I’ve found retraining your cadence rate running in the pool is really helpful. There are basically three styles or techniques of running, and they can be viewed kind of like a continuum. At one end running technique is similar to walking – you push your leg forward to move forward. This technique is the most inefficient, and cadence count will be the lowest. At the other end of the continuum running technique is similar to jumping rope – you bounce up and down while leaning forward. This technique is the most efficient, and cadence count will be the highest. And the third type of running technique is a combination of the two techniques just mentioned: it involves a little pushing and a little bouncing, but isn’t as bad as one technique and not as good as the other technique.
The “pushers” are heal strikers, the “bouncers” land on their forefeet, and the “combination runners” will typically be mid-foot strikers. Work on perfecting the bounce technique in the pool, then take it to the treadmill, and finally practice it on the roads and trails. Use a metronome clipped to your hat to help you get your pace to 180 steps per minute, then 195, and eventually 210 will not be unheard of. It’s neat to train at 200+ and then loaf through a race at 180.