Olympic Running Skills To Improve Stride | STACK Fitness
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Run Like a Pro: How Shorter, Faster Steps Lead to a More Efficient Stride

September 20, 2011

According to Grant Robison, 2004 Olympic 1500m runner, three-time NCAA champion, 10-time All-American at Stanford University and co-developer of Good Form Running, cadence, the rate at which your feet move while running, is arguably the most effective tool for maximizing the efficiency of your stride.

"The goal of cadence," Robison says, "is simply to eliminate overstriding [when your feet reach out too far in front of your body, causing you to land on your heels], so every ounce of energy put into your stride moves you forward efficiently. Cadence is effective in achieving this by providing a simple, measurable tool to focus on. Overstriding creates braking and rotational forces that make you both inefficient and more susceptible to injury."

To begin refining your cadence, go for a run. A few minutes into it, count how many times your left foot touches the ground in 20 seconds. Multiply this number by three to determine your "strides per minute." For improved cadence, try to get a few more touches into those 20 seconds without speeding up your pace. "Again, cadence is about making your stride extra efficient, not just running harder," Robison says.

Many running experts, including the legendary Jack Daniels, argue for a prime cadence of 180. To achieve this, get your strides per minute up to 85-90 left foot touches (170-180 steps per minute).

According to Robison, leg length does not play a large role in striding. "Pace is more controlled by length of stride as [your legs] pull through and out behind your body," he says. "During sprinting, longer legs may equate to having a potentially higher top-end speed, like Usain Bolt, but it certainly doesn’t guarantee it. During aerobic activity, cadence works regardless of body makeup."

If your cadence needs improving, focus on tweaking it during your easy runs, and build that muscle memory, so at race time your body will recognize the difference a quicker stride makes. If you’ve already achieved successful cadence, focus on keeping your head level when you run.

For more on cadence, watch the video above, and check out STACK's New Balance Running channel for everything you need to know about Good Form Running.

Joe Baur
- Joe Baur is a certified personal trainer with a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Miami University [Oxford, OH]. He became certified with the National...
Joe Baur
- Joe Baur is a certified personal trainer with a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Miami University [Oxford, OH]. He became certified with the National...
Must See
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 7,183,303
Margus Hunt Benches 385 Pounds for Five Reps
Views: 18,611,384
Why NFL Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson Counts His Blessings
Views: 1,955,277

Featured Videos

James Harden Core Circuit Views: 112,056
Path to the Pros 2015: Danny Shelton Views: 152,673
Quest for the Ring: University of Kentucky Views: 543,285
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

You're Doing It Wrong: Running

Dear runners,I've got something to tell you, it may not be easy to hear, but you've been doing it wrong this whole time. Now, I'm probably going to make...

7-Year Old Triathlete Sets 5K Record

How to Prepare for the Spartan Race and Other Mud Runs

STACK Challenge: Army Two-Mile Run

7 Tips to Help First-Time Marathoners Avoid Common Mistakes

Runners: Don't Overlook These 2 Types of Training

The Obstacle Course Racer's Guide to Fixing Muscle Cramps

8 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Ran My First Marathon

Are You Ready for a Tough Mudder?

8-Week Spartan Beast Training Program

Foolproof 20-Week Marathon Training Schedule

The Nature and Nurture of Running for Fitness

The Exercise Every Runner Must Do

Why Jogging Is Counterproductive

4 Running Form Fixes for Beginners

Learn the Secrets of Tapering

The Only 2 Running Diet Rules You Need to Know

Running Away From GI Distress: Symptoms, Causes And Tips

7 Endurance Tips From Ultramarathon Runner Ian Sharman

How to Control Your Breathing During an Obstacle Race

Pick The Right Running Partner (The First Time)

An Introduction to Strength Training for Runners

Running Tips for True Beginners

4 Biggest 5K Training Mistakes

Training for Mud Runs, Part 4: Long Trail Runs

Get Geared Up for the Wall Jump Obstacle

Be Ready to Run a 5K in 6-8 Weeks

Don't Choke on Race Day: Tips to Run a Better Race

The Most Effective Form of Endurance Training

Maximize Your Trail Running

How to Design a Running Schedule That Fits Your Life

Weight Training for Runners: 3 Full-Body Moves

Are You Ready for the Arctic Enema?

Off-Season Triathlon Training Tips and Workout Program

Tired of Tiring During Runs? Try These Jogging Pace Drills

Hunter McIntyre Rises Above the Competition

6 5K Tips for a Great Running Experience

Guide to Common Running Terminology

How to Start Your Barefoot Leg Workout

Ultramarathon Runner Stephanie Howe's 7 Training Secrets

5 Keys and A Workout Plan for An Awesome 5K

3 Things You Must Do Before Trying Minimalist Running Shoes