How to analyse running characteristics
Skillrun has a sensorised deck
which detects every single running data: cadence, stride length, contact time, balance. The large screen provides you a real time feed-back to improve running technique.
The best advice to perform a thorough test is to follow an incremental protocol with speed increasing 1 km/h every 4 minutes. At the end of each step, heart rate and blood lactate will be measured in order to determine anaerobic threshold and speed and the same reference values for easy and medium pace. But the most interesting part is that using a sensorised treadmill, cadence and stride length can be recorded too.
Exercises to improve cadence
Well, at the end, we’ll have an athlete’s detailed “picture” from both metabolic and mechanic perspective and we can use it to refine training target. In fact, it will be easy to understand which is the “strategy” adopted by each subject since data will outline different running patterns: there are runners who increase cadence and stride length at each speed increment, whereas there are others that just increase cadence and some others who work more on stride length. Thus, the preferred cadence at each training intensity should be recorded.
This is a very good starting point to design a training plan that will consider not just speed and heart rate but also target cadence at different paces. To make an example, if data show a “lazy” cadence and a trend to increase stride length, particular focus is needed to improve cadence at each target speed. The goal, however, must be realistic and within athlete’s reach: if the cadence is 160 at medium pace, a realistic target could be 165-168, repeating the drill until the new cadence becomes natural.
Of course performing specific drills on the treadmill can be very useful because it allows to keep the same pace focusing on cadence only. It happens, in fact, that running outdoor at constant pace whilst modifying the cadence is rather difficult and there is a natural trend to increase speed when increasing cadence.
Designing training session with this scope will consist in planning different steps at target speed, such as easy aerobic, tempo and anaerobic threshold associating them with a target cadence which will be 5 steps/minute faster than the ones recorded in the test.
Another training drill could be running at constant pace for 10 minutes, performing cadence intervals of 1’ each, going from the basic rate to 5 steps/minute faster and recovering for 1’ at the previous rate.