Improving Run Cadence ‚Äì Strides and Plyometrics

Focus on doing the drills and improving each week. Eventually you will go out for a run, look down, and see that your pace has improved, your heart rate is lower, and your cadence is over 90 rpm.
Run cadence, distance per stroke, and cycling cadence are all key factors when determining efficiency in triathletes. In the pool we try to lower the number of strokes we take in order to lengthen out our swim stroke. On the bike we try to maintain a cadence of 85-95 rpm in order to keep our legs turning over quickly. Run cadence actually closely matches cycling cadence, as the most efficient athletes try to maintain that 90 rpm cadence.
In order to improve your run cadence there are a few things you can do. First off you should know what your cadence is now. Go to a track or a long straight flat path or trail, and count off how many steps you take in 30 seconds. This is your run cadence, or how many run cycles you take per minute of running. Improving this number or bringing it over 90 rpm is done by running what we call ‘strides’ or ‘pick ups’.
Once again find a nice long flat to downhill stretch of a path, trail or un-congested road and run pretty quick for 20-30 seconds. Now, walk or slowly jog back to the start and repeat this about 4-10 times. Over time you will see your cadence will quicken, you will be lighter on your feet, and your run times will improve.
Another way to improve your run cadence is by applying plyometric drills into your training. There are drills that help you improve coordination and body awareness and help you develop ?quick feet.? A few examples of plyometric drills are one leg hopping, two leg hopping (both can be done for distance and height), skipping (for distance and height), and jumping rope. A good set to improve your cadence would be:
* run 10 minutes to warm up and end at a field where you can do your drills.
* one leg hops 20-30 times (for distance)
* two leg hops 20-30 times (for distance)
* one leg hops 20-30 times (for height)
* two leg hops 20-30 times (for height)
* 6√ó100 yd skipping for distance (walk back to the start)
* 6√ó100 yd skipping for height (walk back to the start)
* jump rope 10 minutes
* run 8√ó100 yds quickly, walk back to the start
Cooling Down and the Next Day
Get a nice 10 minute cool down and stretch properly. The next day you will be tired, so do an easy workout for recovery. When you first start to do these drills, I would advise not wearing a HRM, as your HR will be high and it really isn?t important in a workout such as this. Focus on doing the drills and improving each week. Eventually you will go out for a run, look down, and see that your pace has improved, your heart rate is lower, and your cadence is over 90 rpm. Good luck on your quest!