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Achieving Your Ideal Stride Length

Stride length is the average length of one full stride, which is the distance between your left and right foot touching the ground. Achieving your perfect stride length is an exercise in moderation and focus. 

There is a push/pull to all of the MilestonePod gait metrics. If you are focused on one metric, you shouldn’t forget about the others. This is especially true with stride length.

While trying to increase stride length, keep the following metrics in mind:

  • Cadence. Try not to let your cadence drop. Remember, [Speed = Cadence x Stride Length].
  • Rate of Impact. Your rate of impact may climb because of over striding, which can put you at risk of injury.
  • Leg swing. Leg swing can help give insight into whether you are properly increasing stride length, because the extra distance should come from the push off and not the landing, which means a higher leg swing.

Increasing stride length is so important for taking your performance to the next level, that it’s part of our proprietary Runficiency Score™ calculations.  How does the Pod figure your ideal stride length? By looking at your pace and height.

PACE. The optimum stride length Milestone Sports uses is based on a study done by Jordan Santos-Concejero1 who showed an almost perfectly linear correlation between stride length and velocity for elite runners (figure 1.).

Figure 1. The measured stride length of elite runners at various speeds. Stride length is defined in this graph as a runner landing on the same foot, vs Milestone Sports definition of the distance between the TWO different feet. Multiply your MilestonePod stride length by 2 to see how you compare. Image from Santos-Concejeros, Biology of Sport. 2013.

 

HEIGHT. Stride length is also associated with height and the work of Robert Chapman2 confirms that fact.  Height played a strong role in the stride length of top level runners and therefore a runner’s height is also included in our ideal stride length calculation within Runficiency Score™.

The table at the end of this article is organized by both these values so that you can look up your ideal stride length.

The MilestonePod is here to help you improve performance while keeping your risk of injury low as you Go Beyond Pace.

Table 1. Milestone Sports predicted ideal stride lengths based on pace and height.

 

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1Santos-Concejero J, Granados C, Irazusta J, et al. Differences in ground contact time explain the less efficient running economy in north african runners. Biol Sport. 2013;30(3):181-187. doi:10.5604/20831862.1059170.

2Chapman RF, Laymon AS, Wilhite DP, McKenzie JM, Tanner D a, Stager JM. Ground contact time as an indicator of metabolic cost in elite distance runners. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2012;44(5):917-925. doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182400520.

Author: Steve Suydam

Steve is a PhD and Director of Research at Milestone Sports. He can be reached at steve@milestonepod.com.