Since the mid-2010s, select Garmin devices have featured running dynamics to measure both running cadence and running efficiency. This data has proved to be helpful for both elite runners and beginners alike. So how can you use these running dynamics to help improve your stride, ground contact time, form, and more?
Garmin devices used for measuring running dynamics can track stride, vertical oscillation, running cadence, and running form. The calculated metrics can be used to measure how well your stride length, ground contact time, running form, and heart rate can be improved upon, based on this useful information.
Are you currently trying to improve your vertical oscillation, ground contact time, or even your horizontal movement? If so, you have likely noticed that the presented metrics can be difficult to interpret at times.
In this guide, we will tell you exactly how to interpret these metrics on your watch or applicable device.
What are the Garmin running dynamics?
The running dynamics features are used to measure a range of running specs that then compare your performance to the output from other runners.
Once set, these measurements can help you run at an appropriate level and improve your overall training.
Let’s take a look at how these features are measured.
How are they measured?
The first measurement is cadence, and essentially, this is your overall output every time your feet hit the ground.
Improving your cadence is self-explanatory in how it can help you run faster and apply less pressure to the ground as your feet move up and down.
The vertical oscillation feature is a measurement that records how well you’re up and down movements are performing during running. This is compiled from how your abdomen moves and maintains your overall form and posture at an appropriate level.
Stride length is the length that you travel as your legs move back and forth. Many different factors can affect stride lengths such as your balance, your running form, and more.
Ground contact time is a measurement that is used to determine how often your feet touch the ground.
This can also be calculated between the contact time of both feet to see how each foot compares. This feature is a particular highlight for elite runners.
Additional features such as vertical oscillation ratio is a feature that multiples stride length by the vertical oscillation measurement.
This measurement shows a complete view of your stride from both a horizontal and vertical metric.
Once all of these measurements are reflected after a run, they can be used to show the key difference between stride, bounce, cadence, and more.
These benefits are crucial in revealing how well your running performance is going. GPS can also be factored into the equation if you are in a remote region.
Using this data to improve your running form
We have explored how helpful these readings are when you are training. But how exactly can these readings help you improve running performance?
Ground contact balance
Ground contact balance is useful since it allows you to see insights into your overall fitness level. If your feet are not touching the ground with medium intensity – which is to say, they are not loudly pounding the ground or not going high enough – the readings can display this information with new metrics to help you improve.
Ground contact is also linked to cadence, since both are similar in how they define a runner’s overall intensity and formation.
Increasing your cadence is one of the most attractive aspects of running, and is also important if you wish to become a better runner.
Your cadence is easy to track and works in tandem with ground contact.
To improve your cadence reading, you can try running with shorter and quicker steps and build this up over time. The more you do this, the more your endurance will build, thereby increasing your cadence exponentially.
To track your striding length, you will have to interpret the readings that are replayed after your run. Cadence and bounce are also primary components of striding length, and vertical oscillation plays a part as well. This is sort of a universal metric.
You can also see your striding length in real-time as you run.
To improve your striding length, you will need to move your legs faster. This can also naturally be achieved through improving cadence and bounce.
By the numbers, vertical oscillation or bounce is expressed as a percentage when multiplied by your overall stride.
This is a cost-benefit ratio for running, since it directly measures the vertical component of your stride compared to the horizontal measurements that define your stride length.
To improve your vertical oscillation, you will need to work on your formation during a run. As your feet hit the ground, vertical oscillation is essentially a measurement of how high you are coming off the ground, You want to aim to stay only a few inches off the ground at all times.
You can practice this by jogging in place underneath a very low ceiling. Your natural instincts will kick in and concentrate your brain to keep your feet lower to the ground.
Improving your cadence also works well to improve this measurement.
Improving bounce is not always desirable as improving something like cadence or vertical oscillation.
But if this is something that you want to enhance, working to improve your cadence will also simultaneously help with improving your bounce during a run.
This is an attractive activity if you are wanting to lose weight or burn calories, so just be sure to lift yourself off the ground more during your run.
Whether you need to improve your cadence, vertical oscillation, bounce, or more, this feature is one of the brand’s most beneficial for those who enjoy running. Interpreting the measurements is simple, and improving the readings is just as easy thanks to the accuracy of the measurements.
Feeling competitive? Let’s hit the ground running with these Garmin running watches: