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How many steps should you take when you run

Recently, I’ve been focusing on taking more steps per minute while I run.  A recent Runner’s World article suggested that elite runners take about 180 steps per minute.  When I counted my own steps I was taking 160 per minute.  Here’s how you can figure out your own.

  1. Start running (or joggling) and warm up for a few minutes.
  2. Start your stopwatch and begin counting each time your right foot hits the ground.
  3. Continue counting the right foot steps for a minute.
  4. Double the number for your step count.

road runner juggling fast legsSo, if you run for a minute and take 72 steps, your steps per minute or cadence is 144.  When I did this exercise my count was 83 equaling a cadence of 166 steps/min.

According to the article, a higher cadence is better because you will waste less energy.   Fewer steps means in the air more.  Being in the air means you decelerate and lose energy.  This is bad as it will make you tire more quickly.  When you increase your cadence you should try to run low to the ground and lean slightly forward.

I’ve tried it for the last week and it feels pretty weird.  But if it makes me faster then I’ll stick with it.

One other thing that occurred to me as I experimented with my stride.  When joggling, the bean bag catches should be coordinated with your hands.  That means when your right foot hits the ground, your right hand should be catching a bag.   When your left foot hits the ground, your left hand should catch a bag.  So when you increase your step count you also have to increase your juggling throw count.  This also means you’ll have to have much shorter throws.

This Post Has One Comment
  1. From what I have been reading, shorter quicker steps is more efficient and has less impact on your muscles than longer strides. One suggestion that I am going to use later is to buy one of those metronomes you can get at the music store. You can set it to however many beeps a minute you want, and then all you have to do is step to the beep 🙂

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