RUNNING DRILLS

By Nenad Rodic,
posted 09/05

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STRIDES

The term ‘Strides’ refers to a simple drill usually performed at the end of warm- up. Its function is to facilitate the proper running technique by way of a build repeat. Begin running slowly with short strides but make sure that your body posture and stride technical elements (landing, push, knee lift, kickback, etc.) are correct. Throughout the length of the repeat (no more than 100 m), increase both your range of motion (stride length) and tempo (stride turnover), while keeping your body position and the technical elements of your stride in perfect form.

SKIPS

Skips is a very effective drill for acquiring a high knee position, perhaps the single most unnatural element of running, and yet essential for fast distance and mid-distance running. This drill is performed one leg at the time in alternating fashion. Make sure to relax your ankle to the point where your foot hangs down or points to the ground, and do not lift your hands too much.

BUTT-KICKERS OR KICKBACKS

Neither of these terms does justice to this drill since you neither kick your butt with your heal nor really kick back. Nonetheless, this drill is an effective way to learn how to relax the quadriceps muscle in order to bring the knee up easier after the push off the ground, as well as minimize the time your foot spends on the ground. When doing this drill, make sure the knee and the heal come up in unison. Do very short strides and maintain a quick tempo.


KARAOKE

This drill helps loosen up your hips and teach how to use hips and core in running. Keep your arms at shoulder height. Start off walking and twist your body in the opposite direction of where your leg is going. Alternate the lead leg with each stride. Go from a walk to a slow run. Use caution when doing this drill and increase the range of motion in the twists slowly.


BACKWARD RUNNING

This simple drill is a great tool for preventing over-striding. Run backwards on a flat smooth surface. Look back as necessary. Make strides short and quick. Running backward will give you a great feel for the right landing spot of the foot.


LEAN FORWARD-BACKWARD

In this drill you will exaggerate improper body position in order to get a better feel for the proper one. Start by leaning forward and running one length of the field in this position. You’ll notice how long your feet are on the ground when doing so. Next, lean backward and run another length. Now you will see how much you’re over-striding when doing so. Finally, run in a perfectly erected position without over-striding, using quick strides.


BAREFOOT RUNNIG

Barefoot running is a great way to get a better feel for the biomechanics of the foot. Find a grassy field and run on it. Land on the outside and the middle or the toes area of your foot. You will see how your foot naturally rolls to the inside while in contact with the ground (pronation) as it prepares to leave it with a push.


SPEEDWALKING

Speed walking is really an arm drill. It is an easy way to learn how to swing your arms during running. Make sure not to cross the centerline of your body as your arm swings forward. Keep your swing close to your hip, meaning the elbow comes up to the hip during the forward swing and the hand comes up to the hip during the backward swing. You should not swing more than this.


HANDS ON TOP OF YOUR HEAD

This drill is a highly recommended and effective way to learn how to run without bouncing, a common error for novice runners. Simply put your hands on top of your head and run while focusing on a single point at your eye level and no more than 100 meters away. Running in this manner makes clear how much bounce you have in your stride, therefore making it easier to feel and thus eliminate.

By Nenad Rodic, founder of TriathlonPlace.com