How The Perfect Playlist Can Injury-Proof Your Run

Hi there folks!

I’ve had a burst of optimism this week as I have officially been given the all-clear to run again. I’ve been resting my foot for the last few weeks after I strained a tendon under the arch during a rather intense sprint session. Oh, the joys of running injuries.

Anyway, I went out for a short 3km run this morning, and I couldn’t have felt happier. I had almost forgotten how much I actually enjoy running: it’s my stress release, it clears my head and makes me feel free. The only thing that surpasses my love for running is my hate for the rowing machine, which has been my default cardio substitute during Crossfit WODs (seriously, I’d rather do burpees.)

Now I’m running again, I can practice what we learned at the Pose running workshop, which I posted about here. One interesting technique I touched on was to focus on the number of steps you take per minute, known as running cadence or stride rate. This technique can be beneficial to all runners, so read on even if you don’t run ‘Pose’.

The Optimal Stride Rate For Fast And Efficient Running: 180 Steps Per Minute

I bet most of you who run have never really thought about your stride rate. I know I never used to! If you’re like me, it’s probably a lot slower than 180 steps per minute. But it’s been found that the most efficient runners run with this high foot turnover, a point that was  reiterated by uber runner Sally Lynch at the Pose workshop.

The benefits of a higher cadence:

  • It forces you to take shorter, lighter steps
  • This reduces the amount of impact on your body
  • Even if you run with a heel strike, increasing your cadence will still reduce some of the impact. It will just feel like you’re doing more of a “shuffle”, like you’re a geisha in platform flip-flops.
    Less impact = less risk of injury!
  • It increases your forward momentum, meaning you use less energy for each step.
    Less energy expenditure = greater efficiency = faster running!
  • If you slip on wet ground, you’re more likely to catch yourself from falling. Think about it –  if you’re taking big, loping strides and your front foot slips out from under you and your other foot is lagging way behind, bang! You’ve just done the splits, torn your shorts and quite possibly a hammy as well. Continue reading