Speed Training 101: Top 7 Drills for Faster Runners

athlete doing Speed Drills

Do you ever feel the need for speed? If you’re yearning to kick up the tempo and leave a trail of dust in your wake, then you’re in for a treat. Let me introduce you to the game-changer that transformed my running game: running drills for speed.

Picture this: I was in the midst of my Insanity DVD workout program, sweating buckets and pushing my limits. Little did I know that buried within this intense regimen were the secret ingredients to unlock my true athletic potential. Running drills emerged from the shadows and captivated my attention. Curiosity sparked, and I delved into the world of speed-enhancing exercises.

Let me tell you, my friend, the results were nothing short of phenomenal. Not only did my speed skyrocket, but my entire running form underwent a remarkable transformation. It was as if I had unlocked a hidden power within myself, propelling me forward with newfound agility and grace.

Nowadays, I make it a point to incorporate these drills into my regular cross-training routine. And here’s the best part: you don’t need to be a lightning-fast sprinter or spend endless hours on the track to benefit from them. I’m just an average runner with aspirations of becoming better than average, and these drills have become my secret weapon.

Get ready to break free from your limitations and sprint towards greatness. Are you ready to step up your running game? The starting line awaits you. Let’s do this!

The Speed Drills Routine For Runners

Whether you’re craving that extra burst of speed or simply seeking a fresh twist for your training regimen, incorporating a speed drill workout will be the game-changer you’ve been waiting for.

Imagine this: you’re out on the track, feeling the ground beneath your feet, ready to unleash your inner speed demon. As you dive into the world of speed drills, a whole new realm of possibilities opens up before you. And let me tell you, my friend, the benefits are nothing short of extraordinary.

Let’s dive into the advantages that await you when you embrace the power of running drills for speed:

  • Increased Range of Motion: Speed drills work wonders in enhancing the flexibility and range of motion in your joints. Picture your stride becoming more efficient, with each step covering more ground effortlessly.
  • Quick Feet and Explosive Power: We all know that lightning-fast footwork can make all the difference, whether you’re sprinting towards the finish line or evading opponents on the sports field. Speed drills are your secret weapon to developing that explosive power and lightning-quick feet. Trust me, these skills will transcend beyond running and elevate your performance in other sports as well.
  • Perfecting Your Form: Each drill in your speed workout places a special emphasis on specific aspects of proper running form. It’s like fine-tuning the intricate gears of a well-oiled machine. By incorporating these drills into your routine, your body becomes intimately familiar with the movements required for optimal running mechanics.

How Long Do Speed Drills Take?

Now, you might be wondering, “Will I need to carve out hours from my busy schedule for these drills?” Fear not! Most speed drill workouts can be completed in just 30 to 40 minutes.

They are incredibly convenient and require minimal equipment. So whether you find yourself at a local track, a neighborhood park, or even in the comfort of your own home, these drills can be seamlessly incorporated into your routine.

How & When to do Speed Drills

Are you ready to dive into the exhilarating world of speed drills? Let’s talk about how and when to incorporate these drills into your training regimen to maximize their effectiveness and keep you in top form.

First things first, you have a couple of options when it comes to integrating speed drills into your routine. If you’re already engaging in interval training, you can seamlessly weave these drills into your existing workouts. However, if you haven’t explored the world of cross-training (and trust me, you should), then I suggest adding the drills to the end of your running sessions.

Now, timing is everything. As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to perform speed drills after your easier workouts when you’re feeling fresh and still have some pep in your step. You don’t want to attempt these drills after a grueling, energy-draining run when your legs are begging for mercy.

To ensure optimal results, aim to incorporate speed drills into your routine twice a week on a regular basis. Give yourself at least two recovery days between sessions to allow your body to adapt and reap the benefits of the training. Consistency is key here, my friend. Stay committed to this schedule, and you’ll soon witness remarkable progress.

