Monday, December 10, 2012
A good article for folks that focus on the 180 steps per minute. Be careful as it is often over simplified. Speed is a combo of stride rate and length and, what is often disregarded, is the pace at which the spm were counted. Jack Daniels measured the 180 which has become religion with elite runners at tempo pace. I see runners out take these extremely short baby steps, however, you can only increase your cadence by 5-10% as there's a point where you can take as many steps as you like but you'll quickly max out. You can't disregard stride length and, regardless of what you hear, both stride rate and length increase as you get faster and it's the same for the vast majority of elite runners.
This issue is the point in time in which we analyze elite runners. It's one thing to watch a runner at 5:30 min. pace increase to 5:00 pace as they were already flying at the 5:30 pace :). It's another to take a runner at a 9:30 warm-up pace and compare that to a 9:00 pace or 5:00 pace. The fact is many elite runners are in the 160-170 range at slower paces (8:00 - 9:00 pace). I tested myself on the treadmill and at a 9:30 pace, I'm around 164. At that pace, if I try to force a 180 stride rate, not only does it feel wrong, it's inefficient especially for my body type as a slightly taller runner. I don't hit 180 strides per minute until I'm around the 6:45 pace range and I'm around 184-186 at the 6:15 pace range. The 6:00 min. mile is basically my aerobic threshold (although I can hold 5:45 for a 5k) and at that pace, I'm around 186-188 strides per minute. My point is to keep the 180 gospel in perspective.
Remember, you can have too long a stride but you can also have too short a stride (both can be inefficient):
Posted by - at 10:10 AM