Reading a foot pod Cadence (Garmin Forerunner 210 specifically)

Discussion in 'Gear & Footwear' started by Andy Hamilton, Jun 10, 2012.

  1. Andy Hamilton

    Andy Hamilton Barefooters
    1. Texas - Dallas

    Jun 10, 2012
    Likes Received:
    I've actually been BR now for about 3-4 months, I've now done 3, 8-11 mile runs with minimalist shoes where in all three cases I even took those off for the last 2-3.5 miles.

    I recently had the pleasure of meeting with Jason Robillard at one of his clinics and we spoke at great length (I was the only one in the clinic, unfortunately). So, armed with new insights on form and technique I'm shooting to measure my cadence without much luck.

    Going into this, it is very important to say that I've had Jason watch me run and that my BF stride is something just a little shorter than the length of my feet, I'm pretty sure I'm not crazy...

    With that being said, on my 9.5 m training run yesterday I wore the Garmin footpod for the first time and for what it's worth, I was in a training group that was going way, way too slow (Even though I'm shooting for trail/ultra, I joined a road marathon training group and they put me in a 1:1 walk/run group that was doing something like a 16:00 pace. It was painfully slow but I stuck with it and more or less jogged in place during the walk segments.

    After 6 miles I joined a much, much faster training group for an extra 3.5 miles that was doing 2:1s with an overall average pace of 12:00. Unfortunately, I took my shoes off for this entire stretch so the footpod data for the second 3.5 miles is complete garbage.

    So, imagine my surprise when I uploaded my data for the first time and it says I'm running with a cadence of 79-82 average! Terrified, of course, but too sore to test it I waited until today and decided to hop on the treadmill and try it out again. I warmed up and ran the treadmill up to a 12:00 pace. I started the Garmin and counted my left footfalls for 15 seconds, two separate times.

    In both occasions, my left foot falls in 15 seconds were 30. By my math, that should come out to 30 x 2 x 4 = 240. Now, I've been told that most BR coaches/mentors are going to suggest a minimum cadence of around 180, and I'm actively trying to shorten my stride even further, so 240 seems like it's probably too high.

    On the other hand, the Garmin is recording 104 on the treadmill for those same exact intervals.

    Not even Wikipedia gives a good definition of Cadence ( ) because it doesn't say if it's measured by one footfall or both, if it's for a single foot. This seems like such a basic question and while I would have thought finding information on it would be easy, I'm not having as much luck as I would like.

    Can someone please help me understand why my data isn't matching up? I understand that the footpod may not be 100% accurate, but if it's measuring a single footfall and not multiplying it by 2 to get both feet (and I'm not sure it should), then that would be around 120 by my actual calculation and 104 by the footpods. I can see that margin of error, but that would mean that my cadence is way, way too low for BR, which doesn't seem right either. I know that a 12:00 pace is fairly slow in the running world, so maybe 120 for a 12:00 isn't entirely outside of the norm.

    For what it's worth, I'm in Dallas, TX if there's any coaches out there that are local and want to see for themselves.


  2. NickW

    NickW Guest

    Cadence can be measured by counting one foot for a measured amount of time, then double it, which would give you the amount of footfalls (cadence) for that specified period of time. Now 180 is a general guideline per minute and that is a total of 180 footfalls (both feet). Now some people are higher than that and some are lower than that. I personally am around 175-180ish.

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