Running, Triathlon
May 14, 2019

Running Drills: 4 Powerful Drills That Improve Stride Length

While the subject of running performance is complex, running faster in its most simplistic form is pretty straightforward.

  1. Turn your legs around faster (cadence)
  2. Take a longer stride (stride length)

A few weeks ago I wrote a post titled Running Drills: 4 Drills That Improve Cadence.

In it, I introduced you to running drills and their benefits.

I also shared four videos demonstrating drills that can help you to improve your cadence. It proved a popular post.

Because cadence is only one piece of the puzzle, I thought I would follow that post up with a demonstration of drills that can help to improve your stride length.

Here they are!

Running Drills That Improve Stride Length

A long stride is the result of strength and power.

Each of the drills below develops strength and power in the legs. They also help to improve core stability which contributes to the transfer power through the ground and into forward movement.

1. Power Skips

2. Calf Hops

3. Bounding

4. Side Skip

Practise Makes Master

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.

  • Think of your head as your anchor. You want your chin parallel to the ground with your head nicely stacked over your shoulders; your shoulders stacked over your hips and your hips stacked over your ankles.
  • Aim for a subtle forward lean from the ankles while avoiding a bend at the waist. Think tall!
  • Drive your arms without rocking your shoulders.
  • Avoid sitting back on your hips.

Sign up for Coached running or triathlon programmes.

Create Your Drill Set

The drills above can be done independently of the drills in the last post or you can mix and match the drills into a training session.

Choose 3 – 4 drills you want to include in your session.

  • Most drills should be completed over 20 – 40m. Start with a shorter distance and as you build strength and efficiency (and find your form breaking down slower) increase your distance to the outer limit of that range.
  • Walk back to where you started before beginning the next drill.
  • Perform 2 – 3 reps of each drill before beginning the next exercise.

Consistency Is Key

Drills are useful for all levels of runners but should probably be done on a more regular basis by people who are new to running or by runners who feel their form is weak.

While drills can improve your coordination in as little as one session, the greatest return on investment comes when you perform drills on a regular basis.

I encourage you to set aside your ego and to practise your drills regularly as part of your usual running training.

Enjoy!

Coached RunningBen PulhamBen Pulham is a former professional triathlete and the founder of Coached, a heart rate training programme that helps you optimise, track and enjoy your training.