Coach Frank of FrunkTraining was able to look at the data from some of my runs using Adidas miCoach. Coach Frank is one of the coaches in Bacolod. His elite students are winning several races in Negros as well as in other provinces in Visayas. We met last August during the Milo Eliminations. When he looked at my run data, he noted the stride rate. Stride rate is the number of steps you make per minute. My average stride rate is about 155 steps per minute.
Coach Frank suggested that I increase my stride rate. Increasing the stride rate naturally increases the speed. But there are more benefits to that than just speed. He even suggested a specific number of steps per minute — 180. The magic number. Why?
Exercise physiologists, Jack Daniels, conducted a study in 1984 on stride length and stride rates. He studied the athletes in the 1984 Olympic track and field competitions. His study showed that while stride length vary between a sprinter and a long distance runner, their stride rates did not vary significantly. Stride rates for all events, for both men and women, fell between 185 and 200 steps per minute. Thus, it was concluded a stride rate of 180 is ideal like that of world-class runners.
Usually, when I want to run faster, I increase the length of my strides. But excessive stride length is unfavorable to your running speed is can cause injuries. A common mistake is increasing the length of strides when running downhill. As Coach Frank told me, it is more beneficial to increase the stride rate.
Benefits of 180 stride rate
Whether you’re running your long distance run or running intervals at the track, you should aspire to get a stride rate of almost 180 regardless of pace. With the benefits that you can get, you’ll get used to a faster stride rate in no time.
- Increases speed. Obviously, as you increase the number of steps, you cover more distance and this your speed increases. Like when you sprint, you stay on your toes bringing your legs up, using shorter and faster strides. Increasing your stride rate will also lessen your vertical bounce. This is because the quicker steps force your body to stay closer to the ground.
- Less injury. Low stride rate can result to a more upward motion instead of forward, producing a greater impact. When you run, you should have your feet briefly touching the ground, just like flying. In another words, the more time you are in the air, the less contact and impact you make on the ground, the lesser the leg and foot injuries you will get.
- Develop stronger legs. You land on your foot applying force to the ground and the ground responds by pushing you upward and forward. Time contributes to this impact. The shorter the time your feet spend on the ground during the stride, the more powerful your step will be.
Tips to increase stride rate
I presume you’re now eager to increase your stride rate. So, before you get out and start running, here are some tips in increasing your stride rate.
- Downhill strides. Find a very gentle slope on grass. Run a few miles for your warm up. Then, begin at the top of the slope and allow gravity to help you accelerate as you descend. The downhill will help you increase your stride. Repeat four to six times.
- Quick short strides. Think baby steps. Lift your knees up high and run as fast as you can. Jog for a while then repeat. Do this at least 10 times.
- Hot coals. Picture yourself running on a bed of hot coals. Do your steps as quickly as possible. Do this for about 45 meters at a time. This drill can be your warm up or cool down exercise.
- Metronome. This is a timing device that produces regular ticks or beats, used mostly by musicians. Set 180 beats per minute in your metronome then match your footfalls to the beat. Once you get the rhythm, maintain the 180 stride rate. Software metronome is also available for download into your MP3 or CD player.
- Short flights of stairs. Running up the stairs can increase your stride rate. Hit every step as fast as you can then walk down for the rest. Do this at most once or twice a week. If you experience knee pain, try alternative workouts.
How do you measure the stride rate
- Use a foot pod with stride rate measurement. Most foot pods are able to count the number of steps you make in a minute. For example, foot pods of Adidas miCoach and Polar fitness watches have stride rate measurements. Garmin watches have foot pods also but are bought separately.
- Pedometer (?). I haven't tried using a pedometer when running but I believe it does count the number of steps. I just wonder if the counting can keep up with your running since they were designed usually for walking. Also, the pedometer counts the total number of steps in the entire duration. You may need to do a little math to get the average number of steps made in one minute.
Since I started monitoring my stride rate, I was able to increase my average from 155 to 160. I have walk breaks in betweenso it is still low. But wehn running, it is between 160-168. I still have to reach a 170 stride rate.
So, when you train for your stride rate, remember the magic number – 180.NOW AVAILABLE. TAKBO.PH COTTON TEES AND HOODIES. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO ORDER.
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