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  • Writer's pictureLuke Nelson

Cadence: The FACTS

There is a lot of misinformation around running cadence, so let's clear a few things up:

❌ 180 steps per minute is NOT a magic number that everyone should aspire to

📏 Cadence is HEIGHT dependent: Every inch of height is associated with a DECREASE of 3 steps per min. (Burns 2019)

🏃🏽‍♀️ What is the average cadence of recreational runners? From Malisoux’s 2023 study of 860 recreational runners, we see the AVERAGE cadence for men & women = 164 steps per min. (Malisoux 2023)

💨 Cadence is SPEED specific: as you increase speed your cadence will also increase (but stride length increases at a greater rate at slower running speeds). (Schache 2014)

🦵Increasing cadence by 5-10% has multiple effects on the lower limb, which can decrease the demand in some areas, but increase the load in others. (Heiderscheit 2011, Lenhart 2014)

🤕 There is limited research around cadence & injury, but Luedke's study those with a cadence of less than 164 were 6.67x more likely to experience a shin injury vs those with a cadence of more than 174 steps. (Luedke 2016)

👋Runners & health professionals save & share this if you found it useful

🤓Health professionals, if you want to learn more about treating runners, check our upcoming Online & Face to Face “MAT Assessing the Runner” courses head to:


  • Burns, G. T., et al. (2019). "Step frequency patterns of elite ultramarathon runners during a 100-km road race." J Appl Physiol (1985) 126(2): 462-468.

  • Heiderscheit, B. C., et al. (2011). "Effects of step rate manipulation on joint mechanics during running." Med Sci Sports Exerc 43(2): 296-302.

  • Lenhart, R., et al. (2014). “Hip Muscle Loads During Running at Various Step Rates.” J Orthop Sports Phys Ther: 1-30.

  • Luedke, L. E., et al. (2016). "Influence of Step Rate on Shin Injury and Anterior Knee Pain in High School Runners." Med Sci Sports Exerc 48(7): 1244-1250.

  • Malisoux, L., et al. (2023). "Reference Values and Determinants of Spatiotemporal and Kinetic Variables in Recreational Runners." Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine 11(10): 23259671231204629.

  • Schache, A. G., et al. (2014). "Lower-Limb Muscular Strategies for Increasing Running Speed." J Orthop Sports Phys Ther: 1-44.

  • Taylor-Haas, J. A., et al. (2022). "Cadence in youth long-distance runners is predicted by leg length and running speed." Gait & posture 98: 266-270.

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