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Use Music To Improve Your Run Cadence

  • By Paul Moore
  • Published February 11, 2011
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Want to work on quickening your stride? All you need is a new play list … and maybe a little bit of rhythm.

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Written By Jene Shaw
To increase your running efficiency and speed, you should develop a consistent metronomic cadence. The higher your turnover rate (steps taken per minute), the less time you spend in the air—which in turn reduces impact and lowers your risk of injury.

Test your current cadence by counting your right foot strikes for 60 seconds during an easy run. Multiply that by two. If you’re right around 180, you’re at an optimal stride rate. If you fall below that average—like most of us—you can work on your cadence using music as a tool.

Marathon world-record holder Haile Gebrselassie has famously used music (specifically the song “Scatman” by Scatman John) to lock in his optimal stride rate, and research has shown that carefully selected music can actually enhance endurance by 15 per cent.

These songs are all close to that sweet spot of 180 beats per minute. Simply match your feet to the beat to teach your body what an optimal cadence feels like. If you’re just starting out it may feel pretty fast, so aim to focus on your stride only during the chorus and then work your way up to full songs.

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Paul Moore

Paul Moore

Paul Moore is the Online Editor for Triathlete Europe. When not glued to a computer he can be found writing books - most recently Ultra Performance: The Psychology of Endurance Sports and The World's Toughest Endurance Challenges. Both are available on Amazon. Paul has also written Ultimate Triathlon: A complete training guide for long-distance triathletes which is also available on Amazon.