Question: Jack Daniels has done some studies on premier runners and found their stride rate to be 180+ strides a minute. Is this for a particular distance race such as half and full marathons or is this for all distances from 5K and up?
I am training for a half marathon and my stride rate is at 160 strides a minute. Should I try to reduce my stride length to achieve a higher stride rate or should I stay where I am and try something different?
Run SMART Coach Vince Sherry: I’ve spoken to Jack about this a couple of times. He found that the 180 strides per minute applied optimally to every distance from the 800m all the way to the marathon. The difference was in how much ground an athlete would cover in a single stride. The shorter the distance, the faster the pace and the more ground covered with each stride. At 160 steps per minute I have no doubt that you could improve your efficiency by increasing your stride rate. I would suggest trying to hit 165 on your easy days to begin with. The trick is to hit the same pace while taking more steps. Take a count for one minute and check again every 5 to 10 minutes and adjust accordingly. Once you master 165 go for 170!
Footwear can also influence stride rate. A heavily cushioned shoe will allow you to over-stride. You may find that switching to a more minimal shoe makes the process easier. Over-striding in a more minimal shoe will feel uncomfortable, so the body will adjust by shortening your stride naturally.
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