Today, I would like to talk to you about running at a rate of 180 steps per minute with all the advantages that this entails. Improving your running technique to be more efficient is possible. And running at 180 steps per minute has been proven to be the most significant evolution. And if I am 100% convinced by this, it is simply because I have been there.
For a long time I ran at a rate of between 155 and 160 steps per minute. And when I became interested in improving my running pace, progress came with it! If you want to follow this evolution, I will tell you about it in this article. And to understand why the 180 steps per minute is the ideal running rate, I'll explain it to you right away.
A 180-pitch cadence is ideal?
In terms of biomechanics, running at a rate of 180 steps per minute would be ideal (at +/- 10 steps per minute), this is unanimously accepted by scientists, coaches and runners. It is not for nothing that professional athletes all run around 180 steps per minute. First I watched a lot of videos on Youtube and that's a fact. The vast majority of them are running at this rate. We don't have time to see her on the video I put below, but watching Haile Gebrselassie's stride in slow motion makes you want to work on her stride! (When we know that he himself had to work hard to get from the track to the road!)
Optimal stroke rate proven by science
Observations are good, but it is even better if they are validated by scientific protocols. That's good, many serious studies* have been interested in it over distances ranging from 5,000 m to marathon (and even in ultra-trail but this is a separate area that I would not cover). Another interesting point is that some studies were interested in professionals, others in simple experienced amateurs. The fact is that the rates observed in these subjects are between 170 and 190 steps per minute. Studies have also shown that the running rate naturally chosen by a runner was lower than the optimal rate.
180 steps per minute, what difference does that make?
180 steps per minute would be the most efficient rate. The one that gives the most fluid stride. The one that is the most energy efficient because the maximum use is made of the mechanical efficiency linked to the impact on the ground. A short step, in the form of a rebound on the ground that you really feel when you run. Instead of using only our energy to propel ourselves, we use the impact on the ground to bounce back thanks to the elasticity of the foot and ankle.
A short step that is gentle while minimizing ground impact. And less impact means less chronic injury... Again, there is a lot of scientific evidence to show that increasing the rate of running is a factor in reducing injuries. Whether it's on a slow jog or in a race pace, we have everything to gain!
Transition to 180 steps per minute
If I come back to my transition: the transition from 160 steps per minute and less to 165 then 170 then 170 then 175 and more has been a long-term one. Almost 2 years for it to become something natural that can be seen on all my releases. When starting from a distance, keep in mind that a too abrupt transition can be harmful for a body that is already used to it. A beginner, on the other hand, will have every interest in trying to run immediately at 180 steps per minute. This is the perfect time to get into good habits!
I who had been running for years with a low running rate, I can tell you that the differences in terms of sensations are enormous... During my long outings this winter including marathon speed, I indeed had a very pleasant feeling of ease. Difficult outings, of more than 2 hours with intensity and yet, no aches and pains to regret the next day. Shocks are less severe and the body emerges in much better shape.
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How can you simply increase your running rate?
To know if you are running at 180 steps per minute or not, it's very simple. Either we count his steps like I did when I started. It was winter and running on my treadmill, it was pretty easy to focus on that. But the most effective method to increase your running rate is to use a metronome. You can recite the rhythm in your head (One, Two, Three, Three, One, Two, Three and so on...). If you want to be sure you don't make a mistake counting in your head, I have a small file that plays at the rate of 180 steps per minute and that you can download by clicking here.
With this you have enough to work on this point efficiently. But be careful, it doesn't matter if you don't reach 180 steps per minute right away. I told you, a transition can take time and there's nothing wrong with that! Having the sound of the metronome in your ears, when you're not used to running at this pace, is quite disturbing so maybe start with softer methods and use this file only to adjust yourself if you're close to it! Just trying to take smaller steps without necessarily bothering to count is a good start!
Should we run at 180 steps per minute exactly?
No! I said it above but 180 steps per minute is the average observation of the ideal running rate. An average is rarely applicable in 100% of cases so it is not necessary to make a determination on this either. The following points are important to consider in order to better understand when to run at 180 steps per minute.
The ideal running rate is between 170 and 190 steps per minute: put it this way, we are much closer to the truth. Studies show that the optimal pace for the vast majority of riders is within this range.
The faster you run, the faster the pace increases: in limited proportions, the frequency of running varies according to speed. There can be a difference of 10 to 20 steps per minute between a slow and fast jogging pace of 100% VMA. Personally I am around 175 in slow jogging, 180 in marathon speed and 190 to 100% VMA.
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*The studies in question are those of Gerlach in 2005, Conoboy in 2006, Hunter in 2007, Larson in 2012, Tartarugaen in 2012, Padulo in 2013 and De Ruiter in 2013.