Just for fun

Cadence and Pace. Is There a Relationship Between Them?

running g62a4e37a2 1920

Previously I had dove into my overall Garmin activities, why I get injured and what should by training look like to minimise injury and improve my running. Click here to see that post.

Runners would know that cadence is one of those numbers that you try to adjust in order to improve your running technique by reducing the load your body takes with every stride. The optimal cadence looks to be somewhere around 180 strides per minute.

I take a closer look at this based on my own Garmin running data that goes over 20 months and covers 202 recorded running activities.

How has my running cadence changed over time?

Below is how my average running cadence has changed over time. I’ve also included the number of runs I did in each of the months.

image 29

I don’t recall exactly what was going on during these points in time, however it looks like there are three distinct time periods:

  1. Between May 2020 to Nov 2020, my cadence ranged between 176-180 spm
  2. It then stepped down between Dec 2020 and Mar 2021 where it ranged between 172-176 spm
  3. I must have become more conscious of my cadence from April 2021 onwards and tried to aim more for an optimal cadence of 180 spm as it’s remained tightly within 178-182 since then

Does my running cadence stay consistent when I run at faster and slower paces?

I’ve tried to see if there is a relationship between pace and cadence across all these runs and have plotted a simple linear regression trend line. This has been broken up into the individual time periods.

You might also be interested in  The Hidden Costs of Pursuing Your Running Passion: A Look at My Running Budget Over the Last Three Years

From this:

image 33

Can see that:

  • Across all the time periods, can see that there is a negative correlation between pace and cadence – i.e. when I have a lower (faster) pace, the higher my cadence seems to be
  • My running between Dec 2020 to Mar 2021 had a completely different relationship to my running in the other periods. Honestly not too sure on the reason why!
    • May 2020 to Nov 2020: For every minute slower in pace, my cadence goes down by 3.1
    • Dec 2020 to Mar 2021: For every minute slower in pace, my cadence goes down by 0.8
    • Apr 2021 Onwards: For every minute slower in pace, my cadence goes down by 2.4
  • Ignoring Dec 2020 to Mar 2021, it looks like I hold a more stable cadence when I run at faster and slower paces from April 2021 onwards compared to the May 2020 to Nov 2020 period

Simply looking at the variance of my cadence across these time periods, the variability in my pace has gone down in general by about 45-60%!

Variance% Difference to May 2020 to Nov 2020 Period
May 2020 to Nov 202018.1
Dec 2020 to Mar 20217.5-58%
Apr 2021 Onwards9.5-47%


When I run at a faster pace, I tend to have a higher cadence.

As I’ve been continuing training and trying to improve my running technique, my cadence has remained more stable even across a mix of faster and slower runs, and the general variability of my cadence has dropped by 45-60% since 2020.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *