On your next easy run, count your steps for 30 seconds, then double it to get your stride rate. Repeat this exercise every day for a week.
Your arms lead your legs, so pump them faster and your legs will naturally follow. Focus on gliding – rather than bouncing – over the ground. Take quick, light steps. This will lead to a quicker stride rate and reduce the impact stress that causes injury.
You are working initially to increase stride rate, not overall speed. That will come with time. Avoid the tendency to pick up the pace as you focus on increasing your turnover. Eventually, you want to be able to go from an easy run to race pace, while maintaining the same stride frequency.
Run with a partner who runs at close to 180 and work on getting in sync with his or her rhythm. When running with a team, you’ll naturally gravitate towards their running cadence.
5. Music Can Help Too
If you’re on your own, bring your iPod and run to songs with 180 beats per minute. A quick Internet search reveals enough fast music to stock a high-octane playlist. You can also analyse the songs in your existing playlist with this free software.
Instead of picking up the pace, run at a quicker rate. Run 1 minute at 180 strides per minute, then another minute at a more relaxed turnover. Increase each fartlek by 1 minute until you hit 5.
Find a grass slope. Run downhill for 150m to 200m, focusing on a controlled acceleration. Take short, quick steps so you don’t over-stride. Jog back to the top. Repeat 4 to 6 times.