on my good days, run like a chihuahua..."

That's a great visual - put a smile on my face! 

2007-03-10 12:58 PM
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Subject: RE: Running Cadence for tall people (6'6+)
atleast 85 would be good but if you can get it to 90 that is great. I found even to do 90 I would be running 10 min mile and presently my heart can not take that speed so I have settle down to 85 or so. I really should watch it though.


2007-03-11 12:23 AM
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Subject: RE: Running Cadence for tall people (6'6+)

KenMierke - 2007-03-09 3:44 PM My research hasn't been published in a peer-reviewed journal, but I do own a laboratory and we consistently found both lower oxygen consumption and higher lactate threshold running speed with turnover at 180+ once the athlete had time to adapt (this will not necessarily be true in the short term). Ken

Wow Ken! Welcome to BT . . . though it looks like you've got a few posts under your belt. Nice to 'see' you without your sunglasses on.

(I'm a big fan of Evolution Running)

I'm 6'3" and though not a speedster yet can completely vouch for the 90 candence thing (like Ken needs my endorsement).

Seriously, your research/training is the bomb. Thanks Ken.

2007-03-11 7:24 AM
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Subject: RE: Running Cadence for tall people (6'6+)
Just did some quick figures and based on training runs I average about 8 min/mile (5 min/k) with a cadence of 80 in a race the speed comes down to about 7 min/mile (not sure about cadence as counting is the furtherest thing on my mind) so no doubt I should some increase in performance if I can bump up my cadence to 90.....time to start working on it
2007-03-11 10:44 AM
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Subject: RE: Running Cadence for tall people (6'6+)
I did my first marathon this last Dec. When I started training, my cadence was around 78-80. I used the Tempo Trainer to slowly increase it. It took about 3 months to get were I was comfortable with a cadence of 90. It really shoots your HR up initially, but you will adapt.
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