If you desire to improve your efficient, speed, and form while running, you need to do lots of thing than run, including knowing some running Drills.
In the case that you have never run with a companion or on the team, it is hard to know the way to execute your form drills as well as the time to do. As a matter of fact, you have to spend a chance to clarify several extra stuff. These concerns you need consider comprising of the ideal drills for beginners, the most appropriate time to form drills, the frequency to do drills. Today we want to introduce twelve of our favorite exercises when running. All of them will help you to significantly improve efficiency, speed, and form which you may integrate into the training.
Firstly, we will dive into the background on running drills.
The benefits of running drills
The primary strengths of drills should translate to improve your speed directly. So, you can run efficiently with the high power which makes you finish your race fast. Besides, exercises contribute much to increase your efficiency and form. In fact, they soon became one important career staple of many people.
- Strengthen your muscles as well as your specific joints such as the ankle, which are needed for fast and powerful running.
- Serve as the fantastic warm-up right before challenging races or workouts.
- Enhance the proprioception, coordination, agility, and balance – helping you to become the better athlete.
- Improve the throughout communication between the legs and brain – assisting you to become more active.
When is your best time to do drills?
We have to agree that drills can be an exercise type of the specific skill which is technical work dedicated for runners. However, they should often be done right after your warm-up and before your training session. Our following suggested logical sequencing will ensure you to get the best bang from your workout with your lowest injury risk. Let’s look at our most logical order for exercises:
- Self-Motivated Warm-up
- Simple running
- Skillful work (such as drills)
- Doing Workout (repetitions, hills, tempo, etc.)
- More strength work (such as the medicine ball exercise)
This above sequence displays the real programming. You should keep in mind that you do not have to include all session of those training elements at the same time. It is recommended to combine some of them harmoniously to have the best effect.
How often should you do drills?
Regarding frequency, almost all runners may do drills one to three times per week to achieve the best results. They are best performed their application before faster races, workouts, and other beautiful and challenging sessions you have ever tried.
Who should perform running drills?
The answer should be everyone. Drills are indeed a fantastic way for all beginners to reinforce the proper mechanics, improve the form, and raise their athleticism. Also, running drills are beneficial for advanced runners who require a higher level of speed, form and efficiency when running. Quite similar to strength exercises can be recommended as the practice forms for all people, all runners can choose the form drills to achieve their targets.
However, there is one runner type who need to be cautious with the form drills. They are people came back from the grave injury. You may see that the strengthened impact forces which drills bring to us can predispose to reinjuring ourselves. It is especially true if you run drills on concrete or asphalt. Therefore, you should prioritize the proper form while never completing all exercise which causes pain. You will feel more coordinated, reliable and fast enough to run your new personal race after some weeks.
Where can you do the form drills?
All of us can perform the exercises anywhere there is enough space. You will usually need 60 meters of the unobstructed space such as a field, road, or sidewalk. But several following places are particularly suggested and recommended:
- On a turf field made of synthetic or grass – It is considered best for all runners with the injury or anyone who need to do it with their barefoot for the more strength gains right in the lower legs and feet.
- On the outdoor track – It is the softer surface without the tripping risk on something, especially for some dangerous exercises.
- The road in front of the hard race or workout – the rough surface may help you to increase the muscle tension along with your performance)
How many drills should you do?
You do not have to do the whole set of following form drills at once. Because these actions will take you at least 20 minutes. And you know, time is the most valuable asset for the runners! Instead, you may choose 4 or 5 drills under our guidelines:
- It is best for you to select exercises that assist with your goals of the specific training session as well as your particular needs.
- Perform three or two sets of every drill before moving to your next exercise.
- You should complete almost all exercises for about 35 minutes (Carioca may require more space).
- If you are wondering which drills to pick up as you cannot complete them all, choose the simplest and the most comfortable one. While it is entirely incredible to take all of our suggested drills, the time constraints can be a bitter reality of your lives.
- Walk back tightly to the place you started then, begin your next drill.
Let’s look at our detailed example for further understandings. If a runner struggles with the IT Band Syndrome, the straight-leg bounds, A-skip, and carioca will activate his glues increase the cadence, and improve the hip flexibility. All of them can help you much to prevent and treat ITBS.
Drills to Increase Your Speed, Form and Efficiency When Running
Whether you want to practice more or already can run fast, several suitable exercises are right here waiting to assist you to raise up your speed. Each of our drills can highlight several aspects of your fantastic running form. Then, you may accentuate them well through the repetitive motion that trains your body to stay comfortable with such movement. Therefore, it may be inserted directly into the proper running mechanics. They can be your dynamic warm-up routine right after using 10 minutes for your easy jog. After finishing such work, you can continue your scheduled run. Otherwise, the warm-up routine should be completed right after your run in order to reinstate your running motion with the good form when fatigued.
Our advice is to focus highly on the precisely outlined movements to do these drills four or times a week regularly. There are a plenty of other drills which are suitable for you to incorporate into the routine, including the acceleration strides. However, the most critical factor is exercising consistently.
