As you begin to run with your POD 2, you are likely to notice advanced metrics displayed depending on its wearing location. What do they mean? How can they help you? Can they limit your chances of injury? There are many questions that surround running dynamic metrics. For a better understanding of these metrics and how you can best utilize them for success, read below!
For insights into your own data, view within your COROS App or the COROS Training Hub
Cadence can range from less than 100 steps per minute (spm) when walking all the way above 200 spm when sprinting. A higher cadence ensures a smaller muscular load with each step.
- Amateurs: 160-175 spm
- Highly Trained: 175-185 spm
- World Class: >185 spm
Not all categories are perfect. From time to time you’ll see a world class runner with a cadence of 180, or a amateur with a cadence of 182. However, when looking at data, generally these are the ranges we see from athletes. What athletes can do with this data is aim to build to the next level. If you find yourself running at a 168 cadence, make it a goal to increase up into the high 170’s or low 180’s within the next few months!
An easy way to work on increasing your cadence is by using the metronome on your COROS watch. This would give you a clear indication if you were going slower or faster than your desired cadence.
Many amateur runners spend time at a low cadence for a majority of their training. Just like interval training for speed, you can also mix in interval training for cadence. Aim to perform multiple cadence intervals during your next easy run to provide yourself with a focus, and enhance your ability to maintain higher cadences when needed.
GROUND CONTACT TIME
The lower the ground time, the more power you have in your legs. If you spend too much time on the ground at each step, you lose inertia and effectiveness.
- Amateurs: >270 ms
- Highly Trained: 210-270 ms
- World Class: <210 ms
Ground time can be improved with strike pattern (forefoot/heel) and by increasing your cadence while keeping the same pace. If you find yourself with a high ground time, first check if cadence may be the cause of it. By increasing cadence at a similar intensity, you’d have no choice but to reduce ground contact time. However, keep in mind that it does not mean you have instantly improved power, but rather used a higher proportion of high-intensity muscle fibers. In short, you will fatigue at a faster rate.
After a certain time, ground time can mostly be improved by power-specific or plyometric training.
The lower your ground contact time, the faster you are running (generally speaking). During your strength portion of the season, aim to mix in plyometric drills to enhance quickness and force produced with each step. Mixing in high cadence drills along with plyometrics will aid in your reduction of ground contact time as you improve as a runner.
Stride length remains a highly personalized metric based on the athlete’s hip mobility and strength. For comparison, stride length can range from 80 cm (slow-paced run) to over 240 cm (Usain Bolt’s sprint). While there is no ideal chart, longer strides require more energy, and increasing that number too quickly could cause muscle overstretch if the body is not used to it.
An ideal stride length would be the one that reduces the breaking force you encounter when your feet land in front of your body, or with a heelstrike pattern.
A great way to improve stride length safely is by strength training while focusing on the entire range of movement.
Aiming to increase stride length by itself can result in injury. This metric is better to track as the result of other training (strength, interval work, plyometrics, etc). Take note of your stride length at race pace now, and aim to increase it through other training protocols.
Bouncing up and down at each stride requires energy and adds unnecessary load to your joints. Think of it as the additional distance you are covering when running.
- Amateurs: >10 cm (3.93 inches)
- Highly Trained: 5-10 cm (1.96-3.93 inches)
- World Class: <5 cm (below 1.95 lnches)
If you usually find yourself with a high stride height, first check if you can increase cadence or reduce stride length, as they may be the cause of it.
Commonly referred to as “bouncing”, this happens when athletes tend to move vertically rather than horizontally. A running tip here would be to pretend there is a plate on your head while running. Try to keep your head still which will ensure your spine remains in alignment for proper running. Perform this drill 5×1 min within your easy runs and see how your metrics change. Aim to increase time with better form over your upcoming runs.
By considering both stride length and height, stride ratio gives you an overview of your stride efficiency. A low height with a high length would lead to a lower ratio. It means that you focus each stride’s energy on moving forward instead of up.
- Amateurs: >10%
- Highly Trained: 6-10%
- World Class: <6%
If you find yourself with a high ratio, break down the two metrics and see which one could be improved as a priority.
Its best to work on stride height if you’re looking to reduce your ratio. If you get to the point where stride length needs to be a consideration, focus on strength training, interval training, or plyometrics. We do not want to encourage athletes changing their normal stride length as that can increase the likelihood of injury.
Because balance takes into consideration ground time on each foot, be aware that repetitive turns such as a track or trails may lead to inaccurate data.
- Injury-prone Zone: >52%
- To-be-improved Zone: 50.6-52%
- Safe Zone: 50-50.5%
If you find yourself above 52% often, you may have muscle imbalances that could be caused by a previous injury, weakness, or lack of mobility. This can be improved by strength training with a focus on single-leg movements.
Continually monitor this metric at different points of the season. If you begin to notice a trend, be sure to address this through strength training, gait analysis, or working with a licensed practitioner. While drills may help with balance, there is generally an underlying concern that needs to be addressed.