I have noticed a lot of young track athletes trying to run fast by moving their legs as fast as they can in what I like to call Humming Bird Leg Syndrome. I know this might sound a lot like you or someone you know, but now is not the time to dwell on it. That being said, your stride frequency should NOT be as fast as you can possibly move your feet.
Why moving your legs fast does not equal fast race times
I know it sounds crazy, but moving your feet as fast as you can is not the answer. Trying to move your feet and legs as fast as you possibly can will only create problems in your running form and decrease the efficiency of your sprint mechanics. This decrease in efficiency and mechanics happens because of poor posture, reduced force production, and less control of movements.
The reason these things happen is because when you try to move your arms and legs too fast, you end up sacrificing good posture, you don’t produce the appropriate forces necessary for optimal speed, and the coordination of your range of motion begins to erode…all for the sake of moving your arms and legs faster than necessary.
So what is the optimal stride frequency? That is a good question. Optimal stride frequency is going to be different for everyone. This is because each athlete is built differently and comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Unfortunately there is not a one size fits all stride frequency for everyone. However, generally speaking, as an athlete’s speed increases so does their stride frequency.
Let’s be realistic…
It’s not recommended to focus your entire training theory on the idea that stride frequency is the only way to determine whether or not you are efficiently producing the appropriate forces necessary for optimal speed. Doing so may result in long hours of frustration and disappointment However, if you are really determined in finding some form of measurement-based data, you can bypass the hard work of trying to figure out your stride frequency by checking your stride length instead.
Based on testing and calculations, you can see if your stride length is within your optimal range. If your stride length is within the calculated range, then your frequency will most likely be where it needs to be. The only setback with this process is that the testing methods are tailored for sprinters more so than distance runners. However, distance runners can still benefit from this process.
How to calculate stride length vs. stride frequency
To understand how long your strides should be and how to measure your stride length visit the link below. This will bring you to the calculation and measurement page.