Now, let’s talk about the drills themselves. The recommended sequence consists of seven exercises carefully curated to target various aspects of your speed and running mechanics. I encourage you to go through the entire sequence at least twice to truly benefit from each drill’s unique contribution. If you find yourself with some extra time and a burning desire to push your limits, go ahead and repeat the sequence three times. The choice is yours!

Safety is paramount, my friend. To protect your precious joints and minimize the risk of injury, I strongly advise you to perform these drills on a soft surface. Seek out the infield of a track or a rubberized track if possible. Remember, we want to unleash your speed and power while keeping you safe and sound.

Before you embark on your exhilarating speed drill session, it’s crucial to properly warm up your body. Begin with a slow 5-minute jog to get your blood flowing and your muscles awakened. Then, transition into 10 minutes of dynamic stretches, as demonstrated in the routine provided. This warm-up will prepare your body for the explosive movements to come, priming you for an extraordinary training experience.

Top 7 Drills to Run Faster

1.     Bounding

This drill consists of an exaggerated running movement focusing on foot push-off and airtime.

It’s ideal for both increasing lower body power and single-leg stability during forward running motion.

This drill is essential for keeping proper running form—especially when fatigue starts to set in.

Proper Form

Begin this drill by jogging in one direction while keeping your head level and torso upright.

After progressing a few feet, start bounding by pushing off with one foot and bringing the other one forward.

Focus on achieving an explosive leap and a fast cadence.

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 gait and can also help you boost leg turnover cadence.

Proper Form


While running in place and with your thighs locked in a neutral position, kick your leg up to the butt, letting your heel make contact with the glute on each stride.

If you can’t reach your heels up to your glutes, aim to boost your dynamic range of motion.

To keep good form, 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 increasing speed and leg drive, targeting the hip flexors.

Adding power and speed to your hip flexor can also help prevent plantar fasciitis, Achilles issues, and other troubles.

Proper Form

Stand straight, with your feet shoulder-width apart, your arms hanging down by your 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 possible.

4.    Running Backwards

Running backward strengthens both the glutes and the hamstrings.

This move also activates the muscles of the core and lower back.

Proper Form

Do your best to replicate the typical forward running motion while moving backward.

Maintain a normal running form while keeping your head up and back straight.

Push off with your forefoot and swing your arms to the side.

Increase your speed as you become more skillful.

Do at least five sets of 50 meters.

5.    Grapevines

Also known as karaoke, this exercise increases hip and leg mobility.

It’s also vital for developing footwork, balance, coordination and lateral speed, and strength.

Proper Form

Start by standing upright while facing forward, then step out to your right side on your right foot.

Follow the right leg with the left leg, placing it behind the right.

Repeat this step to the right again, but this time bring the left foot in front of the right one instead of behind.

Alternate crossing the left foot behind and in front of the right foot.

Keeping a fluid movement with your arms is the key to maintaining balance.

Stay on the ball of your foot or the forefoot throughout the entire motion.

Repeat the exercise in the other direction, letting the left leg lead and alternating putting the right foot behind and in front.

6.    Straight-Leg Shuffles

Straight-Leg Shuffles shorten ground contact and reduce the braking effect typically found in runners who overstride.

It also stimulates neuromuscular timing for fast cadence running

Proper Form

Begin bounding forward with a fast cadence, keeping your legs straight, your torso upright, and your ankles dorsiflexed the entire time.

Focus on driving your foot down, then allowing it to spring back up off the ground without lifting the knees.

Do at least three 50-meter reps.

7.    Ankling

Ankling helps develop correct foot-strike mechanics.

This increases coordination, efficiency, and speed.

Proper Form

Stand straight, with your feet shoulder-width apart.

Using a fast, very short stride, move forward 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.

Keep your steps as short and quick as possible, with a minimum knee lift.

Imagine yourself running on hot coals – the goal is to spend minimal time on the ground.

Running Drills for Speed  – The Conclusion

Add these speed drills to your training program as soon as you can. The speed of implementation will be the key to your success.

Feel free to leave your comments and questions below, and as always, thanks for stopping by. Keep running strong!

David D.