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“Why is everyone in a rage over increasing stride rate? Because as I’ve pointed out before, most recreational runners simply overstride, which artificially creates a very low stride rate. Why? Because the foot lands so far out in front of the Center of Mass that it takes a while for your body to be over it and ready to push off. So, when some running form coach says to increase stride rate to X, what ends up happening is the runner is trying so hard to increase stride rate, he chops his stride a bunch by putting his foot down earlier and landing Nike Air Vapormax Dames closer to his center of mass, thus decreasing the overstriding. Nothing particularly wrong with that.Where we go wrong is in the logic that the stride rate increase is the key. No, it’s not. It’s the elimination of the overstriding. Using the cue to increase stride rate is a way for coaches/runners to reduce the heel striking overstride.”The point that Steve is trying to make is that overstriding is the evil we are trying to correct by manipulating cadence. In other words, increasing cadence is not the goal in and of itself, rather, it is a means to achieve the goal of eliminating the overstride. What is overstriding? Defined simply, it is running in such a way that you reach forward with the lower leg and land heavily on the heel (usually) with an extended knee. The four images below all show overstriding in runners recorded at Nike Air Max 270 Femme the 10K mark of the 2009 Manchester City Marathon – all four depict the exact moment of first contact between the foot and the ground.What we ultimately want is to avoid reaching out with the lower leg, and by doing so thus prevent landing on the heel with an extended knee. Ryan Hall from the 17.5 mile mark of the 2010 Boston Marathon provides a good example of a non-overstriding gait with a midfoot landing, a bent knee at contact, and a more-or-less vertical lower legCurrent thinking is that increasing cadence helps to reduce overstriding because it forces you to put the foot down faster and closer to the center of gravity. Amby also discusses this in his post, saying “Dicharry believes load-rate is important, but not necessarily footstrike. He simply wants runners to be wary of overstriding, i.e., running with a low stride rate that results in placing the foot ahead of the center of mass.” In other words, reaching with the leg is bad, and increasing cadence can help us avoid doing that. Let me repeat – overstriding is what we are trying to prevent by manipulating cadence. If you don’t overstride, manipulating cadence might not be wise or necessary.Regarding the observation mentioned above from Max Donelan that increased stride rate is usually correlated with increased stride length, my guess is that increased length might be due to greater hip extension on the back side rather than by reaching out front when we up cadence. I may need to get my camera fired up in order to experiment with this hypothesis – more reason for my neighbors to think I’m nuts!Regarding speed, it seems pretty clear that stride length and stride rate interact to increase running speed. Which of the two is relied on as the primary mechanism may vary somewhat from person to person, and with different speed ranges.As so often happens with me, when I start mulling something like this, I feel the need to experiment on myself. I have a Wahoo Footpod that syncs with my Garmin Forerunner 305 and outputs stride rate in real-time, so I’ve been monitoring my cadence on my runs of late to see what I do out on the road. I’ve noticed that my cadence fluctuates right around 186 strides/min over a fairly wide range of speeds, from about 7:00/mile up to about 9:00/mile. However, when I push faster than a 7:00 pace, my stride rate ticks up, and I’ve seen it go as high as 200 when I really start to push the pace. What this tells me is that for most of my easy pace running, I regulate speed by changing stride length, but when I want to go fast, I increase my turnover and jack up the cadence. I was never aware of this until I actually measured it. For visual proof, below is a graph from a recent run showing cadence over the course of a 7 mile run – can you spot the two times I pushed the pace below 7:00 min/mile?