Many people ask me how to improve their running form. When most people start a running program or want to go faster, the common thought is to stride out and push hard. The truth is, we want our body to land on top of our feet. If you watch a professional distance runner, they have a HUGE stride. But, if you look at their body when their foot hits the ground, the majority of the body’s weight is directly above their foot.
The first step is to make sure that your stride rate (spm = strides per minute) or cadence is between 160 – 180 spm. This means that your feet will touch the ground this many times per minute of running. The quicker you can get this spm during your faster workouts, the better for not only your speed, but also for the jarring on your body.
How to Increase Your Strides per Minute (spm)
1. Shuffle feet along the ground for about 20 feet
2. Continue doing this, but lift your feet slightly off the ground
3. Focus on “Light and Quick”. This means think that as soon as your foot hits, lift your foot up. Allow your foot to hit slightly and immediately lift it up again
4. Think “Quick, Quick, Quick”
Good luck hitting your stride this week!
How to measure your Strides per Minute (spm)
1. Set your timer for 1 minute
2. Get into a comfortable running pace
3. Start your timer
4. Count how many times your left foot hits the ground until the timer goes off
5. Double that number and you have your spm
You’ve got this!
Your Partner in Health,
Carol Frazey, M.S.
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