Let’s look at our drills list which has the above rate of difficulty. Of which, the higher its order is, the harder its gestures require you to do.
The first variation of butt-kicks increases the strength of hip flexor and reinforces the mid-foot landing. You can complete this drill simply by running in the right place and kicking the rear end by using the heel on one stride. You only need to flick the lower leg to the back while paying more attention to letting other parts of the body still. This drill may especially improve the turnover cadence of your leg.
You may see that the second variation of butt-kicks may improve the flexibility of the hip flexor and quadricep while reinforcing the high cadence. They engage your hamstrings, improve turnover rhythm of the leg and accentuate your recovery part of the standard running gait.
To start this drill, you have to run in the right place with the thighs less or more locked in the neutral position as well as kick yourself gently in its glute with the heel on both two strides. Focus on maintaining the remaining of the body still along with simply flicking the lower leg to the back. If you are not making the right contact, you have to improve the dynamic motion range of yourself. Do four or two reps of about 15 kicks by using each leg.
In fact, the drill of high knees accentuates hamstring power, glutes, and knee lift. All of them are essential elements to run efficiently and fast and offer the powerful leg drive. Let’s start by taking some short steps by using the quick cadence. Next, alternate the thrusting knees up until the thigh breaks the plane parallel directly to ground. You should focus on flat, soft footstrikes near your feet ball while using the core in order to lower the leg down in a slow way. This action replaces the way you let your foot crash straightforwardly to ground. You should do four or two reps of about 15 lifts for one knee.
Then, lifting the front knee up to approximately 90 degrees and the equivalent height of your hips. Meanwhile, ensure the knees points to be straight ahead as well as go forward quickly onto your feet balls. It is indeed the speed drill that assists in developing the leg and core muscles with additional endurance and strength. By this way, this training may maintain the maximum of your speed levels for the fixed time and distance. Repeat it five times, with 20 seconds each and two minutes break between them.
There are a lot of skipping variations you may be aware. All of them share the same objectives to increase the knee lift and stride length as well as improve the balance of your single leg. Skip for about 20 yards before resting briefly and repeat. You can do this exercises backward and forward, two times for each direction.
- Skip forward and raise the knees to the angle of 90 degrees while the foot bottom of the raised leg is parallel with your ground. Pump the arms in order to sync with the legs.
- Skip forward and tuck that foot under the butt before extending the hamstrings and landing.
- Skip forward, snapping the raised leg to its original position as if you are kicking your own butt. Meanwhile, keep the supporting leg of yourself straight. You should concentrate on the quick movements.
Now we will go into further details of two common versions of skipping drills, A Skip and B Skip.
A Skip/March Drill
It is quite a value for all runners as this drill reinforces the mid-foot landing, hamstring flexibility, and high cadence. The A Skip/March Drill emphasizes your running mechanics properly. With this introductory exercise, you can practice the upright driving posture, knee lift, and arm swing.
You can use small steps of 16 inches to walk slowly on the feet balls. Keep in mind that your heels do not have to touch the nearby ground during such drill. Next, raise the right knee until reaching its hip level on one stride. The correct posture requires a parallel thigh to the nearby ground. Then, make your foot and ankle look like one fishhook right at the leg swing top. The right ankle need be slightly behind or directly under the right knee which is at the angle of 90 degrees or a bit less.
The next thing you have to do is to rise on your toes of your left foot. Try to extend your left knee and ankle as the body may pass over your left foot for your whole walking stride. Besides, you should hold your trunk upright with the chest slightly forward and tall enough. While the chin is held level, you can swing the arms deliberately and slowly in the mock motion of running. This action needs to be in the rhythm with your walking/marching strides.
Repeat such action, raising your left knee until reaching the hip level. Move your left leg through the normal stride into the full toe extension, for about 40 meters. Your movements have to occur in the controlled and slow manner without being jerky. Once you have mastered the marching way, you may advance it by skipping backward and forward.
B Skip/March Drill
This skipping variation improves coordination as well as reinforces the high cadence and mid-foot landing. Also, you can enhance your hamstring flexibility if doing the exercise regularly. A bit differ with the A drill, it emphasizes the body control, upgrading your running posture and improving balance. Also, the B Skip/March Drill stresses the active foot strike development to provide your basis for enhanced stride length.
You can perform accurately in a similar manner with the A skip. The only variance is to drive the leg back and out as directly opposed to the bending position at the angle of 90 degrees. Start with the marching of about 25 meters. Once you feel balanced and comfortable with this, perform in accordance with the 25-meter skipping. By this way, the marching can always proceed your skipping. Progress all of them to about 75 meters.
This drill increases your hip flexibility and improves coordination while reducing the time contacting the ground and improving the speed. You should step to your left laterally. Ater crossing the right leg to the front, continue to put the left leg behind. Rotate the hips and swing the arms to improve your motion.
Try out the grapevines and you may loosen the glutes and hip flexors as well as increases gluteal, leg, and hip mobility. Also, you should use the required lateral strength to run a long way with your good form. Start by standing upright and keep your torso and head facing forward. Then, place the trailing leg right in the front of your lead leg and move them laterally in only one direction. Next, move your lead leg to the similar lateral direction before placing your trailing leg to the front of your lead leg.
