The right running pace
Photo by Alex Wong sur Unsplash
The ideal pace, but not necessarily easy to achieve or maintain, would be 180 steps per minute (ppm), +/- 10. This ideal pace will vary for each person.
The benefits the runner will derive from running at this ideal pace of 180 ppm are manifold. First and foremost, an improvement in his mechanical efficiency, that is to say a better technique of his stride, with a grip more forefoot than heel. Then a reduction in oxygen consumption for the same speed by better running economy: more elastic rebound, less muscular work and a reduction in vertical displacement.
Another important benefit is that, according to some studies, a high cadence reduces the reaction speed to the ground and therefore the stress on the joints of the knees, hips and lower back. On the contrary, slow cadences of 140–160 ppm, which are often seen in recreational runners, tend to increase the braking phase, by placing the foot far in front of the center of gravity, with the heel first.
The speed of the impact force will be higher in this case.
How to determine its cadence?
To determine your pace, just run barefoot a few laps on a track and count the number of steps in 15 seconds. Multiply the result obtained by 4.
Or better yet, have someone do it so you don't influence the pace yourself.
Interestingly, speed does influence cadence to some extent, but it's possible to modulate speed while staying at the same cadence - and still within +/- 10 steps around your ideal cadence. The parameter that will change is mainly the stride length.
So precisely, we will find among elite runners, whether over distances of 1500 m, 10,000 m or marathon, the same pace of 180 ppm (always +/- 10), so regardless of the speed or the distance. .
How to maintain its pace?
Once you've found your pace, you can use a metronome (a smartphone app will help you) to maintain that pace as you run.
The easiest way is to reduce the stride distance, with a foot pose almost below your center of gravity - which is at the level of the navel inside your body.
Even better, wear minimalist shoes: light shoes, with a thin and flexible sole, without a padded heel. Start slow and take it gradually. For a first outing, 10 minutes is enough and then extend from 1 to 2 minutes per outing. Observe your technique. Have someone film yourself with your smartphone, from the side and front / back, if possible. This will allow you to assess your progress.
Try to find pleasure in improving your stride technique. Don't worry, otherwise you might give up. See it as an exercise. Once the automatics set in, you will improve yourself and find a whole new pleasure in running.
If on top of that you get faster and lower your risk of injury, then what more could you ask for!