Does your cadence increase when you run faster?
A lot of people love Chi Running because we promote running more efficiently. What does that mean to you? To us it means being able to run faster or farther without it feeling more effort or more impact. What a lot of runners don't realize is that there is a big tendency to increase your cadence as you increase your speed. This is fine for sprinters because they're more focused on speed than efficiency. But if you're running anything longer than a 5K, efficiency should be near the top of your list of things to pay attention to.
The Chi Running technique focuses on maintaining a steady cadence for distance-running. This is a much more fuel efficient way to run, because turning your legs over more quickly takes more energy and consumes more fuel. It's why cars and bicycles have gears, so the engine (or your legs) can stay within the most fuel-efficient rpm.
The Chi Running answer is to run with a metronome to help you keep a steady tempo with your stride. Holding a steady cadence rate forces you to adjust your stride length relative to what you're doing, whether it's running faster, slower, uphill or downhill. When you have a set of "gears" like a bicycle or a car, your stride you learn to naturally shorten your stride when you run slowly, and lengthen your stride (by relaxing your legs) as you run faster.
The ideal cadence range for runners falls between 170 and 180 strides per minute (spm). If you run with a cadence below 170spm you work harder because you spend too much time in your support stance and overwork your leg muscles. If, on the other hand, your cadence is over 180spm, you have to turn over your legs faster, increasing the workload to your legs which burns more fuel.
This week, test yourself. After your warmed up, check your cadence by counting the number of steps you take in a minute. Then, pick up the pace and count your cadence again to see if it increases. If it does increase, it's telling you that you could lean more AND relax your legs more whenever you want to pick up your speed. It's a much easier way to run faster. To get a much more indepth description of how to do this, read about it on pages 112-114 in the Chi Running Book. Let us know how it works for you.