There is no definition of a perfect stride length; the best stride lengths depend on each runner's natural form. In general, however, a short, quick-tempo stride may be more economical in a 5K or 10K race. A long stride causes the runner to lose momentum and waste energy by pushing too far ahead of his center of gravity—thus, the term overstriding. But understriding can be just as great a mistake.
Attempting to manipulate your stride, based on some article you read online, also poses risks. Experts suggest we should all aspire to 180 steps per minute, but athletes differ greatly when it comes to cadence. In tests at the Nike Sport Research Lab, laboratory director E. C. Frederick, PhD, measured my stride rate at between 192 and 196. Olympic marathon champion Joan Benoit Samuelson, tested at the same time, exhibited a 200 cadence.
Running Times author Phil Latter notes that Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele, a world record holder, ramped his stride rate up to 215 in the last lap while winning the 10,000 at the World Championships. Although 180 strides per minute is promoted by some experts as the perfect cadence, different runners may achieve success with different counts.