The verdict is mixed on cadence in running, near as I can tell. I always tell people, for every one article that is for a given study on the inter-web, I can find another that is against it. That's why I always follow the policy of trust, but verify, and I always corroborate with my own experiences.
It doesn't take a genius to realize that a runner that is moving at 160 steps a minute is not going to run as fast as a runner moving at 180 steps per minute, unless the first runner is striding far longer, with the resulting impact on form and pounding to the body.
They (the gods of the internet) say that if there is one thing you can do to improve your running in an overall profound way, cadence would be it. A high cadence shortens your stride, lessens the impact of your footfalls, optimizes the expenditure of energy, promotes a mid-foot strike, yada yada yada...
My problem is that it also encourages... exhaustion :-) You have to work equally hard at upping your cadence as you do controlling your heart rate. I haven't been running all that much, and while a lot of time in Zone 4 is appealing, my body just wasn't ready for it.
Maybe it was ready for the 85 degree temperatures.
I went to the land of flatness (Hobgood Park), and ran around the fields while Matthew kicked the soccer ball on the pitch. I ran for forty minutes, which consisted of: ten minutes warm up, then 4x5 minutes @ 180 cadence, 1 minute walking, and a five minute cool down.
This will be my model for running the rest of the year. Whether I am doing hills, intervals, tempo, long slow run, whatever, my focus will be cadence.
and let's see where this takes us....