Is Average Cadence Running Important? Unlocking the Mystery

The sun was barely up, painting the sky with hues of red and orange as I laced up my running shoes. My breath fogged up in the chilled air, and I could feel the thrill coursing through my veins. The pristine morning was perfect for my daily run. I took off down the path, my heart pounding in rhythm with each stride. I was not just running, I was chasing an enigma - the mystery of average cadence in running.

A Curious Encounter

During one of my training sessions, a fellow runner named Sam, an enthusiastic newbie, asked me, "Is average cadence running important?" His question caught me off guard. Cadence, I realised, was one of the aspects of running that often flew under the radar, overshadowed by speed or distance.

What is Cadence in Running?

Cadence, in the context of running, refers to the number of steps a runner takes per minute. High cadence is often associated with professional runners, but is it essential for recreational runners?

The Secret of High Cadence

High cadence, typically around 180 steps per minute, is a common characteristic among elite runners. But why? The answer lies in efficiency and injury prevention.


High cadence reduces the time spent in the air, leading to less energy expenditure as you're not fighting gravity. It also promotes a mid-foot strike, which uses the natural springs in your foot and calf muscles, saving more energy.

Injury Prevention

A higher cadence tends to reduce overstriding, a common cause of running injuries. Overstriding puts immense strain on the knees and can lead to long-term damage.

Is Average Cadence Running Important?

To answer Sam's question and yours, yes, cadence is important. But should you obsess over hitting the magic number of 180? Not necessarily.

Individual Cadence

Your ideal cadence depends on various factors like height, leg and stride length, and personal comfort. Some runners may naturally run with a cadence near 180, while others may be more comfortable running at a lower cadence.

Monitoring Your Cadence

Various running watches and apps can help you monitor your cadence. Try running at your natural cadence, then gradually increase it by 5-10%. Observe how your body responds.

Time for Action

Now that you know the secret of average cadence, it's time to put it to the test. On your next run, focus on your stride. Feel the rhythm of your feet hitting the ground.

Final Thoughts

Running is not just about speed or distance. It's about knowing your body and understanding the subtle aspects like cadence. So, is average cadence running important? Absolutely. It's not the be-all and end-all, but it's a key piece of the puzzle. Happy running!