It’s important to note that different runners have different leg lengths, so the best running cadence will vary across the board rather than being one number that every runner should follow. For that reason, we’ll discuss a range of cadences rather than any specific number. An ideal cadence for runners is typically between 170 to 180 steps per minute, or 85 to 90 steps per minute on one leg, depending on how you measure. For the purposes of this article, we’ll stick to steps per minute on one leg.
Most of us don’t put a lot of thought into the way we walk or run, it comes naturally, and our bodies flow naturally within its own movement. But, if we take the extra effort to think about the way our feet strike the ground, or the length of our steps, we could save our bodies from unnecessary pain or injury and spend more time enjoying our run.
When you take quicker, shorter steps, you shift your center of gravity and reduce braking forces with every footfall. This creates a less pronounced heel strike and a more fluid running stride. You prevent your knees from taking on excessive load forces and you reduce injuries related to over-striding (e.g. hamstring strains).