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Beginner Running

180 steps per minute and Couch to 5K?

asked over 4 years ago | Report

I recently read an excellent article on No Meat Athlete about the optimal steps per minute being 180, which greatly lessens the chance of injury. I have done two runs thus far at this rate, and although it still feels a bit fast for me, it is still achievable, and do I think it will be better for me injury-wise. However, I am only on week 3 of Couchto5K, so I haven't run continuously for more than 3 mins at this point. I am nervous about getting to week 5 and doing that 20 min run - I don't think I can sustain 180 steps per minute for 20 minutes! Should I just slow down my pace as the running duration increases, and then speed it up again once I can run further? My goal at this point is to be able to run 5K without stopping to walk.

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  • 180 isn't anything magical. The key is to have a cadence fast enough to match your natural recoil frequency range to get the stored energy from your muscles and tendons returned. The 180 cadence is taken from a study of elite athletes, the rest of us don't need to be quite that quick to get the efficiency and injury prevention benefits. Just keep it quick enough so your feet don't feel like they stick to the ground and you'll be fine.

    answered over 4 years ago |Report

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  • I dont really know what to tell you about the 180 steps per minute. All i could tell you is dont think about week 5 until your actually at week 5. I just recently finished week 5 myself. and i couldnt even believe that i actually did it. Plus dont think about your pacing to much at this moment.

    answered over 4 years ago |Report

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  • I agree with Erik - it's a general guideline, but there is certainly variability in there. Mostly, though, it helps people recognize that their cadence is usually a bit low. Mine tends to be around 85-87 when fresh, or closer to 80-82 when fatigued - and I can tell a big, big difference between the two. So if someone starts out at something like 75, the target of 90 (180/2, obviously) is more a thing to help them realize to pick it up a tad - even though that persons optimal number may not be 90, exactly.
    Physically, what happens at the faster cadence is that your body does less 'bounding', as well as it keeps your foot from over-striding. Thats where the injury prevention comes in - it's virtually impossible to over-stride (and thus heel strike) when your cadence is anywhere near 90.

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  • Lesson your stride but keep your pace. Find some good tunes to help maintain the pace. Look here for some good ones at the "right" pace for running. http://www.dailyspark.com/blog.asp?post=the_top_100_running_songs_of_all_time

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  • Hi Christina. I have just completed week 6 on the program. A 25 minute run. I couldn't believe I did it and not feel exhausted. The Couch - 5k works. Just listen to your body - If you are gulping air down just slow a little. It makes a difference. You will do week 5 as I thought the same, and was quite staggered when I finished the run. Good luck and keep us posted.

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