How To Analyze Cadence, Heart Rate, and Pace For Risk-free Runs

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analyze HR

Many of the runners are already using smartwatches. Most use it for start, stop and save. However, it is important to understand that these watches can do much more than that. Also, most runners are not able to analyze the data and take benefit out of their smartwatches. The data can be used to improve performance, know training effort and also check bio-signs of the body in case of improper training or other medical conditions. We will cover three major things today. Cadence, Heart rate, and pacing.


Running cadence is simply steps per minute (spm). Most of the watches used for running are able to calculate cadence fairly accurately. The principle of measure can be based on arm swing, foot pod feeds, or a GPS linkage along with stride length.

A close look at this data after a run, tells you what happened when you went uphill or tried to run faster or the point where you began tiring. If you notice that over the same course your cadence has gone down and that you are feeling tired, this can be due to some underlying condition that needs introspection.

The sweet spot of cadence is generally taken as 180spm. This is a good figure to have good run efficiency and economy. If cadence is below 160, probably efficiency has got affected because of some reason. It can be because of crossing the lactate threshold, getting tired, a medical condition, hot and humid weather, or maybe one bad run. In case you want to work towards increasing cadence, you must do it slowly by inserting high cadence sets in normal cadence loops. Certain drills can also be included in overall training to increase cadence.

Heart Rate

Heart rate measuring devices for runners are now available in abundance and are not expensive. These wrist watches give a good estimate of Heart Rate (HR). Chest straps are also available for more accurate measurements. HR data is very useful for all kinds of runners to include hobby, fitness, or professional runners.

Heart rate calculations and knowing a point beyond which the body gets tired faster is a great advantage for all runners. Analyzing the data after a run will help one determine HR which delays lactate threshold heart rate, improper pacing, unrealistic efforts, any medical conditions, or environmental conditions.

To get a better long endurance run, one must set an HR cap and make sure to remain below that. This will delay ‘hitting the wall’ and fatigue.


Pace is different than speed. It is how much time one takes to cover a set distance. For example, a pace of 5 min means a speed of 12km per hour. Unfortunately, most runners do not use pace to know their training and stress levels. Most go by factory settings. For a short duration of training (HIIT etc) it is important to know the average pace as well as the current pace. However, for an endurance run, it is good to keep an eye on the overall pace.

During an interval workout, data needs to be collected in self-created interval blocks. This can be created by using the LAP option. For an endurance run, keep the option of auto-lap ON so that it can measure average cadence for the lap such as over 1 Km.

Combination of cadence, heart rate, and pace

An analysis of cadence, HR, and pace after a run can drastically change the result of your training. Also keeping an eye on these three markers keep you aware if you are entering any risk areas. Thus overall you become an intelligent runner.

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