My Running Cadence? 166. What’s Yours?

HAPPY FRIDAY! I hope it’s not a big surprise to you that I took my new FR220 out for a spin last night!

Obviously, I had to deck myself out in purple and pink to match the band of the watch : )


The weather was a nice and cool 81*, the sky was just beautiful and my legs felt great!

The FR220 was an excellent running companion. I love the big screen! The only thing I didn’t like was the auto pause feature which I have turned off.

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There are two stop lights between the bridge I run over to get to the beach and the actual running path at the beach. Most evenings I get caught at one of them if not both.

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It took the Garmin a good few seconds to recognize that I had come to a complete stop at the lights, and then after I started running again it took a good 5 to 7 seconds to re-start. Oh well, I’ll just continue to manually pause the watch.

One SUPER cool thing about this watch is that it measures your cadence – my FR210 did not do that. I’ve heard that 180 cadence is the optimal number to shoot for, and last night I averaged 166 cadence which is much closer than I was expecting it to be. 

As I was Google’ing around I came across this article in Outside magazine that says 180 may not be the magical number. Dr. Bryan Heiderscheit at the University of Wisconsin-Madison says the actual best cadence is still completely unknown:

“If you show good running mechanics, you’re landing on your foot more underneath your hips, you have a relatively ‘soft knee’ at landing in which it’s bent at about 20 degrees – if you have those elements, and you come in with a step rate, say, of 172, that’s fine.”

Hmmm it still seems like something around the area of 180 is best. I’m interested to see what my cadence is like during speedwork.

If you don’t have a GPS watch or other device that measures your cadence, you can find your number by doing this:

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Competitor suggests once you find your number that you should set a goal to increase it by 5-10%:

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I’m extremely data-driven (it’s a part of my job that seeps into my running life) and am excited to now have the ability to track this new stat!

Do you know your cadence? Or even care? Is it just another somewhat useless thing to track? 



  1. August 1, 2014 / 8:09 am

    Lol! I just checked, mine is 169…I didn’t quite know what to do with that information! I did know that it is easiest to get to the optimal cadence with a mid foot strike (shorter stride than with a heel strike…).
    So much information, so little time.. 🙂

    • August 1, 2014 / 8:28 pm


      During speedwork I consciously work on having a faster but shorter stride to conserve energy. Other than wanting to improve my cadence on these shorter, easier runs to be more energy efficient / tire out less quickly I definitely want to work on a 5 – 10% improvement. Other than that …. not sure what to do with the info either! I guess it’s just a fun fact to know 🙂

  2. August 1, 2014 / 9:57 am

    I’ve never known mine. *shrug* I seem to be doing just fine without knowing.

    Although I am curious now….

    • August 1, 2014 / 8:28 pm

      I tried to count my steps once and kept messing up… so this is the first time I’ve ever really known! Can’t say it’s really changed my life haha

  3. August 1, 2014 / 11:52 am

    The cadence tracking is something that I love about my new Forerunner620! I’ve always been curious but am too lazy to actually count myself, haha. Since weaing the 620 I’ve been hovering between 170-175. It’s a very fun stat to track! 🙂

  4. August 1, 2014 / 12:16 pm

    Hey, it’s good to know, right?! As runners, aren’t we all total tracking geeks when it comes to everything? That’s an awesome feature, I’d definitely be interested in finding out mine!

    • August 1, 2014 / 8:30 pm

      Ali @ says there are some apps you can download to your phone to check if your Garmin doesn’t track it!

    • August 1, 2014 / 8:31 pm

      It’s good to know how energy efficient your stride is. From what I understand the shorter your stride the less wear on your body which means your legs won’t feel tired as fast — which is totally a good thing!

  5. August 1, 2014 / 4:22 pm

    I hate the auto pause too!

    I use a metronome app and do a cadence run once in awhile in place of normal speed work. 180 feels natural and not too fast but I end up with awesome times! My normal cadence is about 170. I’ve heard runners tend to average 160-180.

    • August 1, 2014 / 8:32 pm

      The auto pause was so annoying! One time I did a manual pause and when I clicked the button to restart it went into auto-pause mode instead of restarting! I mean, I’m not a super fast runner but I know I’m not so slow that the watch should think I’m standing still!

  6. August 1, 2014 / 10:30 pm

    That’s a fun feature on the 220, which I have, too. My cadence was 173 today on my 8 mile run. The auto-pause didn’t work right until I did an update. Now I use it all of the time.

    • August 3, 2014 / 10:07 pm

      Ohhh I need to install the update! I saw the message in Garmin Connect that one was waiting!

  7. August 2, 2014 / 9:50 pm

    I’ve never checked my cadence, but I would like to find out!

    • August 3, 2014 / 10:09 pm

      It’s a good stat to track for running efficiency, I think! The better your cadence the more energy you conserve!

  8. August 3, 2014 / 5:38 pm

    Even though I have that same Garmin I’ve never checked my cadence – I will have to do that!!!

    • August 3, 2014 / 10:08 pm

      When you upload your data to Garmin Connect the stat pops up with all the others!

  9. August 3, 2014 / 6:11 pm

    I have no flipping idea what my cadence is lol You’ve given me a new thing to think about, you know I am an obsessive tracker. I love the new Garmin! I have looked at it often, mine is still working great though and I spend so much on running especially with Disney this year I am trying to hold off lol

    • August 3, 2014 / 10:10 pm

      I hear ya! I’ve wanted the FR220 since it was announced but since my 210 was barely a year old I didn’t think it was a good idea to upgrade… but as a birthday gift? I’ll take it 😀

  10. August 6, 2014 / 8:41 am

    I spot check cadence once in a while (especially when i’m really dragging or running really fast), i’m almost always between 172-180

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