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I have recently learned that the optimal stride rate is 180 steps per minute.

Other than listening to a metronome while running, does anybody have any tips on what can I do to monitor my stride rate so that I know I am around 180 spm? One way would be to find songs that are ~180 bpm and work with that.
Anything else?

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6 Answers 6

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If you're serious enough about running to worry about your cadence, you might consider getting a watch and some associated hardware to help you measure things more precisely. That'll keep you from having to listen to the same five songs over and over, and might also help you find a more natural cadence that is close to "ideal" without necessarily hitting every beat. In other words, a cadence of 93 might feel more comfortable for you, but will eventually bring you off-beat if you stick with 90 BPM music.

DC Rainmaker talks a bit about cadence in his review of the Garmin ANT+ foot pod, which is what I've personally used for the last two years without any complaints whatever. I use it with the reasonably-priced FR60, though any ANT+-compatible watch will do. Polar also makes a line of foot pods, though I can't vouch for those.

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Cadence can be improved by using the right equipment, doing drills and then running to the right rhythm.

  • Equipment:

    1. Be barefoot or use very thin sole shoes with minimal heel-toe drop. (This means the heel and toe are at the same level). This is critical as it helps you feel the foot more completely as well as allows you to load the foot on the midfoot.
  • Drills:

    1. Bounce in place. Feet should be shoulder width apart. Alternate shifting the weight from one foot to the other. Do not use a metronome. Simply bounce and after 100 repetitions you will find a a natural frequency in the bounce.
    2. Single foot hop in place. Hop on one foot and try landing on the same spot. Again don't use a metronome.
    3. High knees with a bounce.
    4. Kick with a bounce
  • Running to the right rhythm:

Use the Podrunner Podcast (its free, but do try to donate). Each podcast is about an hour long and DJ Steve Boyett specifies the BPM for each Podcast.

The following podcasts are a few of the excellent ones:

  • 180 BPM Rapid Transit
  • 180 BPM Trendsetter
  • 177 BPM Fastigium
  • 173 BPM Among the Titans
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Try Eagles: take it easy - after adjustment = 176 spm Miranda lambert - white liar. = 186 spm

I use adobe audacity to adjust songs close to the 180 spm while keeping tone and pitch

Its more difficult to use a beat every third step, 60bpm (getting 180spm). More songs with 60bpm (r&b) but the 3-2- left, 3,2,right sequence i find difficult.

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Stride rate is not necessarily optimal at 180 strides per minute. If you want to run like Usain Bolt, try 257 strides per minute.

See this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3gKkq6jjss

Here Usain Bolt takes 41 strides in 9.58 seconds. This equates to 257 strides per minute.

Therefore I would assume that stride rate would depend on one's goals for running.

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It is actually AT LEAST 180 strides per minute. Not exactly 180 strides per minute. Also, there would naturally be a difference in cadence between short and long runs. –  conMan Feb 10 '13 at 22:24
    
Any evidence for your assertion? –  Mew Feb 10 '13 at 23:23

One good option that I used to increase my cadence was to use music. You can download techno music from http://podrunner.com. Another option is to search for songs by bpm at:

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When you're learning what that stride feels like, songs can definitely help. Look for songs at 90 BPM (so, you'll take two steps per beat of the song). There's a lot of hip/hop, rock, etc. in this range. True 180BPM is super fast happy hardcore techno.

Eventually, you'll just know what it feels like.

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I use a metronome app on my iPhone to set my cadence pace, and turn it off once I've reached it. –  alord1689 Jun 2 '12 at 14:59

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