Ground contact time: what you need to know

People's feet while running

Ground contact time (GCT) is the amount of time that your foot is in contact with the ground during each stride when running. It is measured in milliseconds (ms). GCT is an important factor in running performance and injury prevention.

What is a good GCT for running?

A good GCT for running will vary depending on your individual running style and speed. However, as a general rule of thumb, recreational runners should aim for a GCT of 200-300 ms. Elite runners may have a GCT of 175-200 ms or even lower.

Why is GCT important in running?

There are a few reasons why GCT is important in running. First, it affects your running economy. Running economy is the amount of oxygen you use to run a given distance. Better running economy is associated with a shorter GCT, which means that you can run faster or for longer periods of time without getting tired.

Second, GCT affects your risk of injury. A longer GCT can lead to increased impact forces, which can increase your risk of injuries such as shin splints, stress fractures, and knee pain.

How to improve your GCT

There are a few things you can do to improve your ground contact time in running. One is to focus on increasing your cadence. The number of steps you take per minute is cadence, and a shorter GCT is associated with a higher cadence. You can increase your cadence by focusing on taking shorter, quicker steps.

In addition to increasing your cadence, you can also improve your ground contact time by focusing on your running form. A good running form will help you land your foot under your centre of gravity, which will help you to reduce impact forces and improve your running economy. Running strides will help improve your form and mechanics.

Finally, you can also improve your GCT by doing strength training exercises that target your lower body. Strong muscles will help you to absorb impact forces more efficiently and improve your running economy.


Ground contact time is an important factor in running performance and injury prevention. By focusing on increasing your cadence and improving your running form, you can improve your ground contact time and become a more efficient and injury-free runner.

Picture of Dan Cross

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