Life is like music; it must be composed by ear, feeling, and instinct, not by rule.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

180 stride rate test

So it was too cold to run outside, so I headed for the treadmill for an easy run and decided to calculate my stride rate (for the heck of it).  This wasn't a race pace workout so my fastest pace was 6:42:

Pace     Stride Rate (average)
10:00    156-158
9:00      164-166
8:00      172-174
7:00      176
6:42      178-180

You'll hear may folks say that 180 strides per minute so stay consistent regardless of pace.  This is largely a lie and inaccurate.  I'm sure a few runners do but many runners will increase stride rate (and length) as they increase pace.  As reported by Steve Magness, here's some date from top NCAA runners at UTEP:

Pace     Stride Rate
7:40      175.68
6:43      181.76
5:58      185.82
5:22      191.83
4:58      196.93

Given that, I'm quite satisfied with my 178-180 strides per minute at 6:42 pace.  My 5k race pace is slightly sub 6:00 pace so it's safe to say, I would be over the 180 threshold.  Even Steve Magness (very accomplished runner in his own right) reported the following after testing himself:

Pace     Stride Rate
7:30      166
5:00      192-198

So why is there such a focus on the "180 stride rate?"  Well, because many recreational runner over-stride and that causes many problems and ultimately injuries.  However, after you achieve a certain level of competence with respect to your stride, you can start to focus on strength length and becoming an even more efficient runner.  Remember, the "180" comes from analysis provided by legendary coach Jack Daniels but he was analyzing elite level runners at tempo pace.  Many elite Kenyan runners has been measured as low as the mid 160's while warming up but they are all largely over 180 "at tempo pace," and that's the key.

There's nothing wrong with forcing shorter and quicker strides while learning to run but you'll hit a level of competence where a baby steps not only feel wrong but are inefficient and instead of over-striding, you will under-stride and that can also causes issues.

Remember, keep it in perspective.


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