A great study on the impact of cadence on running economy, thanks to Hans Van Dijk, Ron van Megen and Maria Hopman.
The principle of minimum energy, which applies to so many living species: plants, insects, animals, micro-organisms… Again, the same principle seems to apply to human beings as well, and runners in particular.
As most elite runners stride well over 180 per minute, probably the ideal rate for an ideal weight / height ratio… Yet, it is a very difficult effort for so many other runners to hit 180, both in training and competition. Different morphotype, technique, brain not used to fire so often, legs/arms/brain not synced…
And yet again, this study shows that your body will be the most efficient (highest return for effort) at your self-selected cadence. (Many athletes I coach will remember I always encourage to focus on cadence and form, oups…but below 165 is really too low in my opinion anyway, here they are around 170…And I am not a good example as my avg cadence also around 170 and I wished it was higher…)
I have witnessed a few athletes on long-term training plans focusing on cadence. Moving from a comfortable and steady 175 spm to an idealistic 180 spm… With a great PB over marathon in the end.
But correlation is not causation, right!
Was that runner more efficient at 180 spm? He still ran below 2h30 marathon…But who knows what he could have done at his initial self-selected cadence. Especially as he still trained very well over a 6-month period! I am curious to find out…and looking forward to the following up study mentioned in the article! Is ECOR and ER improving at higher cadence close to 180, after months of consistently training at and over 180?
Also highly recommended e-book 9781782551096-The-Secret-of-Running-preview-pages
And this one is really good too…