How Running Cadence and Stride Length Affect our Runs

 

Running cadence is the number of steps per minute. Our running speed is connected to our cadence and stride length. Technically, it is the amount of times our foot hits the ground. In the past, the running cadence trend and recommendation was 180 steps/minute, but it is not as simple as it seems. Our running cadence is affected by our stride length, and running form. By the time we start running, our running form and cadence become engrained in our neuromuscular system overtime, that is our signature stride. That is why recommending every runner to reach a minimum cadence of 180 is not a great recommendation. Our running cadence and stride length play a big role in our speed and the reduction of injuries. The more steps we take during a run, the faster the rate. For most runners, fixing our running form and stride length, will help increase our cadence according to our personal running speed. A shorter stride will lead to higher turnover rate, less ground impact than long strides and more time moving forward.

 

Is Higher Running Cadence Better?

The average running cadence is 150-170. A cadence lower than 160 strides/minute is usually due to overstride. Runners who overstride, land with a heel strike that blocks the forward motion required for running, that means the hips and knee joints get a lot of impact on every step. Everyone runs differently, but a slightly faster cadence can help improve our running form, running pace and prevent injuries. Now we know that the average recommended cadence is 160-180 for normal runs and 180-190 for fast runs, or up to 200 for super-fast marathon runners. We should focus on our personal running speed, everyone runs differently.

 

Benefits of Higher Running Cadence

  • More efficient running form
  • Increase in running speed with form efficiency
  • Less impact on the hips and knee joints
  • Fixing overstriding
  • Less injuries caused by heel striking
  • Softer landings with each step
  • Less breaking force with ground contact

 

How to Measure our Running Cadence

Most runners use a GPS watch with a built in sensor that tracks our cadence, but to calculate our own cadence might be more accurate.

 

  • Count every foot step on one side for 10 seconds
  • Multiply it by 2 (to account for both feet)
  • Multiply that result by 6 (to account for 1 minute)

Example:

14 Foot Steps/ 10 secs X 2= 28

28 X 6= 168 cadence/ minute

How to Increase Running Cadence

  1. Strides– One of the most easiest and efficient training is doing Strides training, to perform this training 2/week for 6 weeks will help increase the cadence:

 

Strides are 100m or 200m accelerations where you accelerate gradually over 25m, you start at a jog then increase to about 95% of your max speed and then gradually slow to a stop. One 100m stride should take about 20-30 secs, take a 45-60 secs recovery between each stride, by jogging slowly. Perform strides on a flat terrain, and to avoid injuries make sure you increase your speed gradually. Start by adding 4 strides to a shorter run. As you progress add 6 strides, up to 8 strides on a longer run. Perform Strides towards the end of the run and finishing with 1km slower to recover.

 

  1. 100m Stride– Run 4-8 Strides at 95%of your max speed for 20-30secs with 45-60 secs recovery jog.
  2. 200m Stride– Run 4-8 Strides at 95% your max speed for 30-45 secs, with 45-60 secs recovery jog.
  3. 100m/200m Stride Combo– Run 4-8 Strides at 95% of your max speed, alternating between 100m and 200m Strides with 45-60 secs recovery jog.

  1. Metronome Beats App- Using this App during a run, set to a specific beat is a great way to increase our cadence more easily by following the beats. Once we know our cadence, we can set up the Metronome App to increase our cadence gradually with our customized goals.

 

  • Start by matching the beat to your current running pace and do short bursts at that speed to get accustomed to running with the beat.
  • Next increase it by 5-10 beats and run 400-800m using the cadence.
  • Next increase it by another 5-10 beats and repeat
  • Do this until you run with 190 beats.

 

  1. Jump Rope to Increase Ground Force– To perform jump rope training has many benefits for runners, it strengthens our calves, ankles, feet, and improves our speed and cardio.

 

  • Start with 30 secs reps, increasing to 1 minute reps
  • Keep the legs straight
  • Focus on the power in the feet and ankles to push away on the jump
  • Between each rep take a 30 seconds break or add jump rope training to your strength workouts
  • Start with a shorter time and increase the amount of reps gradually to allow the calves and knees to adapt.

