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Just for fun, following up on yesterday’s post on running cadence, I did a little YouTube surfing to find footage of fast Kenyans running slowly. Because the question I’m interested in isn’t: “Do fast runners take quick strides?” I think that’s reasonably well established. The trickier — and I’d argue more relevant — question is: “Do fast runners take quick strides when they’re running slowly?”
The best example I found was this 10-minute clip posted in 2007 by Toby Tanser, which shows all sorts of footage of Kenyan runners at different speeds:
Now, if you spend a little time with a stopwatch, you quickly find that when the runners are shuffling along slowly, then tend to have a slow cadence in the 160s, and when they’re running fast, their cadence tends to be above 180. But that doesn’t really answer the question, because it’s not necessarily the same runner. So I’ve cued to video to 2:49, where you see a clip of Hilda Kibet (1:08 half-marathoner, 2:24 marathoner) jogging slowly, and then another clip of her running quickly around the track. My measurements:
Jogging slowly: 18 strides in 6.7 seconds = 162 steps per minute
Running fast: 16 strides in 5.0 seconds = 190 steps per minute
I realize this is pretty scanty data! And I also realize that there’s a fairly extreme difference between how slowly she’s shuffling in the first clip, and how quickly she’s hauling in the second clip. But that’s the whole point: you can’t talk about cadence without considering speed.