You should maintain the fluid motion by using the arms rotated in the opposite direction accurately from your legs. Do four or two to reps of 50 meters to the right and left, facing the similar direction for one lateral movement.
As a matter of fact, bounding may increase hamstring, foot, and calf muscle power. Also, it develops the necessary stance stability of your single leg to maintain the fluid form of running while fatigued. The Straight-leg bounds may improve coordination and activate glutes.
On a very slightly flat downhill slope, you may alternate the thrusting into one of your legs in the exaggerated motion of skipping. This focus needs to be on the powerful leap placed in the sufficiently quick and fast cadence and the air. The arm motion has to be synced accurately to the action of your opposite leg, holding steady while you are not on the ground. Do four or three reps of about 10 leaps for each leg.
To perform this drill, keep the body upright and the legs straight. Kick one of your legs forward slightly while your opposite hand taps your extended foot lightly. Also, you need to focus on the form for it, not speed. Such exercise is considered necessary for making a fast run with the efficient form. As it develops the more wonderful mobility of your hamstring and gluteal muscle groups, and strengthens the forward extension of your hip.
Fast arm and feet
This drill is quite similar to the high knees. You may begin by standing with the feet shoulder having the width apart. Try to bend the elbows approximately 90 degrees with the opening palms to face directly each other. You can imagine the eye level position of the left hand in the front while another is behind you. Next, you should run forward fast by lifting the knees up to about half way while ensuring the heels not to touch the nearby ground.
Keep in mind to place the arms at the angle of 90 degrees for the whole moving process. Then, pump them fast while keeping the hands at the right place of grazing the pockets. It means you do not have to raise the shoulders as well as tighten up. After becoming familiar enough with this exercise, you may increase the practicing time. Adding an extra weight to the hands while still keeping your right form is also a good idea. This drill may train your muscles and nerves to react fast when running. Do it at the similar time as the high knees drill. You may determine your stride rate by estimating the exact time the right foot contacting the ground.
This drill not only increases the speed but also enhances the form. In fact, its focus is more on the form than the speed. Although you still have to push the forefoot as well as swing the arms, move backward by using the hamstrings and core muscles in order to stabilize. Running backward assists to strengthen the upper glutes, hamstrings, and other core muscles placed in your abdominal region along with lower back.
You can squat to enhance the balance of your sideways and strengthen the gluteal muscles and other drills. Squat on your feet and knees before stepping sideways. Then, you can change to another side. In this drill, you do not have to stand still but Squat with the width apart of legs shoulder. Cross the left foot to the front of the right leg. Next, step the right foot out. Our advice is to repeat this exercise for about 10 times before changing the side.
In fact, you may do the similar task to the carioca style when still maintaining the squat. Next, cross the right foot to the front of your left foot before crossing behind. Try this exercise, and you may realize that the form drills can be essential for your running improvement.
Jump, Hop, Hop
It helps the muscles to coordinate well together, improving the movement ability for different motion directions, and enhances some neglected muscles as well. You may jump forward several inches on two legs at the same time. Jump 10 feet to the front, and 10 feet to the back.
Standing on the right leg and hop to one side of 10 feet. Then, hop to your other side of 10 feet. And change feet. Next, stand on the left leg before lifting the right foot higher. Hop to the front 10 feet, then hop on the back about 10 feet. Now, you should change legs. Remember to do this exercise about five times and rest for one minute between each drill.
As far as we know, lunges assist us much in improving the balance and enhancing the power and strength of our core. To add more support to the lung, start this exercise by bending your knee to the angle of 90 degrees. Next, step forward before landing with your knee at the angle of 90 degrees. Then, push your leg glutes forward to continue this drill in another leg. Repeat it for about 20 yards.
For the lateral cross-over lunges, you may stand accurately on your right leg. Then, put the left leg cross directly in the front of the right foot and squat low to your right. Step the right foot to your right side. Continue to do crossing the left foot to the front of the right leg, squatting. Do this drill for about 10 times before changing to another side. You may achieve it by bringing the left leg over to the back and stand in order to repeat this exercise with another side.
This drill requires you to have the bounce forward, straight ankles, legs, and toes pointed upward, upright body, with the low-rising leg forward and the quick cadence. You should avoid leaning yourself backward. This exercise will help you to improve the fast cadence running and enhancing a mid-foot or flat strike as well.
The above drills will enhance your speed, form, and efficiency when running in various ways. They can strengthen your key muscles, improve your motion range via exaggerating several aspects of your running gait, enhance the good communication between the muscles and nervous system, and make you more thoughtful of what is the excellent running form. By aiming to exercise about twice per week, you may improve your running experience even if it somehow cuts the run short. As previously stated, there is no need to complete all of them every time. You are recommended to rotate among some of the most necessary drills for you. The payoff resulting from your invested time with the less risk of the injury and greater speed outweighs anything you may get from long-distance runs.