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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Stride length confusion

I've been really confused about something lately.
I recently read on Instagram someone who said her coach told her to shorten her stride when she runs, and that it would help her, and she said it really has.
 I thought that sounded interesting. I remember hearing that in order to run faster, you need to lengthen your stride. Now, I'm 5'11, so I think I already have a pretty big stride, and that's never seemed to help my speed!

But, I thought what could it hurt, I'm going to shorten my stride when I run, and see if it helps.
I've been doing that this week, and it really seems to help! I'm not sure that I'm much faster, (although Saturday's 5k was pretty fast for me) but I can run a much longer distance without feeling like I need to walk. I feel like I have more energy and don't need as many walk breaks.

It seems like shortening your stride would have the opposite effect, and you would lose energy because you're taking more steps to cover the same distance.

Does anyone have an opinion or experience with this?




  1. My coach always told me to shorten my stride and its helped me go faster..

  2. I've heard the same thing... & actually I think it has something to do with the energy to take bigger strides. It may be more steps but less energy. You'll have to test it out. I'm a short stride person by nature. But still slow :) haha

  3. Shortening your stride helps you land on top of your feet better so you are not breaking by overstriding. When your stride is too long, people often land heal first which actually can break your momentum/make it harder.

  4. I keep a really short stride when going uphill, but my regular stride is "average," I guess, on the shorter side. I've always understood a shortened stride to be important for forcing a mid/fore-foot strike, and I used to heel-strike BADLY so I had to adjust and shorten. Sometimes I'll lengthen my stride just for a quick burst of speed, but it doesn't feel good over a long portion of ground to cover. Does that make any sense?

  5. Shortening your stride theoretically increases your turnover, which helps your pace more than the longer stride does (so far as my understanding goes from lots of riding). Also, you're a lot less like likely to get injured! I try to remind myself to do it and definitely notice an increase in speed when I do, but it still doesn't feel natural and I fall out of it easily.

    1. I also have to remind myself to shorten mu stride. You're right, it does feel unnatural. I'm liking it so far!

  6. Overstriding can definitely be bad. Shortening your stride allows you to increase your cadence. Your cadence should be in the 170-180's!

  7. Katie, I read (somewhere...God only knows) that the ideal steps per minute runners should aim for is 180. I have a Garmin 220 and it actually keeps track of this; I never paid attention until I got this new Garmin (last fall), but now I'm obsessed! I definitely feel better when my cadence is close to this mark; this means, for me, that my stride is pretty short and that my feet fall directly underneath my hips (Meb talks about this in his book, Meb for Mortals). Supposedly, this type of stride is best for injury prevention, and I'm all about that! If it seems to be helping you, keep it up! Way to go!


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