Perfect Cadence

by Mark Yeoman Coach's Corner

Today’s coaches corner is very unique as its a topic that covers all three disciplines: Perfect cadence.

What’s is cadence? Cadence is simply the number of actions taken during the course of a minute. This will either be pedal strokes on the bike, strokes taken in the pool over a certain distance or number of steps per minute running.

So what is the perfect cadence? Cycling: BTF look to encourage coaches to promote a cadence range of 75-85 revolutions per minute (rpm). Working on this principles. If you select too low a gear - then your cadence will drop low, so sub 65rpm. This means you will be pushing hard and this builds up lactic acid in the legs and will blow them leaving you with nothing for the run. OR if you select too high a gear you could be ticking over at 110rpm+ Meaning that you are virtually spinning on the spot and therefore not moving forwards as fast as you could. However, as you will see with running, a cadence range of 90-95 is best for those looking to run off the bike. You will see the pros hitting 100-120 with ease but they have progressively trained themselves to turn the right gear at that level. Top Tip: look to change your gear frequently to ensure you are in the correct cadence range. Look to practice small periods of higher cadence on your long ride or turbo sessions to teach your body to cycle with a higher turn over.

Running: As mentioned above, get the wrong gear on the bike and you are likely to have blown your legs out filling them with lactic acid and therefore running off the bike with heavy legs. Elite runners have a cadence of 180-210 steps per minute whilst training or racing. The length of their strides simply increases. So how can we use this knowledge to help run off the bike better. Well if you half 180 you get 90 which is the lower end of the more efficient cycle cadence range. Top tip: look to buy a small metronome were you can set the bleeps to help you run faster.

Swimming: This is slightly more harder to give a guide to. Wing span has a factor. This is basically whether your wing span of your arms are longer or shorter than your height. A positive wing span means you can have the potential to catch more water per stroke, but if you have a poor or short stroke it won’t apply. Counting your strokes per length can help. 25m pool means you should take less than 25 strokes. As you get more efficient this will come down. However when you look to go fast, your stroke rate will naturally increase. Having the ability to maintain this is keep. Think speed boat going fast for 10sec then drifting in the water. It slows down. Now if that speed boat could keep going it will get to the end quicker Top tip: you can also buy a waterproof metronome which goes under your swim cap and you look to replicate a stroke to the beeps.

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