There is a truth behind the argument that “running is natural – put in enough time and miles and you will naturally get better at it.” Yes, running in itself is simple; however, when we start increasing the frequency, the intensity, the duration of our runs this is where skill comes in. This is where sustained effort can rely on possession of a more efficient running form.
Enter the running drills. If you haven't run track and field in high school or even trained on a track, the chances of you being familiar with drill movements is slight. Though there is no one-size-fits-all way to run, the mechanical process of running can be hindered by individual biomechanical constraints. With the repetitive nature of running, as individuals, we all have personal limits as to how far and how fast we can run before injuries occur. Reducing our individual constraints and improving our running efficiency will allow us to set ourselves new limits. We are able to improve these factors when we implement running drills.
Should Beginners Do Running Drills?
The introduction of running drills, if only once a week, can reinforce the most fundamental and underappreciated concepts behind running performance. Injury prevention for runners comes down to either running less or strengthening the body more.
Running drills help enforce the fact that if you are constantly raising the demands on your body through running, unless you add suitable weekly conditioning exercises to your training program, you will eventually reach your limits and most likely get injured.
Examples Of Running Drills
Skipping places a load on the musculoskeletal system, leading to increases in strength in the supporting leg.
Keep your body tall and do not allow the arms and legs to cross the midline of the body, something that needs to be discouraged as excess rotation is thought to reduce running efficiency.
The B-Skip is an extension of the A-Skip. Importance should be given to “pulling down” the leg in order to strike the ground as this is thought to determine the power of the hip extension as the body moves over the supporting leg. The B-Skip can be a very useful in developing strength and coordination of the gluteal and hamstring muscles.
Butt kicks are considered a key running drill for athletes who want to gain better form, efficiency in their stride, and protection from injury. In particular, butt kicks may help increase the speed of hamstring contractions, which can help you run faster.
The high-knee drill exaggerates the running stride, getting your calves, glutes, and hamstrings firing while promoting knee lift and encouraging a faster turnover.
Dork walks are great for the shins, ankles, and your hips. Keep your body tall and use your arms.
Running drills can help develop efficient movement patterns that your body will then be able to adopt when running.
Performing weekly running drills can strengthen specific muscle groups that are needed for running, especially the muscles of the feet, calves, shins, thighs and hips. They also help prepare the ankle, knee and hip joints for the specific range of movements required during running.