Four Classic Drills For Improved Running Technique

If you’ve attended a coached track session, there’s a good chance that part of the warm-up involved a number of dynamic drills to help engage and warm-up the key muscle groups, ready for the running workout ahead.

Not only are these dynamic drills an important part of the warming-up process, helping to prevent injury; when performed correctly, they also help us reinforce and develop the many aspects of good running technique.

The key to improving technique is consistent, regular practice. So, adding some of these drills in before every run you do will help you dial-in the elements of good posture, reaction to the ground (stiffness), mobility and timing that are all important.

Below are some of the classic  running drills used by coaches to reinforce good running form with every warm-up.

Running Drill: A March

Key Points:

  • Posture – Maintain a tall posture, holding your hips and chest high, rather than slouching.
  • Arm Drive – Use this opportunity exaggerate your drive back with the elbow, while swinging the arm from your shoulder.
  • Avoid Rotation – Keep all your movements in a straight forward and backward plane of motion, rather than rotating excessively.

Running Drill: A Skip

Key Points:

  • Find Your Rhythm – Try to get into a rhythm, feeling the arms and legs moving together in time.
  • Light & Quick Foot Contacts – This is a great drill to develop quick and light foot contacts, developing desired ankle stiffness and reaction to the ground.
  • Maintain Good Posture – Stay tall, and proud in your movements.
  • Stay Loose & Relaxed – Don’t be a robot! Allow all your movements to ‘flow’.

Running Drill: B March

Key Points:

  • Add Once ‘A March’ is Mastered – This is a progression to the ‘A March’, encouraging improved stride length and Hamstring function.
  • Range of Motion – Allow this drill to encourage an increased range of motion at the hips (swing leg) while maintaining good posture and stability (stance leg).
  • Avoid Rotation – Keep all your movements in a straight forward and backward plane of motion, rather than rotating excessively.

Running Drill: B Skip

Key Points:

  • Find Your Rhythm – Try to get into a rhythm, feeling the arms and legs moving together in time.
  • Light & Quick Foot Contacts – Like the ‘A Skip’, this is another great drill to develop quick and light foot contacts, developing desired ankle stiffness and reaction to the ground.
  • Powerful Snap Back – Use your Hamstrings to pull the leg back to make ground contact under your body with considerable oomph!
  • Maintain Good Posture – Stay tall, and proud in your movements.
  • Stay Loose & Relaxed – Don’t be a robot! Allow all your movements to ‘flow’.

Try adding these drills as part of a 10 minute warm-up before your running sessions. In addition, you can use them to further reinforce good technique at the end of long runs – doing this under fatigue will help you develop neuromuscular pathways to maintain good running form under fatigue on race day.

 

 

About The Author

James has an academic background in Sport Rehabilitation and a special interest in Applied Biomechanics. He currently coaches a large number of Runners and Triathletes across all levels of ability and performance. He's grown a strong reputation for enabling athletes to improve their running performance and overcome running injuries through improving their Running Technique and developing Running Specific Strength.

 

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  • Surgeon scraped my knee cap back in 2015 as an unexpected add on to a simple arthroscopic meniscectomy from repetitive shovel digging. I have never had any pain in my knee cap before this. Now my quad is atrophied, esp. vastus medialis, rectus femoris, much weaker than my good knee side. I have been doing PT for months with very little improvement. I can walk, jog uphill some (tire easily), walk downhill with some pain, bike but can not run without stabbing pain under kneecap. I am told I have arthritis now. Had knee MRI, Back MRI to rule out pinched or damaged nerve. I have been a runner of 35 miles a week for the last 20 years with absolutely no knee pain. I have tried everything, I have been following your site and doing all the glute,hip stretches and strengthening. I need to run again, nothing else makes me feel calm and brings me happiness like running.

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