Did you know Spotify has added a feature that looks at your music preferences and can make a custom playlist for you to a specific cadence? In the past there were running cadence playlists however the music wasn't custom. Go to Spotify and type in your preferred running cadence. For example, I've been recently trying to bump my cadence up to 175. I open up Spotify and in the search box I'll type 175. Top of the search criteria I get "175 BPM Mix, Playlist Spotify, Made For You." The list contains songs that I prefer that have 175 beats per minute. Perfect and less annoying than using music I don't like!
So what is the benefit of improving your cadence? A faster cadence can improve a few factors in your running motion.
A higher cadence gets you off the ground faster reducing ground contact time. When we are running, any time you spend on the ground is time you're not moving forward, and obviously we want to go forward. That ground contact time also can lead to higher braking forces that once again prevent us from keeping that forward momentum and increase impact forces.
A quicker cadence also can, in some people, help reduce over stride. When you train yourself to get off the ground quicker it reduces the time you have to allow your foot to stride out in front of your centre of mass. This more mid or forefoot landing improves your overall running efficiency.
At first it will feel awkward, and possibly like you are exerting more effort as you increase you cadence beyond what is normal. The best way to retrain your brain to react quicker is in short bursts of change. While out on a run start up your preferred cadence playlist and for a few minutes really focus on keeping with the beat at the higher cadence, you don't need to worry about running faster, just matching the new higher cadence. Then take a break, turn your brain off, and run at your natural cadence. Then a bit later step it up again and focus. Over time these short changes will become more normal and you'll slowly improve on your original cadence.
Looking at playing with your cadence and would prefer not to listen to music, or maybe it's not as focused as you'd like? Many GPS watches have a cadence function that can show your real time cadence, some even having a metronome built in that can beep or buzz to the requested beats per minute. There are also loads of metronome apps on smart phones that do the same thing or you could also get yourself a small digital metronome as well!
Small changes in your running form such as cadence can have big impact on your overall efficiency!