Rethinking Running Cadence: Why the 180 Theory Might Not Be Your Magic Number

Apr 5, 2024

How Hill Runs Will Transform Your Running Cadence

Are you chasing after the elusive 180 cadence magic number in your running? While aiming for a specific cadence can seem like the golden ticket to improved performance, it might be time to reconsider whether this rigid approach is actually helping or hindering your progress.

The cadence theory suggests that maintaining a pace of 180 steps per minute is the key to optimal running efficiency. However, fixating solely on this number overlooks the individual differences in biomechanics and physiology that can significantly impact running performance.

In reality, prioritising running technique over hitting a specific cadence is essential for long-term success. Striving for an arbitrary cadence without considering your body’s readiness or capabilities can lead to unnecessary stress on your joints and tissues. Instead of focusing solely on increasing your step count, it’s crucial to build a strong foundation of strength and endurance gradually.

So, how can you improve your cadence effectively without falling into the trap of chasing numbers? The answer lies in incorporating hill running into your training regimen.

Hill running serves as a powerful tool for enhancing both cadence and running technique. When you run uphill, you’re forced to lift your feet higher off the ground, engaging key muscle groups such as the glutes, quads, and calves. This increased leg cycle encourages a more efficient stride, allowing you to cover more ground with each step.

Tackling inclines strengthens your muscles and improves muscular endurance, ultimately translating to greater speed and efficiency when running on flat. By incorporating hill sprints and speed drills into your training routine, you can develop the explosive power needed to propel yourself forward with each stride.