Increasing our running cadence by just a few steps and according to our personal running speed, will have many benefits without too much intensity. It will improve our running speed, running form and prevent injuries.

Good Cadence, Good Running Form, Great Run!

KATIA

 

Why Runners Should Avoid Restrictive Diets to Stay Fit

 

Many people try to follow some very strict diets (keto, low carb, paleo, low fat, low calories) to try to lose weight, look more fit. According to research, human beings cannot follow strict diets for a lifetime and stay healthy. People following strict diets, after a while, they will go back to their normal diet and gain more weight. One of the main side effects of restrictive diets is a lack of nutrients, which is a major issue for runners or athletes. All these restrictive diets will reduce the energy level, endurance, muscle health and recovery. Following a strict diet, missing some important nutrients, can decrease muscle refueling by 50%. Avoiding healthy carbs, healthy fats, not enough protein (plant-based or animal), not enough calories, will get our body depleted of many nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Runners need to focus on a healthy, balanced, personalized diet according to our body type, lifestyle, and training schedule and intensity. Some runners’ body might need more protein, more carbs, or more healthy fat than others. Eating a healthy diet with healthy and fresh foods, after some time, listening to our body and hunger, we will know which nutrients and how many calories our body needs for proper fueling to support our energy and recovery, muscle and bone health, and sleep pattern. Avoiding certain foods due to food allergy or sensitivity, we need to replace with foods that will provide the vitamins and minerals. Dairy-free diet might deplete the body of calcium, so we need to eat high-calcium foods -broccoli, cabbage, kale, almonds, chia seeds, beans, lentils, tofu, figs, which is even healthier than dairy. Gluten-free diet, the body will deplete the body of fiber, iron, and B vitamins. So to plan a nutrient, vitamin and mineral balanced diet will support runners and athletes, health, performance, and strength, also avoid some injuries.

 

Side Effects of Restrictive Diets

Low Carb Diet– A low carb diet is popular due to quick weight loss. Quick weight loss tends to be purely glycogen and the water it carries. As a regular runner, you can smash through your liver and muscle glycogen stores very quickly, glycogen depletion can cause many issues. With low levels or no glycogen, runners have no power source for energy as well as water for hydration. Yes you might start to burn fat, but that is a longer process since it burns much slower that carbohydrates. Your metabolism will start to be more sluggish, and a lot less energy for training.

 

High Protein Diet– As runners, we need to make sure we consume enough protein, the only negative issue is consuming too much animal protein and not enough fresh vegetables and fruits, it can lead to metabolic acidosis which is an imbalance of the body’s acid balance. The kidneys have to work overtime, which can cause kidney conditions and insulin resistance. We have to eat enough protein according to our training and exercises schedule, but to combine and balance animal and plant-based protein is much healthier. To follow a 80% plant-based diet and include small amounts of healthy fish or meat will support our overall health, such as cholesterol, heart and prevent many diseases such as diabetes or cancer. Plant-based diets are very healthy, but not every body type can support that diet.

 

Calorie Control Diet– Runners looking to lose weight and change their body shape focusing on calorie control will cause severe issues. Dealing with not consuming enough calories according to our daily calorie burning, will deplete our body of energy, nutrients, vitamins and minerals. The metabolism will shut down to survive, and once you start eating a bit more calories, the body will react by storing the calories and causing weight gain. Again, we need to follow a healthy, balanced personalized diet to keep the energy levels high enough.

 

Keto Diet– This type of diet will have many drawbacks for runners. Keto diet is high-fat, high animal protein and extremely low carbs, carbohydrate intake needs to be less than 50g per day. That means most runners’ favourite foods are mostly off limits:

  • Fruit
  • Legumes, lentils, beans
  • Bread and other whole-grain foods
  • Starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, pumpkin, squash and beets
  • Alcohol
  • Many sauces and marinades that are high in sugar

And there are certain drawbacks. Potential side effects may include constipation, high cholesterol, acidosis, or kidney stones. According to research, runners who followed the keto diet consumed low levels of carbohydrates, and instead got most of their fuel from high-fat meals. Normal diets consisted of around 43 percent carbs and 38 percent fat. On the keto diet, runners only consumed 4 percent carbs and upped their fat intake to 78 percent.

