Cadence of a 'good' barefoot runner?

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Running' started by Jaap Francke, Jan 15, 2018.

?

What is your cadence on easy surface? Are you tall or short?

  1. <175 (length below 6 foot 1 inch)

    2 vote(s)
    9.5%
  2. 175-180 (length below 6 foot 1 inch)

    8 vote(s)
    38.1%
  3. 180-185 (length below 6 foot 1 inch)

    3 vote(s)
    14.3%
  4. 185-190 (length below 6 foot 1 inch)

    2 vote(s)
    9.5%
  5. 190-195 (length below 6 foot 1 inch)

    1 vote(s)
    4.8%
  6. >195 (length below 6 foot 1 inch)

    1 vote(s)
    4.8%
  7. <175 (length above 6 foot 1 inch)

    1 vote(s)
    4.8%
  8. 175-180 (length above 6 foot 1 inch)

    2 vote(s)
    9.5%
  9. 180-185 (length above 6 foot 1 inch)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  10. 190-195 (length above 6 foot 1 inch)

    1 vote(s)
    4.8%
  11. >195 (length above 6 foot 1 inch)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Gordon

    Gordon
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    There's another drill that can help you learn proper core activation. Take two light dumbbells and hold them overhead. Now do a high knees march, and as each knee comes up, press up hard with the stance side arm. So left knee up, right arm presses. Try to push the dumbbell through the ceiling. The weight of the dumbbell isn't that important, it's a hip and core exercise, so arm fatigue should not limit you. What this drill teaches you is how to hold your core such that a push on your hip, by your leg rebounding, drives your whole body upwards and forwards.
     
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  2. trevize1138

    trevize1138
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    Just take it easy and make sure you're not thinking you need to "push it" or "feel the burn" or "get in a workout." Running just doesn't work like that. Keep it light and enjoyable. Closer to 170 may very well be where you're most comfortable and that's fine. It sounds like you've experimented with 180 and even 190 so you're doing the testing needed to arrive at a comfortable cadence.

    And I'm totally serious on this point: you're not lazy. Nobody's lazy. The big character flaw I see all over the place is people trying too hard. We err on the side of trying harder rather than taking a minute to assess and ask ourselves if what we're doing is working or not. If you're doing it wrong you won't get better results doing it wrong harder.
     
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  3. Acorn63

    Acorn63
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    Thanks guys, very good points. It was just a random idea; I was pondering what makes the difference in "comfortable cadence" for each individual. Most likely it's just the combination of leg length and mass of leg and foot. Combined to running technique, of course.
     
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  4. Gordon

    Gordon
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    Our brains are so flexible that comfortable is whatever we're used to. I was comfortable running with a heel strike and a 150 cadence. It felt natural. Changing how you run involves a period of discomfort, or at least of feeling weird and awkward. The nice thing about losing the shoes altogether is that it takes you probably half of the way from running badly to running well in one step. There is nothing else you can do that accomplishes so much with so little effort. If you never improve more, you're still in a pretty good place. If you want to go fast, or if you want to log big miles, you will need to dive down the rabbit hole of form and the idea of running as a skill. Unless you're racing or like rabbit holes(guilty) it may not be worth it.

    Here's a way to look at it. Time in the air is limited by gravity. The height that you must jump to stay aloft goes up with time in the air squared. To stay aloft for 0.1 seconds, you have to jump an inch into the air. To stay aloft for 0.2 seconds, you have to jump 4 inches into the air. To stay aloft for 0.3 seconds, you have to jump more than 7 inches into the air. Time on the ground is limited too, if you want to be efficient. When you land, energy is stored in the stretching of your tendons. If it isn't recovered immediately, it dissipates as heat. The only way to recover it is to use it for rebound, the quicker the better. That puts you back into the air again quickly. So when a study looks at the cadence of good runners, ie fast runners, they're looking at people who spend very little time on the ground and who don't bounce very far upward. Short time on the ground plus short time in the air equals short time per stride which translates to a high cadence. Increases in cadence that result from popping off the ground faster means that you're running faster and more efficiently. If your body is not positioned properly and your muscles don't fire appropriately when the rebound occurs, you're not going to bounce. If that happens, the only way to increase cadence is to take baby steps and go slower. That might be easier on your body, but it isn't the result that most of us are looking for ...
     
  5. XoseM

    XoseM
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    running cadence is something every new barefoot runner points attention to, but as you have written on this thread this is something quite personal and you need to figure it out by feeling.

    when unshod I naturally use to run 178-180, on sandals/VFF below 175 and slower with minimal shoes.

    It felt uncomfortable trying to increase running cadence, it became easy and natural with time and practice to increase barefoot running cadence though, one needs to put all technique elements together (body alignment, stride, foot landing, been relaxed, breathing,...) and higher cadence values comes with no effort.

    Just my opinion ;)
     
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  6. Janne

    Janne
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    When I stated running barefoot and stated counting cadence, I found it was about 200. The internet was of no comfort because some experts say that one should not increase it that much that fast.

    But the reason for me was that there was plenty of crushed gravel left from winter and in order to avoid them I took plenty of small steps. I got tired of course but no wrong came from it. Later, when the gravel was removed I could take longer steps and the frequency diminished.

    Also running barefoot is no excuse for not taking care of form. Barefoot runners have advantage over shod runners because our feet are the best way of instant feedback :) This video shows 2 people, same cadence but different speed and presents plenty of the comments of this thread.
     
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