/ Lengthening stride

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goldmember - on 14 Nov 2017
I have quite a high cadence when running, but my stride length is comparatively short.
I would like to become more efficient and faster, I can imagine untraining years of running and retraining stride length, will be tricky and require lots of focus.
Any advice what the gains are like? What training and exercises you used? How do you falling back into old stride patterns?
Yanis Nayu - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to goldmember:

Not sure it’s such a good idea. I don’t think there is much benefit in trying but it would bring a high risk of injury.
Martin Penrice - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to goldmember:

I've also got a high cadence and very small stride im doing ok . I'm not an expert on this but would lengthen your stride not cause cadence to drop and pace would still be same . I run with guys with long stride I seem to be running at same pace . If your changing things just be careful of injury maybe I'm too cautious don't like to change if I'm injury free
Steff - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to goldmember:

I seem to remember reading (on here?) that there has been some research showing that re-training stride causes a inefficiencies, causes decrease in performance and does not help.

Unless there is something seriously wrong (such as overstriding and related injuries) I would not do anything to the stride. Instead train to run fast. Do speed work.
Dave B on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to goldmember:

Are you generally inflexible?
The New NickB - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to goldmember:

I wouldn’t do anything more than work on flexibility, especially hip mobility and maybe do some drills, but don’t over do it.

In my experience, myself and observing others, efficiency comes with mileage. What is your average weekly mileage, is it fairly consistent? What sort of speeds are we talking about? How old are you? If what you have generally works for you, it is better to make small improvements in efficiency, rather than to try and make major changes.
Moley on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to goldmember:

My take on running is that we all have a natural stride and running style that suits our individual bodies, this is what we drop into when we run. Increase training will result in increased higher cadence or stride length = improve and go faster, within limits. Trying to force change to what is natural to individuals is possibly asking for trouble.
Most of us have seen world class runners/athletes with dreadful looking idiosyncrasies, bobbing heads like a toy dog, arms flailing about etc. but that is just them.

I would stick to a bit of stretching to ensure you have full use of muscles and increase training, only if you need it. Our bodies are what we are born with, some win and some lose, I've got tiddly short legs (not a lot of stride with these), but just have to accept it.
David Riley - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to goldmember:

As an engineer I came to the conclusion that a long stride was better. That may not be right. Shorter strides seem more popular these days. But I have always tried to run with a slightly longer stride than felt easy, to extend it.
It suits me. I'm not fast. But I've been running a long time (at about the same speed) and win my age category sometimes. I don't get injuries.
DancingOnRock - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to goldmember:
Run hills, pick up your heels, pull your knees through hard and bring your knees up. Make sure your foot lands underneath you.

That will increase your stride length.

Don’t try to increase it by over-striding by putting your foot down in front of your centre of gravity.
Post edited at 10:46
David Riley - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> pick up your heels, pull your knees through hard and bring your knees up. Make sure your foot lands underneath you.

I'll think about that on my run tonight.
DancingOnRock - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to David Riley:

Lots to think about.

Also drive your elbows back and make sure your arms are going forwards and backwards and not crossing your body because as they cross you will twist your upper body and waste energy.
David Riley - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to DancingOnRock:

On that basis you waste energy by moving your arms back and forward. You can't stand on roller skates and generate any forward motion that way. But it effectively lengthens the stride by transferring weight, I think, and helps balance.
DancingOnRock - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to David Riley:

You’re not standing on roller skates. You have friction between your feet and the ground that you push against. If you swing your arms sideways you are creating force in a direction other than that which you are travelling.
David Riley - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to DancingOnRock:

Maybe you're right. I suppose with a ratchet you could move on roller skates.
wbo - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to goldmember:
There's a top limit to cadence so if you want to faster you're going to need to stretch it out. A long stride also helps if you run a lot of really muddy stuff. You still need to maintain, improve efficiency.

Stretching and interval training to increase strengh
fred99 - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to goldmember:

To increase stride length you need to do two things;

1) Increase flexibility at the groin and knees. For this you need to do (gentle) stretching exercises (when warm) so that you find the increased stride length comfortable.
Please note, increased mileage when running tends to reduce flexibility, so this is worth doing anyway.
2) Learn to swing your arms more. You need to do this to counterbalance the increased movement of your legs. If you do not have arms and legs working together then it will not work. Note: exercises are normally required to increase shoulder strength to swing your arms, but as a climber you should not need this.

You can also aid improving stride length by running on a (slight) downhill slope at speed, remembering to train your body to lift the knees and swing the arms appropriately.
David Riley - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to fred99:

Also, increasing your stride length makes you better at running down hills.
SouthernSteve on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to David Riley:

> Also, increasing your stride length makes you better at running down hills.

Don't know if this helps. For me, being told to consider how far back my leg was pushing backwards when going down hill was really useful. Previously my increase in stride length going down hill was all in front of me with an increased risk of overstriding.
David Riley - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to SouthernSteve:

I delight in flinging myself out into the abyss down steep hills and want my legs well forward.
What is overstriding down hill and why is it a problem ?
SouthernSteve on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to David Riley:

The idea, as I understand it (big caveat), is that in going down hill you use 'fast-feet' - so high cadence and don't reach forward with your legs so that when you foot lands it is not breaking your rhythm/momentum (with your body behind the landing foot). If you are flinging your self down hill, you are effectively leaning well forward and you are probably not overstriding. However despite this increased hip extension (leg behind you) means that the stride is a greater length.

That might not be very clear – I am usually receiving this info practically and it is more difficult to describe properly than I thought.
David Riley - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to SouthernSteve:

Interesting thoughts.

> not breaking your rhythm/momentum (with your body behind the landing foot).
A good thing if it's steep.

