Running Cadence: how many steps should I be taking?


Running Cadence

We have recently been having in-services at work based around running techniques.  One aspect of running that is important to take note of is running cadence.


Running cadence is the total number of steps that you take per minute of running.

The ideal running cadence is 180+ per minute.


How do I figure out my running cadence?

  • Counting: Simply count how many steps you take over a one minute period of running. Easy, simple and requires no equipment! This may be a bit hard to concentrate and get accurate.  Another easy way to count every step for 10 secs and x by 6.


  • Cadence Coach App: This is a simple and easy to use app that you can download onto your phone. All you have to do is pick a distance to run over – this doesn’t need to be far, it can be your driveway, your living room, your garden, basically anywhere! Once you know where you are running, grab a friend and open the app for them. Then get them to simply tap your phone screen every time your feet hit the ground as you run the length of your driveway. That’s it – it is that easy! Then the app works out what your running cadence is for you.


How do I improve my running cadence?

Running cadence isn’t always the easiest thing to improve as we found out when we tried with each other at work.  Initially, we just ran faster over the same distance but didn’t increase our cadence.  Eventually, we tried different cues and found that we all responded to different ones.

Here are a few tips for you to try out to improve your cadence to achieve that magic 180 mark.

  • Forward lean: Keeping your trunk forward and your momentum forward can naturally help improve your cadence. It also helps prevent over striding (landing with your foot in front of your body). To improve your forward lean, think about leaning from your ankles. Think forward and your body should follow you.
  • Increase the speed of your arm swing: focus on a smaller, stronger and faster arm swing that drives from behind you. This means that your feet then have to speed up to match the speed of your arms.
  • Midfoot landing: Try thinking about landing in the middle of your foot when you plant your foot on the ground. Try and avoid heel striking – this usually means you are striding out too much and leads a lower running cadence.

It is important to remember that you don’t want to increase your cadence to 180 or above all in one go.  Our bodies can only cope with gradual changes while our tendons get used to a new load.  Try and just increase it by 5 steps a minute to start with and get used to running like that.  Then try another 5 a week or two later.

Give it a go at home and let us know how you get on. If you are still struggling to improve your cadence book an appointment and pop in and see us in the clinic – happy running!