Unlike most other training programs, running, in essence, is pretty simple.
It doesn’t involve complicated skills to learn.
And you don’t need to follow any type of rule book.
With that said, just because running is so convenient does not mean that proper form trivial.
Au contraire, my friend.
When it comes to running, proper running form is of utmost importance.
Working on improving your form can lead to substantial benefits, including better running economy and greater resistance to injury.
And you do want that. Don’t you?
But here is the bad news…
Most runners do not pursue good form with enough consistency.
In fact, running form is neglected most of the time. That’s a common mistake I see many runners make—especially recreational runners.
That’s why today, dear runner, I’m sharing with you a list some of the best drills you can do to improve your running technique.
So are you excited?
Then here we go…
The Benefits of Drills Training
The drills below are designed to help you develop and master vital components of running technique.
In fact, taking the time to perform the drills is going to drastically improve your running form and economy.
In other words, these drills can boost up your athleticism power, reinforce proper form, and improve your overall running technique and approach.
Also, I recommend these drills for nearly all runners. Everyone can benefit from them—the complete beginners and the elite.
What’s more? You can do these drills in the comfort of your home to help you improve your form.
When To Do them
In my experience, the best time to do the drills is just right after warming up but before the bulk of the workout session.
Thus, perform these drills as a part of your dynamic warm-up, following 5 to 10 minutes of easy jogging to get your heart rate up and blood flowing to the muscles.
For more on dynamic warm-up for runners, check my post here.
Try to do these drills at least three times per week on a regular basis, focusing on proper form throughout each and every exercise.
For more on the importance of proper running form, check my two posts here.
How to Start
Please start slow so you can develop a feel for proper technique.
And once you get experienced, gradually increase your speed and intensity, so you are going through each exercise as fast as possible.
But please, never lose form.
Make proper form a priority and you’ll always be on the winning side. (That’s why I’m sharing with you the YouTube tutorials and the form tips. So please, put them into action.)
This drill is key for improving hip flexor and quadricep flexibility as well as engaging the hamstrings, making them stronger in the process.
It can also help you improve your leg turnover cadence, key for speed.
While assuming an athletic stance, run in place while keeping the thighs more or less locked in a neutral position.
To get the most out of this, try kicking yourself in your butt muscles with your heel on each stride, making sure to pull your heels up directly beneath you.
Do this while keeping your toe, heel and knee up throughout the exercise.
Also, make sure to use a similar arm motion during this exercise as you use while running.
2. High Knees
If you are an overstrider, then this drill is going to help you reinforce a midfoot landing strike.
It also can help you increase your hamstring flexibility and leg turnover cadence.
What’s more? High knees promote a more efficient running form by focusing on a higher knee lift and improving hamstring and glutes power.
Assume an athletic stance with a slight forward lean from the ankles.
Next, start taking short steps with a quick cadence, alternating between pushing off the floor with one leg and thrusting the other knee upward and forward until you lifted thigh breaks a plane to the ground.
Please, use the same arm motion you use while running throughout this drill.
Keep up the exercise as fast as you can with good form.
A-Skip is the traditional skip that’s going to help you boost lower-leg power and strength while firing up the hip flexors, improving running form coordination, encouraging knee lift and developing an efficient foot strike.
Not only that, this drill can also help you increase your leg turnover cadence and put a stop to overstriding and/or heel striking.
Assume an athletic position.
Next, skip with high knees by driving your left knee up (until your hip joint is bent past 90 degrees) as you push off with your right one. Then continue in an alternating fashion.
Also, make sure to keep the arms and legs moving together in time to get into a rhythmic motion.
This is an extension of the A-Skip, and it can help you improve hamstring flexibility and total body coordination.
While assuming an athletic stance, skip forward by raising your right knee to waist height while keeping your left leg straight as possible as you come off your toe.
Keep moving forward in this manner—alternating legs—and hitting the ground with your mid-foot or forefoot while using your hamstrings to pull your leg back for ground contact, creating a powerful snapback.
5. Arm Pull-Backs
This drill focuses on the proper motion of the upper body during the gait cycle by helping you improve your arm swing (mainly focusing on the posterior portion) as well as developing high running cadence rhythm.
Note: The Youtube video shows a modified version of the drill.
Assume an athletic position with the back straight, core engaged with a level head and shoulders.
Next, while holding your arms at 90 degrees angle and opting for a slight forward lean, jog forward while moving your arms backward (concentrating on read portion of the arm swing).
To pull your upper arms backward, focus on contracting and engaging the muscles around your shoulder blades.
And please keep your arms swinging in a plane that’s parallel to your torso. Do not rotate your body to help with the movement.
Another powerful drill for increasing your stride cadence and reinforcing correct foot strike mechanics.
While opting for a short and quick stride, move forward with a minimal knee lift, raising one foot only as high as the opposite ankle. Imagine that you are running on hot coals.
Please use short and quick steps, pushing with your gluteal muscles on each strike, and using the balls of your feet to pull your body to the next step.