November 2014

Training to increase running cadence alters biomechanics but not efficiency

In the moment: Sports medicine

By Jordana Bieze Foster

Six weeks of training to increase running cadence is associated with significant changes in kinematics and vertical loading rate, but does not affect running efficiency, according to research from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Investigators assessed preferred cadence in six healthy runners, then instructed them to complete at least half their weekly running mileage at a 10% faster cadence and record all training in a log. The runners were given access to metro­nomes, music playlists of songs with tempos at the target cadence, and free apps that could provide the same services.

After six weeks, the runners demonstrated a small but significant increase in preferred running cadence. This increase was associated with decreases in ankle dorsiflexion at initial contact, peak hip abduction angle, and vertical loading rate. Running efficiency, however, did not differ between conditions.

The results, which were epublished on November 4 by the Journal of Sport Sciences, are consistent with earlier findings presented by the same group at the 2013 meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics (see “Increasing running cadence simulated some advantages of going barefoot,” September 2013, page 11).


Hafer JF, Brown AM, deMille P, et al. The effect of a cadence retraining protocol on running biomechanics and efficiency: A pilot study. J Sport Sci 2014 Nov 4. [Epub ahead of print]

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