The 3 Best Running Parameters To Improve Your Running Performance

Benefit of Improving Your Running Technique

Most of the runners focus on running training mainly to improve their aerobic capacity or muscle strength, spending little or no time on their running technique.

Improving your running techniques is fundamental to enhance your running performance for many reasons:

  1. It will increase your running efficiency.
  2. It will decrease your energy expenditure.
  3. It will decrease the stress on joints, muscles and tendons.
  4. It will decrease the risk of injuries.
  5. It will reduce the recovery time after the training or competition.

In our clinic, we helped many runners to enhance their running technique and consequently their running performance thanks to our high-tech gait analysis system, but today I would like to share with you some of the most important running parameters we consider during our Running Assessment and Running Technique Training services.

With our running assessment, we can obtain dozens of running parameters but here we are going to analyze only the 3 Best Running Parameters that you can assess and improve by yourself too:

  1. Step Length
  2. Cadence ( Steps Per Minute)
  3. Lateral Symmetry

 

The 3 Best Running Parameteres

STEP LENGTH:

It is the distance between the heel contact of one side of the body and the heel contact of the other side.

Running Analysis Report

 

Running Assessment Report

The Step Length is calculated very precisely by our Gait Analysis System but you could get your step length approximately using an empiric method.

To find your step length, count the number of times your heels land on a pathway of 50 meters, placing one heel on the start line. Divide 50m by the number of steps found. In this way, you should get an approximation of your step length.

The ideal step length depends on the length of the athlete’s leg and the speed reached by the same, but we can identify an ideal average.

For example, for an average speed of 5 minutes per kilometer (12Km / h), the Ideal Step length is 125 – 135cm.

Be careful that if for your case these measures are too far from yours, do not stress yourself too much to reach them but set yourself the goal of increasing your step length by about 5%.

CADENCE:

It shows the number of steps per minute.

Generally faster runners have a quicker cadence than slower runners.

A recent study has found that runners with a cadence below 162spm ( steps per minute ) had a higher injury rate than those with a cadence above 165-170spm.

It has been found that increasing step count reduces:

  1. Impact Peak ( Initial Force of Landing ).
  2. Vertical Loading Rate.

These 2 measures are both associated with running injuries.

Furthermore, slow cadence means you are missing out on the elastic energy provided by a quicker turnover.

The image below shows the cadence parameter of our Running Assessment Report.

measures are both associated

 

Running Assessment Report

These data are calculated very precisely by our Gait Analysis System but you could get your cadence approximately using an empiric method.

To find your cadence, time yourself running for 30 seconds while counting the number of times your feet land. Multiply the figure by two to get your steps per minute.

So if your cadence is 160 steps per minute or slower, consider stepping it up by 3-5%.

Pay attention to not reducing the too much step length as it will affect negatively your global running efficiency!

LATERAL SYMMETRY:

This parameter describes the shift to the left/right of the intersection point of the course of the CoP ( Center of Pressures ) in the cyclogram display taking all the steps into consideration. A negative value indicates a shift to the left side, and a positive value a shift to the right side. The zero position is the center of the presentation ( see picture below )

Running-Parameters

 

Running Assessment Report

Lateral symmetry is a slightly more complex parameter that expresses the stability and efficiency of the running technique. Of course, you can’t get the data accuracy that our gait analysis system provides, but you can use an empirical method to get an idea of your running stability and efficiency.

You can use a system similar to ours used for the running technique training service: place a laser level (a cheap one is good for the purpose too) on support or some books in the back of a treadmill so that the laser beam splits the treadmill mat medially into two parts. In the same position, place your mobile phone or video camera so that you can make a recording of a couple of minutes of your run (please see the picture below).

running technique

 

Running Assessment System

With this system you can control the deviation of your feet from the median line drawn by the laser beam: the greater the deviation, the lower the stability, and therefore the efficiency of your run.

With our running assessment system, we can have real-time feedback thanks to a screen, placed in front of the runner, which highlights both the image of the cameras and the data of the entire cyclogram, but with this simple system, you will get a good approximation of your Lateral Symmetry.

In the video below you can see how a groin injury can affect many parameters of the running techniques, including Lateral Simmetry, and how after a few sessions of our sports therapy and running rehabilitation these parameters are improved.

Our Tips To Improve Your Running Technique

To summarise all this information here there are the main 3 aims to improve your running performance:

  1. Improve your Step Length on the range of 3-5%.
  2. Improve your Cadence reaching an average of 165-170 Steps per Minutes.
  3. Improve your Lateral Symmetry by stabilazing as much as possible the deviation of your feet from their median line.

2 Comments on “The 3 Best Running Parameters To Improve Your Running Performance

  1. Pingback: Can Running Shoes improve your running performance? Mr Salus Sporting Lab

  2. Pingback: How the body posture can influence your Running Technique

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