Did you run Shepshed last week ?
SouthernSteve on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to David Riley:
re: Shepshed 7
No unfortunately – no racing at the moment. Massive training error over the summer (luckily after the Lakes Ultra) meant I have been rehabbing a sore Achilles until recently. Currently back up to 15 mile / week and things very much better. Bottom line, don't change shoes radically and ramp up your speed work all at the same time (I was just enjoying myself)

re: No stopping!
With regard to the falling forwards run there was a video of someone beating the Welsh 3000's record a few years ago coming off Crib Goch, they never stopped once. It was amazing and you expected the fall at any moment. Fantastic.
bouldery bits - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to goldmember:

I vary my stride.

Am I weird?
SouthernSteve on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to SouthernSteve:
I think this is the video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilHqrDDWMVk about 3 mins in.
Post edited at 19:45
David Riley - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to bouldery bits:

It's a good thing to do.
David Riley - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to SouthernSteve:

Yes, that looks fun. Although I wouldn't want to run up the hill. Ultra's are not for me.
I tried to race a cable car in the Alps a few weeks back. No chance. But it was an experience.
Hope your problems go away.
mountainbagger - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to SouthernSteve:

I love that video! I had seen it before but I had to watch it again when you posted it. Awesome.
fred99 - on 16 Nov 2017
In reply to bouldery bits:

You should vary your stride length dependent on the angle of the ground that you are running on - the steeper the ground, the shorter the stride length.
Also rough terrain means stride length has to alter to utilise the "best bits" to put your feet on - to clear holes, ruts etc..
Webster - on 16 Nov 2017
In reply to David Riley:

> As an engineer I came to the conclusion that a long stride was better.

Why?

Increasing your stride length increases the negative inertia on each foot fall, reducing efficiency. of course if your front foot fall wasn't slightly in front of your centre of gravity then you would fall over, but purely from a conceptual biomechanic point of view, the most efficient position for the front foot fall is directly below the centre of gravity.

like everything there is a desireable balance to be found between cadence and stride length, and that is different for every human body. too short a stride length and your having to make your legs work really fast for a given speed, too long a stride length and you are having to overcome too much negative inertia with every foot fall. as a fit adult human being, whatever feels natural will most likely be your optimum stride length in terms of efficiency.
Ciro - on 16 Nov 2017
In reply to Webster:
> Why?

> Increasing your stride length increases the negative inertia on each foot fall, reducing efficiency. of course if your front foot fall wasn't slightly in front of your centre of gravity then you would fall over, but purely from a conceptual biomechanic point of view, the most efficient position for the front foot fall is directly below the centre of gravity.

Only if you're increasing the length at the front of the stride.

> like everything there is a desireable balance to be found between cadence and stride length, and that is different for every human body. too short a stride length and your having to make your legs work really fast for a given speed, too long a stride length and you are having to overcome too much negative inertia with every foot fall. as a fit adult human being, whatever feels natural will most likely be your optimum stride length in terms of efficiency.

Maybe if you've been coached into decent form when younger, but what felt natural certainly wasn't the most efficient for me. A few years back introducing a pelvic rotation to lengthen the back of my stride took about 5% off my 10km time practically overnight; the cue I used was to think about keeping the foot on the deck a bit longer before picking it up, and it allowed me to increase both cadence and stride length at the same work rate.
Post edited at 15:38
David Riley - on 16 Nov 2017
In reply to Webster:

All the fastest land animals strive for maximum stride not maximum cadence.
Cheetah, greyhound, horse.

> whatever feels natural will most likely be your optimum stride length in terms of efficiency.
Why ? It feels more natural to run with a low cadence too, and generally go slow.

> the most efficient position for the front foot fall is directly below the centre of gravity
Presumably your centre of 'gravity' is somewhere in front of you if you are moving forwards quickly ?
The feet of a cheetah would reach out in front, would they not ?
David Riley - on 16 Nov 2017
In reply to Ciro:
> A few years back introducing a pelvic rotation to lengthen the back of my stride

I thought that was just me. I've had funny looks suggesting it.
Post edited at 16:35
Webster - on 16 Nov 2017
In reply to David Riley:

> Presumably your centre of 'gravity' is somewhere in front of you if you are moving forwards quickly ?

No (unless leaning far forward...) your centre of gravity, which is rather a colloquial term anyway, is always directly below your centre of mass (ie roughly below your lower torso), irrespective of if/how you are moving.
DancingOnRock - on 17 Nov 2017
In reply to Webster:

That’s why you lengthen your stride by picking up your heels, driving your knee through and getting your knees high. Your stride length lengthens due to the amount of time you are in the air. You don’t lengthen your stride by pushing your foot forward further.

You also lengthen your stride by pushing off harder with the back foot. The harder you push off the further you travel before gravity pulls you back down to earth and if you can keep your feet in the air longer, you travel further.

Ideally your hips should be staying horizontal and your body shouldn’t be going up and down too much.
David Riley - on 17 Nov 2017
In reply to DancingOnRock:
> Your stride length lengthens due to the amount of time you are in the air.
Very true.
Webster - on 12:05 Mon
In reply to DancingOnRock:

yep your right there, I guess we are referring to two ever so slightly different things... by stride length I mean 'length of reach from front to back leg'. you can absolutely increase stride length by your definition without increasing length of reach and therefore increasing the negative inertia of the front foot fall.
DancingOnRock - on 12:23 Mon
In reply to Webster:

Exactly.

I think your reach is going to be severely limited by the length of your legs and the flexibility in your hips.

Stretching will only get you so far, most of your stride length will come from your economy of movement (high heels) and strength (push off and knee drive).

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