Duathlon: Cadence For Running & Cycling – Can’t hurt tri either

Complate perfect cadence
Complate perfect cadence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I bought a music metronome thing a few years back. Used it a few times for RUNNING and discarded it.

It was one of those little gadgets that beeps at a certain number of times per minute. Usually used by musicians.

I found it slowed me down.


Since then I’ve looked very closely at how my performance varies in cycling depending upon my cadence. Sure when you pedal at a ‘new’ cadence you suffer a bit because you are not quite used to it. But I’ve certainly found that practising at mid to high 90s cadence is more efficient for me. Which is how it is supposed to be for most of us. Top coaches like Troy Jacobson also believe this to be true.

So now apparently I have to match my running cadence to my cycling cadence. This should stress the body less perhaps, for example, reducing the awful feeling after transitions but more importantly ignoring how we feel it should make us faster because we are more efficient.

This effect MUST be compounded in Duathlon because of the additional run-leg.

So I need to buy a metronome and start running at 180+ footfall (ie 90 individual leg strikes per minute). My optimum cycling is somewhere between 93 and 97 I think so I may as well therefore aim to keep that somewhere around 95 whilst upping my running to between 178 and 182 cadence.

The theory also is that such a high footfall helps running technique for a variety of biometrical reasons that I won’t go into.


12 x 100m with perfect form/including perfect cadence.

Build up speed each time until at 95% for the 12th run.

Post Script: A footpod on my Garmin gives me more accurate feedback. When I race my turnover is markedly higher than what is comfortable in training. In fact my natural race and bike cadences are both pretty much somewhere near 95 – run probably a tad higher and bike probably a tad slower. There you go. Listen to your body.

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1 thought on “Duathlon: Cadence For Running & Cycling – Can’t hurt tri either

  1. Thanks for posting this – it’s a really interesting topic for me as I’m just starting my multi-sport journey. I’ve been a runner for a while and my average running cadence is about 92 (184 steps per minute), rising to 96+ when racing, whereas my cycling cadence is very low, so I’m clearly going to have to get used to being in a totally different gear when I’m on my bike!

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