Researchers found that when the participants followed a keto diet and exercised at less than 60 percent of their VO2 max—the amount of oxygen can efficiently consumed and used—their exercise efficiency remained the same.

But in exercise over 70 percent of VO2 max, their speed and endurance declined. In fact, running speed at VO2 max declined by 5 percent after keto-adaptation, once your body shifts from using carbs to using fat as the primary energy source.

This suggests that the keto diet would be just fine for moderate running efforts, but if you want to get faster, or workout at more intense levels, like powering up a hill, it may not be the best diet plan for your goals.

One reason? Fat is a less-efficient fuel source when you are exercising at high aerobic capacity. It requires more oxygen to create energy than carbohydrates do. Plus, the fatty acids are not as helpful in producing energy needed for muscle contraction, which may contribute to the loss of speed. And many people who followed a Keto diet, ended up with several health issues such as high cholesterol levels, heart issues, imbalanced hormone, and fatigue.

A diet cult is any diet that is based on the false idea that there’s a single ideal diet for humans. The underlying essence is that false belief that this diet (restrictive diet) is better than any other or even the only right way for anyone to eat. Eat healthy fresh foods, a nutrient balanced diet according to your body type and training, lots of vegetables, greens, fresh fruits, healthy fat and protein.

Macronutrient Intake Recommendation

 

Carbohydrate Intake Recommendation

PROTEIN INTAKE RECOMMENDATION FOR ATHLETES

1.2-2.0g Protein/ kg Bodyweight

Eat Healthy, Nutrients Balanced Meals, Fresh Foods, Lots of Veggies, Feel Great and Run Strong!

KATIA

Benefits of Burpees for Runners

Performing a Burpee is one of the most challenging exercise and a full body workout. Burpees will provide muscle building, fat reduction and improvement in the fitness level. Burpees exercise the whole body at once, that’s why there are so many physical benefits by performing these exercises regularly. Almost all areas of the body are strained directly and simultaneously. That’s why Burpee is a very tough but very effective exercise.

 

How to Perform a Burpee

Warm up before starting the burpee, as all the muscles are going to get a lot of impact.

  • Start in a standing position
  • Drop into a squat
  • Put your hands on the ground and jump into plank
  • Perform a push up
  • Jump back into squat
  • Jump up arms up

 

Benefits of Burpees for Runners

 

Strength

Burpees will help improve the overall strength of the body. This exercise targets the upper body like arms, chest, upper back, torso throughout the push up. It also targets the lower body like the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, hips and glutes during the squat up/down movement and jump.

 

Speed

Burpees are so difficult as you aim to perform them at a reasonably fast pace. If you perform burpees slowly, you won’t get as many benefits if you perform them quickly. You can add speed to every part of the Burpee, from jumping down into plank, to how quickly you do the pushup, to how quickly you jump back into squat and jump up. If you really want to push yourself, calculate how many you can perform in one minute, then try to do a couple more in the next session.

 

Endurance

Burpees are so effective for increasing your cardio endurance and your muscular endurance. This exercise is so efficient for runners, and especially long-distance runners, Burpees recruit a very high number of fast-twitch muscles fibers. Training those fibers allows runners to keep on going. Normal running training doesn’t recruit the same amount of fibers, so it inhibits performance. Burpees are a combination of resistance and cardio training, which triggers both aerobic and anaerobic responses from the body. That is why Burpees are so effective for increasing the fitness level.

 

Fat Loss

Due to the stop-start nature, Burpees are part of the HIIT (high intensity interval training) category. Some research found that HIIT is one of the most effective training to burn fat. Performing Burpees will burn a significant amount of energy, and you will continue to burn energy after the workout (afterburn effect), for hours after the workout, due to the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, the EPOC effect.

