Does running cadence matter? Not as much as previously thought (in terms of speed and efficiency, but this is not a comment on altering biomechanics to avoid or manage running through injury. One of the first things we ask of a runner, who insists they will be running with their injury while we attempt to get ahead of it, is to increase their cadence and land with more finesse (if they are a heavy "plunker", which often happens on longer runs when people fatigue).
“Some ran at 160 steps per minutes and others ran at 210 steps per minute, and it wasn’t related at all to how good they were or how fast they were,” Burns said. “Height influenced it a little bit, but even people who were the same height had an enormous amount of variability.”
"Another unexpected finding is that by the end of a race, cadence varied much less per minute, as if the fatigued runner’s body had locked into an optimal steps-per-minute turnover. It’s unclear why, Burns said, but this deserves further study."