Here we are looking at what is the optimum number of strides per minute when running. The number can be expressed by counting the foot strikes of both feet or just 1 of them. I tend to use just one as it’s easier to count! By the way, I’m not talking about sprinting, I’m talking more about distances of 5km+. You might think that the less strides you take each minute the better. As with most things, the opposite is actually true!
From what I have read on the topic I would say the optimum strides per minute is somewhere between 85-95 (this is for one foot remember) depending on the distance you are running. So 5KM = 95+ whilst marathon = 85+. In my experience with clients, most people are around 75-80. What are you?
Research has shown that a quicker stride rate will encourage you to land under the hip as apposed to taking big steps and reaching forward, in front of the hip. Landing under the hip encourages the big Gluteus Maximus (bum) muscles to fire and propel you forward. In comparison, landing in front of the hip puts a lot of stress on your hip flexors which are far smaller and far less powerful (and in most people, tight enough already!).
On top of encouraging the right muscles to fire up, landing under the hip also puts far less stress through the knees. Landing in front of the hip sends a stopping force through the knees which can hurt over time and slow you up. Landing under the hip, on the other hand, encourages far more forward motion and sends the force through your feet and into the ground as apposed to up your feet and into your knees.
So a cadence of about 85-95 will help fire the right muscles, speed you up and minimise the stress on your knees. Count where you are at the moment and see how you’re doing. I encourage all of my clients to increase their cadence and every single one has felt a benefit. Try it yourself and let me know how you get on!