April 2, 2019
Running drills are used by many of the world’s best runners and triathletes to improve their running form. See why and learn 4 running drills that help to improve your cadence.
I first started doing running drills around the age of six.
I’d just joined my first athletic club, Calliope, and was happily going along to the running track each week to “train”.
I say “train” because it was more play than training. In between
messing around, we heaved the shot put and discus as far as our little
arms could manage. We jumped high and we jumped long. We also ran a bit!
Because I was small and didn’t have much power, I immediately
gravitated more towards the running side of athletics than the field
events. I especially liked the longer runs and eventually moved into
cross country and triathlon.
Yes, we did some running in the form of short reps and relays, but
more often than not, we were lined up to practise running drills over
and over again.
I didn’t realise it at the time but running drills would play a part in my training for the next 20+ years.
Running Drills are dynamic exercises that help to ingrain proper
movement patterns into your muscle memory. Once ingrained, these
movements become automatic and help to improve a number of things
They’re also great when used as part of a dynamic warm-up before harder workouts and races.
Running drills can essentially be done anywhere there is room. Depending on the specific drills you are doing, you only need 20 – 50m of unobstructed space like on a field, footpath, road or track.
Depending on how sensitive you are to looking foolish in front of others, you may also want to find an area with limited spectators.
A disclaimer: Running drills can look a little silly, especially if you are not a particularly coordinated individual.
A word of advice, don’t let vanity be the reason you don’t do your running drills and reap the benefits they have to offer.
There are many different running drills you can do to enhance your technical skills.
In this post, I am going to share four that are great for improving your running cadence. In future posts, I plan to share more that help in improving stride length and other parts of an efficient running style.
Butt kicks help to improve cadence and improve quadriceps and hip flexor flexibility.
A-skip reinforces midfoot landing and helps to improve cadence and coordination.
Fast Feet helps to improve your cadence while emphasising proper foot placement and short ground contact time.
High knees help to reinforce midfoot landing, improve cadence and hamstring flexibility.
Because running drills are a skill, you need to pay careful attention to the way you perform each drill. If you rush the movement and perform them with poor form, you only reinforce bad habits.
Take your time with each drill and if you find yourself losing form, stop and rest before continuing on with good form.
Here are some points you want to think about as you perform the drills.
Choose three or four drills you want to do.
There’s a reason most elite runners and triathletes include running drills in their training.
Because, they’re a valuable part of a well-structured training programme that when done consistently, will make you a better more efficient runner. One who is also less prone to injury. Boom!
I encourage you to put aside your ego and the fear of looking foolish and to get outside and practise these drills.