Here is what my coach, Becca, had to say about cadence. I've found it some interesting food for thought and will measure my own cadence during my run today. Sadly, that run will be on a treadmill thanks to the awesome adage of April Showers Bring May Flowers.
Cadence can make a huge difference in your form. This is something that you all should be aware of, thinking about, and checking on a regular basis. During one of your runs time yourself for 30 seconds. During that 30 seconds, count how many times your right foot hits the ground. If your number is 45 or above, that is great! If you are below 45, work on shortening your stride and turning your legs over a bit faster.
You will benefit by increasing your stride rate. I can't stress how important proper cadence is, and the difference that it can make in your running. Working on this one thing can improve your form, speed, efficiency, and will help prevent injuries.
After doing some research on the internet, I've found several other ways to improve your cadence:
1. Using Quick Short Strides
Run short strides (i.e. 20-30 meters) with very quick steps. Most importantly, during this exercise, you should lift up your knees and go as fast as you can! Remember high knees during sports practices and gym class? This is why we do them. To get harder, better, faster, and stronger! Try to repeat this exercise about ten times in a row.
2. The fancier way---use a Metronome or similar device
My parents were both music teachers, so I am quite familiar with a metronome. Its a simple mechanical device that keeps rhythm. You can buy devices for running that don't look like the metronome my parents used. Oh man, imagine carrying this around?
Tick, tick, tick, tick. Man, that's what those bad boys used to look like. Now there are metronomes for running that you can buy for cheap. Here is one I found on Amazon for $17. Its a Seiko DM50S Clip Digital Metronome in Silver. Hey, this device might not be for everyone, but if you are serious about improving speed, this might be something you invest in. Check it out!