Do you want to run faster?
Of course, you do!
Truth be told, if you are serious about becoming the best runner you can be, you’ve got to do more than just running.
Speed drills enter the picture.
Committing to a regular speed drills routine, for at least 20 to 30 minutes per session two times per week will definitely help you run faster and improve your athletic power like nothing else.
This post, along with the videos and form tips, outlines a series of running drills that you can easily fit in into your training program.
The Benefits of Speed Drills Training
Here are 5 main reasons why you should be doing speed drills.
- Taking at least 30 to 40 minutes, speed drills can drastically improve your running form and economy—a key factor in boosting running speed and efficiency.
- Speed drills can help increase the range of motion in your joints. This is vital for an efficient stride.
- Speed drills can help you develop quick feet, acceleration, and power—on the running field and in other sports as well.
- Each one of the drills emphasizes on one or more aspects of good running form and heightens them through repetitive action, which can help your body get used to that movement so it can be incorporated into your running mechanics.
- Most speed drills are convenient and can be performed anywhere at any time with minimum equipment needed.
How & When to do Speed Drills Training
A Speed drills workout, like the one I am sharing with you today, can be a part of an interval training schedule, and should be performed twice a week on a regular basis, with at least two recovery days between sessions.
I don’t think you should perform these drills after a long and hard run.
So please do yourself a favor and complete this sequence when you are fresh, or after a short easy run. For safety, be sure to perform the following drills on a soft surface, preferably on the infield of a track or on a rubberized track.
Go through the whole sequence—the 7 exercises—at least twice. If you have the time, you can repeat the sequence 3 times.
But in the end, it’s your decision. You can choose to incorporate all of the drills I’m sharing here, or you can also pick and choose the ones you like the most. It’s up to you.
Proper Form is King
Please watch the proper form tutorials as many times as you need before you perform the drills. Good form is king, and if you do the moves wrong, you risk hurting yourself and compromising your training.
As a warm-up, jog slowly for at least 5 minutes, then perform 5 to 10 minutes of dynamic stretches; also do a bit of foam rolling work if you can. Just don’t go heavy on the stretching since it may lead to injury and can also hinder performance later on. Leave the static stretching till the end of the session.
Top 7 Speed Training Drills
This awesome plyometric move— an exaggerated running movement focusing on foot push-off and air time— boosts hamstring, calf and foot power and increases single-leg stability during forward running motion, which is key keeping proper running form—especially when fatigue starts to set in.
This move will also help you improve sprinting power.
Begin this drill by jogging in one direction, while keeping your head level and torso upright. Then after a few feet, start bounding with your legs by forcefully pushing off with one foot and bringing the other one forward. Focus on an explosive leap into the air and a fast cadence.
To keep good form, be sure to swing your arms overhead to the opposite leg’s action, to maintain balance and provide momentum.
Perform at least five to eight 50-meter reps.
2. Butt Kicks
Butt kicks mainly target the hamstrings, and stretch the quads. This speed drill emphasizes the recovery part of the running gain and can also help you boost up leg turnover cadence, which is vital for speed.
While running in place with thighs locked in a neutral position, kick your leg up to the butt with the heel making contact with the glute on each stride. If you can’t reach your heels up to your glutes, then you need to boost up your dynamic range of motion.
To keep good form, be sure to keep the rest of your body as steady as possible, and focus on a smooth, and fast action.
Perform at least three sets of 25 kicks with each leg.
3. High Knees
This move improves knee lift by targeting the hip flexors, thereby increasing speed and leg drive. Not only that, adding power and speed to your hip flexor may prevent plantar fasciitis, Achilles issues, and other troubles.
To perform this drill, stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms hanging down by the sides and gazing straight ahead.
While keeping a slight forward lean from the ankles, alternate jumping from one foot to the other aiming to raise your knees as high as you can.
Make sure your foot strike is soft.
4. Running Backward
Running backward can help you strengthen the glutes and hamstrings. This move can also target and activate muscles of the core and lower back.
This may seem awkward the first few times you try it out, but do your best to replicate the typical forward running motion while moving backward.
Make sure to hold a normal running form and keep your head up and back straight, looking straight ahead the entire time. And be sure to push off with your forefoot and swing your arms to the side.
Aim to increase your speed as you become more skillful. That’s why you need to approach this drill gradually and slowly.
Do at least five sets of 50 meters.
Also known as karaoke, this exercise can help you increase hip and leg mobility while also using the lateral strength needed to run with proper form. Grapevines are also vital for developing footwork, balance, coordination and lateral speed and strength.
Start by standing upright while facing forward, then step out to your right side on your right foot, then follow it with the left leg and place it on the ground and place behind the right leg. Step out, again, to the right side of the right foot and, but this time, bring the left foot in front of the right leg.
Next, carry on with this foot crossing pattern, alternating crossing the left foot behind and in front of the right foot. And be sure to keep a fluid movement with your arms, key for maintaining balance. Stay on the ball or forefoot throughout the entire motion.
Repeat in the other direction so that other left leg leads.
6. Straight-Leg Shuffle
This drill will make your stride more efficient by shortening ground contact and reducing the counterproductive braking linked with a heel-striking foot strike. It also stimulates neuromuscular timing for fast cadence running
While keeping your legs straight and torso upright, and ankles dorsiflexed the entire time, begin bounding forward with a fast cadence. Focus on driving the foot down then allowing it to spring back off the ground without lifting the knees.
Do at least three 50-meter reps.
By adding the Ankling drill to your arsenal, you will master the ins and outs and of correct foot strike mechanics, thereby increasing your stride rate, efficiency, and speed.
Begin by standing tall and straight with your feet together, shoulder width apart.
Next, while opting for a fast and very short stride, move forward by taking small steps and landing on the balls of your feet. As your feet strike the ground, be sure to use the ball of your feet to take your body to the next step.
Make sure to keep the steps as short and quick as possible with a minimum knee lift. Imagine that you are running on hot coals and you are doing your best so spend the minimal time on the ground.
Please make sure to add these 7 speed drills to your training program as soon as you can. The speed of implementation is the key to success.
Feel free to leave your comments and questions below.
Thank you for reading my post.
Featured Image Credit – Oscar Rethwill Through Flickr.