I’ve been plagued by a nagging hip injury for the past year and a half or so. As a result, I have been carted around to several physiotherapists, chiropractors and sports med doctors (maybe up next is a fortune teller to see if my left hip will ever be trustworthy again).
My latest physiotherapist however (and I think he may be ‘the one,’ you know, the special person that finally gets me running again) was the first one to take me to the track to watch me run. “Your cadence is too slow,” he informed me after I had run a couple of laps at 10K pace. According to the app that he was tapping to track my cadence, I was taking only 150 steps per minute while the ideal running cadence (proven through the extensive analysis of elite runners) has been shown to be 180.
So, we incorporated shortening my stride and quickening my turnover into my recovery plan. This makes sense because the longer your stride is, the more impact with which you are coming down on your joints. Certainly for runners with a tendency towards hip, knee or ankle injuries, looking at running cadence is a great way to try and diagnose sources of problems.
But, changing your running style isn’t an easy task. Like most modern problems though, there’s an app for that. Here are some of the best cadence apps out there:
Audiostep allows you to select your prefered cadence from anywhere between 120-200 beats per minute and then the app makes all of your music fall into that tempo!
BeatRun also synchronizes music to cadence, as well as tracking distance, time and pace.
This cadence app can be set for either cycling or running, making it a great choice for triathletes or runners who do a significant amount of cross-training.
If you want to kick it old-school (or you also have an instrument at home), a regular metronome app will do the trick. Just set it at 180 beats per minute and get that rhythm pounded into your head.