 

Performance

Burpees also drastically improve overall performance. Many runners notice large improvements in performance after a few weeks of Burpees and HIIT workouts. Burpees will increase strength and endurance, improve reaction, coordination skills, and muscle resilience in a short time. Due to the complex sequence of movements and the intense stress put on large muscle groups while performing Burpees, other exercises like pushups and squats will be easier to perform. In addition, the cardiovascular system and the functioning of the lungs will benefit greatly. During an intense Burpee workout, your muscles will be in their anaerobic range. Respiration and blood circulation are in overdrive, working hard to compensate for the lack of oxygen in the muscles, so it will also be exercised with each Burpee. Performing Burpees will have so many benefits for runners as it will increase the elevation and sprinting strength and power, everything will get easier and stronger and faster.

Enjoy Burpees, Run Faster and Stronger!

KATIA

Video of Burpee 22 Variations: https://vimeo.com/437519541

 

 

How and Why to Run a Virtual Race

As many runners have registered for races that have been canceled worldwide, many races are being replaced by virtual races. Until our life can return to some form of normality, likely virtual races are most runners’ best option if you want to perform your nice races. To run a virtual race, to prepare both logistically and mentally is very helpful to get into and finish the virtual races. This is a great goal to perform until life goes back to normal with all the worldwide races back on.

 

What is a Virtual Race?

A virtual race is a competitive individual race. Runners  can go and run the required distance, in their own time. We can choose our own start line and route, if we register for a virtual race, we have to upload our race data or finish time, and send the data to the virtual race, so we can get a certificate and virtual finisher’s medal.

 

Benefits of Virtual Races

The main benefits of virtual races is that we are still able to perform similar races we were looking forward to, and still train and stay fit even with all the races cancelled.

  • We can complete a virtual race in our own time, according to our personal schedule.
  • We can run a virtual race on a course we really enjoy.
  • We can run virtual races with a few running friends, so we can really enjoy it.
  • Virtual races allows us to continue to participate in running events.
  • Training for a virtual race is the same training as a traditional race.
  • Training is great for our health, weight loss, muscle development, cardiovascular fitness and bone strengthening.
  • Having a goal to train towards a virtual race can be super motivating and stimulating, especially in today’s uncertain times.

 

Tips for Planning a Virtual Race

 

Individual virtual races lack a lot of support structure we have access to in regular races, such as checkpoints, course markings, medical support, toilets, support and fueling. When planning on performing a virtual race we become our own race organizer, so we need to plan everything.

 

  1. Choose a Familiar Route

Running solo or with only a few runners, makes it much easier and safer to choose a familiar route. Even to choose a route near our home or areas we know, we can have access to toilets, shops to refuel etc. To plan to run a smaller loop can make it easier to self-support the race distance.

  1. Make Sure you Plan and Organize the Right Distance

It would be too frustrating to plan a challenging route and get to the finish point without the right distance. To create the route on Strava, makes it very easy and accurate. Also, to have access to a good GPS watch to log in the data, distance, pace and be able to follow the course will be very helpful.

  1. Planning Good Nutrition and Hydration

To organize our nutrition and hydration similar to the normal races is essential. We have to train for our nutrition and hydration and prepare everything in advance. During training, we have to figure out what our body needs as fueling according to the distance, intensity and weather. Also the nutrition and hydration timing schedule needs to be planned, according to the course. We need to make sure we have access to proper race fueling at the right time. One advantage of personal virtual race is that we can have access to the nutrition and hydration we want and prefer.

  1. Find a Support Crew

One great benefit is to find a support crew. To plan a crew with friends or family members, we still have to make sure they are dependable and organized, and know what race support is all about. We have to organize a good meeting with the support crew, to plan each meeting area (checkpoints), what they need to prepare for nutrition and hydration.

 

Tips for Running a Virtual Race

  1. Running alone is mentally tougher- To have a clear race goal in our mind can help us focus on the race performance, being more positive and make it to the finish line feeling good.
  2. Smiling during the race will help activate our brain, positivity and energy level.
  3. Knowing all the course information, data, all the checkpoints areas, making sure we have all our essential gears, prepare and plan everything beforehand will make it more comfortable to deal with.
  4. Focus on enjoying a nice race, to keep moving, and feeling positive so that you can still do a nice race.
  5. Even organizing your own “personal virtual” race, is a great motivation to keep training, feeling good, fit, healthy and happy!

 

Train for and Run a Virtual Race, Stay Fit, Appreciate Reaching a Great Goal!

KATIA