Are my legs supposed to hurt more as I increase my cadence?

I've been running for a number of years although I often try and increase my cadence but then I get frustrated when I fail and return to running as I always have (poorly). 

I am currently running at 160 and would like to ramp up slowly and maybe get to 165 for example. As I do this, should I be lifting my knees up higher in order to land my feet under my hips? I have always had a bad habit of not bending my knees enough, so will improving my cadence help me to raise my knees more also? I feel like it does slightly but my carves tend to hurt a lot and I feel more tired, it feels so unnatural at times. Is it supposed to feel like this? Is it natural that your knees go higher as your cadence increases? 

Thanks in advance for any help


    If you're very tall with long legs you would naturally have a longer stride and lower cadence too.

    To increase cadence you need to shorten your stride, if this increases your pace then as you run faster you would naturally have a higher knee lift.

    I would never worry about cadence, much better to work on improving your aerobic fitness which will increase your pace and naturally increase your cadence too.

    Do you race?   Enter a short race and you will see you naturally increase your cadence when racing.

  • PatrickBPatrickB ✭✭✭
    Hi, Shades

    Thank you. I'm 5 foot 9 so average i'd say, and i don't particulary have long legs. 

    I haven't raced before but i do often try to set targets on my own such as fartleks. I'm thinking of getting a treadmill and running on zwift as well as i think this will increase my form 
  • MrM2MrM2 ✭✭✭
    Hi Patrick, Didn't want to jump in with my 'wisdom' as there are some very capable people around.

    I too have often attempted to increase/improve(?) my cadence as I'm usually short of 170 . I'm not obsessed with the 180 that is often given as a 'goal' but if it gets too low I feel like a slouch!

    Agree with SHADES' points. I would also add that from my experience hills are great value for money.
    Find a slope/hill that you can run up, a few times; not too long, and not too steep. You will find that you are driving with your arms and lifting your knees. When you get the hang of it you should find your cadence increasing, but can't say that I've found it easy to transfer that to the flat.

    Enjoy your running.
    I wouldn't advise treadmill running unless you have to.   It wouldn't improve your form or cadence and it's artificial as in real life the road doesn't move beneath you.

    Why not try intervals.  Run one mile easy then increased effort for the next mile. Then another mile easy and for the 4th mile increased effort and an easy mile to finish.  Total 5 miles.   Then you can see from your stats how your cadence increases when running faster and it will get you used to running at different paces.

    Entering a race would give you a goal too.

    You could join a running club,  they will have coaches that could help you if you still think you need help to improve your form.
    Xpost MrM2 - great advice too.
  • PatrickBPatrickB ✭✭✭
    edited March 4
    Thank you SHADES and MrM2 for the advice, the tip about practicing on hills is really good and I know what you mean and I tend to find it helps to focus on landing my feed below my COM more with this. It is difficult transferring that higher knee lift onto running on the flat though. 

    In terms of treadmills I've never ran on one but I've always wondered how it translates to real running and this is a huge thing to weigh up of course. It's a lot of money to spend if i don't have to and especially when I have a plethora of spaces to run near me in the nature anyway. 

    Thanks both for the encouragement, I appreciate it 💪

    I will keep working on my form and currently trying to improve my glutes for more hip stability. 
    Patrick - I think running on a treadmill would be very boring, folk I know that do it do so only as they can't get out to run, such as having young children to care for.   

    I do some glute work in the gym and try to remember to engage my glutes when running, it really helps with pace and form.

    Good luck with the running.
  • PatrickBPatrickB ✭✭✭
    edited March 8
    I know what you mean. I've seen Zwift which looks interesting to try but i'm not sure it's worth the investment for buying a treadmill. 

    I'm also trying to train my glutes as well so that i'm using more of that area of the body to power my runs; I tend to wobble a bit too much from side to side lol. I have a few exercises to try so hopefully they'll help 

    Thank you again 💪
  • I'm short at 165cm and tend to have a high cadence between 178 and 200. According to Garmin Connect.
    Patrick - it takes a while for the strength work to pay off but it's worth it. 

    The hill running that MrM2 recommended is really good for engaging the glutes.

    mjsmke - that's a good cadence,  no problems there. 
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