Three Reasons To Do Running Drills:
1. The exercises serve as an excellent warm-up tool for both training and competitive situations. After all, running drills imitate specific characteristics of technically sound running form, including upright posture of the trunk and spinal column, proper carriage of the arms during the running stride, proper knee drive and leg action and the coordinated dynamic balance associated with shifting weight from one leg to the other.
2. The drills help to develop important proprioceptive and kinaesthetic (body-awareness) abilities that a runner must have to deal with changes in terrain while running, and also to 'change gears' while training or racing. The drills are performed slowly at first, while developing a 'feel' for proper technique, and proper technique is then gradually carried over to drills and runs carried out at faster speeds.
3. The exercises also help to strengthen specific muscle groups needed for powerful running, especially the muscles of the feet, calves, shins, thighs and hips. The ankle, knee and hip joints undergo considerable flexion and extension during the running stride, and each of these joints is exercised through a similar - or greater - range of motion during the various drills.
Description: Standing upright, you will begin by facing sideways. Start by sliding your leading leg and then following leg along the ground, while keeping your toes pointed to the side. On the way back, face the same side so that you are leading with your other leg. Do this for a distance ranging between 20 – 50 meters.
Reason: The point of this drill is to work the ancillary muscles not used in running. By working these muscles you will keep your leg muscles balanced.
Description: Standing upright, begin by facing sideways. Start by crossing your leading leg over the front of your following leg. Then step to the left with your following leg, so that you have taken two steps. The next time, cross your leading leg behind your following leg. Then, step to the left with your left leg again. Repeat this motion until you cover 20 – 50 meters. On the way back, lead with your opposite leg. Your arms and upper body should rotate from your hips in the opposite direction from your moving leg.
Reason: The point of this drill is to loosen your hip flexors and increase mobility in that region. It also helps to balance the different muscles in the legs.
Description: Standing upright, but turned with your back facing the direction you’re running, begin running slowly at first. As you become more comfortable with this backwards run, work on pushing off with greater force.
Reason: The point of this drill is to activate the same muscles of the quad that are used in landing in the opposite way. This helps to balance out the forward motion of running.
Description: You will run almost in place with your feet remaining “light on the ground” (only the ball of the foot touches the ground). The goal is to bring the knee of each leg to a vertical position or closer to your body on each lift.
Reason: The focus is upon having quick feet and trying to get in as many footsteps as possible on fast feet. This allows the body to adapt to faster foot strike which will gradually increase your overall running speed and efficiency.
Description: For 100 meters, you will begin by running. Focus on having quick turnover and light feet. Visualize yourself with perfect form. You will begin running the 100 meters by building up for about 20 –30 meters, holding that increased pace for the middle 40 –50 meters, and then slowly coming back down in speed, thus no body slamming into the end. Let your heart rate recover before you begin the next one.
Reason: The goal of the stride is to fire the fast twitch muscle fibers and “remind” you of how it feels to run fast.
Description: You will run almost in place (or moving forward slightly) with your feet remaining “light on the ground” (only the ball of the foot touches). The goal is to bring the heel of each foot as close to your behind as possible on each lift.
Reason: The point of this drill is quick light feet with high heel lift in the back. The focus is upon having quick feet and trying to get in as many footsteps as possible on fast feet. This allows the body to adapt to faster foot strike, which will gradually increase your overall running speed and efficiency.