Run cadence for slugs


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    Was perusing some of the resource material and came across a section pertaining to bike and run cadence. According to the article, 90 +/- 5 is the target cadence for all bike and run zones.

    The bike is not difficult as gearing allows changes in effort at a consistent cadence. Running, however is a different story. For slugs like me (FTP 8:46) or higher, trying to run a 10+ minute pace at a cadence of 90 is not very easy. I’ve tried and the incredibly short strides are quite uncomfortable.

    I understand that for those fortunate folks whose Z2 is my threshold or better that cadence isn’t an issue. For the rest of us, how important is trying to target such a high cadence while we plod along.


    Here’s a good article on the issue of running cadence:

    What’s the Best Running Cadence? How to Know Your Ideal Step Rate

    The idea that everyone should be running with a cadence of at least 180 is way too generalized. This was based on the observations of running coach, Jack Daniels. However, he was observing elite athletes who were running a lot faster than most of us. I like how the article takes a more nuanced view and gives ranges based on your running pace. I hope this helps.


    Take a look at some of the logs for NAZ Elite, . You will see there is a wide and individual cadence for runners. Implication is that we have a natural cadence that will emerge as we develop. If I recall Matt has an article on the blog drawing the same conclusion.

    I took a break from running to do the six week FTP Builder on Zwift Academy. The training has you working at cadences from 70 to 110 at various efforts. I found that training and pushing the cadence bled into my running and walking. Whether or not it will persist when I return to running only remains to be seen.


    All good stuff. I do vaguely remember reading something from Matt which made me kind of surprised to see the statement in the reference material.

    I find myself pretty much in line with alancraig’s article as far as comfortable cadence and pace ranges.


    Hi Bstarr,
    Can you provide the link to where you saw the reference to 90rpm for bike and 90 spm for run cadence in our resources? I don’t recall seeing that specifically anywhere other than perhaps a reference to 90rpm for cycling?
    Here are 2 articles regarding run cadence and bike cadence for you to read over and consider in your training:

    Schooling Your Stride

    When the Question Is Cycling Cadence, the Answer Is Nobody Knows



    Just got back from a little vacation so I haven’t had a chance to read the articles you’ve given. I’ll take a look.

    This is what I’m referring to:

    Unless otherwise specified in the workout, we recommend that your cadence remain at 90rpm +/- 5 for all zones, on the bike and the run, with the slightly lower cadence allowed for Zone 3+ and the 90 or higher for Zone 1-2. There is no need to ever exceed 95rpm, but if your next race is expected to include significant hills, simulating an rpm of 75-85 is recommended.

    It is found here:

    Perhaps I’m simply having a reading comprehension moment, but with regards to running it seems to be the exact opposite of what I would expect. I would expect my run cadence to have to increase to run a Z3+ pace and decrease to comfortably run in Z1-Z2.

    In addition, as has been mention in this thread, cadence would likely vary based on pace.



    Tried to edit my previous post but looks like it didn’t take.

    For me, I run at about 81-82 for my 10 min. Z2 pace. If I try to increase that to 85+ it begins to feel as though I’m really short striding.


    HI Bstarr,
    The 90spm is often aimed for in running but every runner will find their natural run cadence over time, and will see how that varies as they increase running pace. I would say what is confusing is the second half the statement above that is talking about bike cadence in terms of hills and zones etc as you mentioned for many runners the opposite is true when running faster.

    It never hurts to work on that SPM though, having a higher cadence even at the slower efforts will decrease ground contact time and make for more efficient running – but this should not feel forced nor something you have to over think, just add in some work on increasing your arm cadence when running slower, without changing stride length and you will get a subtle but natural increase in your leg cadence.

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