Best Running Steps Per Minute? Achieve Your Optimum Stride

The starting line is crowded with runners of all shapes and sizes. You're surrounded by a sea of colourful trainers and the air is filled with a mix of anticipation and adrenaline. You feel the familiar tingle of excitement as you lace up your best running shoes, ready to hit the pavement. But, have you ever paused to consider your stride? Specifically, your running steps per minute?

The Magic Number

In the world of running, there's a magic number tossed around: 180. That's the number of steps per minute (SPM) that experts often cite as the ideal cadence. But is this one-size-fits-all approach really the gold standard?

Individual Stride and Performance

Just as every runner is unique, so too are their strides. Your perfect stride frequency could be more or less than 180 SPM. It's about finding the sweet spot that optimises your performance and reduces the risk of injury.

  • Speed and Efficiency: A higher SPM can translate to faster running times. More steps mean you're moving more quickly, right? But it's not just about speed. A higher cadence can also improve your running efficiency, helping you conserve energy during those long hauls.

  • Reduced Injury Risk: Lower stride rates (below 160 SPM) can increase the force on your joints with each step. Over time, this can lead to injuries. By increasing your SPM, you can reduce the impact on your joints and lower your risk of injuries.

Finding Your Perfect Cadence

So, how do you find your perfect stride frequency?

  1. Start Counting: Over your next few runs, count your steps for one minute at a time. Do this at various points during your run to get a good average.

  2. Analyze Your Stride: Are you a heavy heel striker? This could be a sign that your SPM is too low. Try increasing your cadence to promote a more midfoot strike.

  3. Experiment and Adjust: Try increasing your SPM in small increments. See how it feels and how it affects your running performance. Remember, it's all about finding what works best for you.

A Word of Caution

While it's beneficial to experiment with your stride, be careful not to force a higher cadence that feels unnatural. This can lead to its own set of problems, including increased fatigue and injury risk.

The Final Stretch

So, is there a perfect running steps per minute? The answer isn't a simple yes or no. It's about understanding your body and finding the stride frequency that optimises your individual running performance. So, lace up those trainers, hit the pavement, and start discovering your perfect stride.


Q: Can increasing my cadence make me a faster runner? A: Possibly. A higher SPM can increase your speed, but it’s also important to consider factors like stride length and overall form.

Q: Is a lower cadence bad for my joints? A: It can be. Lower stride rates can increase the force on your joints, potentially leading to injuries.

Q: How can I count my steps per minute? A: During your run, count how many times your right foot hits the ground in one minute. Multiply by two to get your SPM.

Remember, the best running steps per minute isn't a universal number—it's the stride frequency that best fits your running style and body. Happy running!