Try Faster Walking To Springboard Your Run Cadence


Yellow Cow painting by Franz Marc to encourage a return to nature by the German people. 1911, Guggenheim Museum.

We enjoyed the Guggenheim Museum while in New York for the 2012 Marathon, and I especially liked this yellow cow, that Franz Marc painted to encourage a return to nature by the German People.


FitOldDog playing table tennis with Deb in New York

FitOldDog playing table tennis with Deb in New York – Deb keeps me moving, that’s for sure.

FitOldDog's logoOne thing that I have noticed about Deb is that she always walks very fast. I even have to run for brief periods to keep up sometimes, or Deb will ask her now familiar question, “Why do you walk so slow?” What’s more, Deb is a great runner, but she has no training discipline, and in just a few workouts she leaves me in the dust. I am in the process of reinventing my running in the hopes of improving, and I wondered if Deb had something to teach me.  As almost every runner knows, the recommended cadence for running is about 90 cycles per minute (one foot touches the ground 90 times per minute). I’ve always had trouble maintaining this high a cadence. While we were visiting New York for the marathon I decided to determine what was going on with Deb and her high speed walking. I could see no appreciable difference between our stride length so I determined her cadence using the stop watch on my iPhone (remarkable device).

Deb’s walking cadence (right foot strike/minute) = 62±1; My walking cadence = 52±1. Only a 15% difference in cadence, but a dramatic effect on pace. Maybe this is the solution to my running issues. Could I modify my walking to fix my running?

Election day in New York City 2012

Election day in New York City 2012

I tried walking at Deb’s turnover rate and it was uncomfortable to say the least. In fact, the highest I’ve achieved so far (without walking weirdly) is 64 cycles per minute (cpm). I then decided to experiment with incorporating high cadence walking into my run training and, to my surprise, when I alternated high cadence (60 cpm) walking with running, it was easy to maintain a 90 running cadence. In fact, it felt quite comfortable, whereas it never has before.

How about that! Old dog, new trick! Still wondering if I’ll ever compete with Deb as a runner, but if my key problem is cadence and I fix it, I could well leave her in the dust one day – you have to have a dream, my friends.

Think about it. If you can’t run faster than your woman, how are you going to catch her?

-k @FitOldDog



  1. Be at that place she is heading for. Oh, and make sure the chores are done and the meal is prepared!

  2. Nope, I’ve moved well beyond that kind of co-dependency, thanks to a few years living on my own, which really helped. I do like to cook, however, though Deb is making bread right now before heading for a 12-hour night shift in the ER. I did like you comment, I must admit. -k

    • Now this comment is Greek to me:- “beyond that kind of co-dependency” We are all co-dependent all the time! Look up “Society” and “Ecosystems for starters”. Also “Loving relationships”. However, make sure those chores are done and the meal in the oven before you dive into google!

  3. Hi Trevor,

    I make a distinction between co-dependency, an unhealthy mental state, and inter-dependency, this being a ‘healthy’ physical and mental state. The definition of health, especially mental health, is probably undefinable, except in general terms, as it is contextual in nature. I have finally managed to move my mind from the less to the more healthy condition, which is what I attempted to convey. All chores are shared, with the sharing based on what we each like to do – for me it’s cooking and cleaning the kitchen, for Deb it’s the clothes, and we both put out the trash and yes, we both google (love the way new words are created).

    When it comes to chasing Deb, she is very distracted much of the time, and could readily disappear in large cities, so I endeavor to keep up there, but not on country walks, where I set my own pace, and fortunately Deb is learning to slow down and look around on local trails, instead of just charging ahead. I think we are each learning, one from the other, in an inter-dependent manner, but I could be wrong.


  4. Ah, we are having definitional differences…(ie, none at all)
    As for cadences of walking. I often walk to the beat of a verse I am composing. This is okay with iambic but I reserve other rhythms for remote walks as I sort of dance along…
    Mostly I compose to a low cadence (slow pace) as it also help me take in they sensations about me – bird song and scents etc..
    Different horses for different courses I guess.
    However, when I am walking for exercise I do up the pace somewhat.
    (With my pudendal nerve entrapment walking is the one exercise I can do without pain)

  5. Yep, we all march or dance to different rhythms. -k

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.