You may be pulling for that finish line, but make it a habit to watch your stride length—especially at the end of a taxing workout. While biomechanics and varying leg length make it impossible to prescribe an exact distance, shorter is always better. “When you’re getting back into the sport, spend the first two weeks purposely staying with a relatively short stride to reduce the liability of shin splints,” says Jeff Galloway, an Olympian who has coached over one million runners to their goals. Practice with a cadence drill once a week every week. Count your cadence—how many times you turn over—on one foot for 30 seconds. Then, take a 30-second break. Repeat for 4-8 sets, aiming to add an additional count each time. “Research shows that as runners become faster their stride shortens, so the key to boost mechanical efficiency is to increase turnover rate,” says Galloway. Keep in mind there is no magic number. A prescribed turnover rate might drive some individuals to failure and not be enough for others.
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