Barefoot Basics #3: Cadence

Written by Barefoot Dawsy

If you want to adjust one element of your running form in order to gain the most benefit, then it’s pretty hard to go past cadence. Most of us, especially when shod, tend to settle into a loping, low cadence run. The exception to this is trained athletes and runners who never or seldom wear shoes.

Part of the reason why low cadence is so common is because in shoes it can be more comfortable and seem easier than the alternative. What this ends up doing however, is increase the amount of time your foot spends on the ground.

When you run with a high ~3 steps per second cadence, you remain airborne slightly longer than you would otherwise. Over short distances the difference can be negligible but for longer runs, such as half and full marathons, the reduced friction can take minutes off your time with no extra effort.

There are other benefits of high cadence as well, as it naturally discourages over striding. Over striding is commonly viewed as one of the biggest no-nos in running as it can cause injury and degrade performance. In order to run with a high cadence, you will need to take shorter strides, which will keep your feet directly beneath your centre of gravity, where they should be.

So the next time you go out for a run, focus on spinning those feet and once you get used to it, you’ll never look back!



2 thoughts on “Barefoot Basics #3: Cadence

  1. I’ve been focusing on a fast cadence over the past few months and I’ve noticed a lot of improvement. A faster cadence tends to make me move a little faster, which you’d think would tire me out more quickly. On the contrary, I find that, presumably because of the increased efficiency, I can run farther/longer than before. 🙂


    • It’s amazing how such a little thing can make such a big difference, isn’t it? I was just reading about a guy who went from a 5h marathon time to qualifying for Boston, and his top tip was upping the cadence. It really works!


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