How to Run Faster – Top 7 Speed Drills

Do you want to run faster?

Of course, you do!

I discovered speed drills while doing the Insanity DVD workout program. Back then, I had no idea how important they were for improving overall athletic performance.

But that changed once I started noticing drastic improvements in my speed and in the way I carried myself while running. For that reason, nowadays I try as hard I can to make drills a regular part of my cross-training routine.

Don’t get me wrong… I’m not a fast runner, nor do I spend endless hours on the track performing gut-busting sprints. I’m just an average runner who wants to become a better-than-average athlete.

If you’re hesitant about giving speed drills a try, there’s no need to be. Just follow my advice and give it a shot. You’ve got nothing to lose, and plenty to gain.

The Speed Drill Routine For Runners

Whether you want to add more spring to your foot strike or are simply looking to try something different with your training program, adding a speed drill workout will surely deliver.

This routine will help you run faster and improve your athletic power, regardless of your current training goals.  This post, along with the YouTube tutorials and form tips that I’ve included here, outlines a series of running drills that you can easily fit into your training program.

The Benefits of Speed Drill Training

Speed Drill training is an essential part of any workout plan, whether you’re a 5K fanatic or an ultra-distance elite runner.

A regular speed drill routine can help you achieve the following:

  • 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. This translates very well to the running field, as well as other sports.
  • Each drill emphasizes one or more aspect of good running form. They help your body get used to that specific movement so it can be incorporated into your running mechanics.
  • Taking at least 30 to 40 minutes, most drills workouts are convenient and can be performed anywhere, at any time, with minimal equipment needed.

How & When to do Speed Drill Training

You can add speed drills to your existing interval training workouts, but if you don’t cross train (and you should), try adding them onto the end of your running sessions.

As a general rule, make sure to perform these drills after your easier workouts, when you’re fresh and feel like you still have energy in the tank. Don’t try these drills after a long, hard run. They should be done twice a week on a regular basis, with at least two recovery days between sessions.

Go through the whole sequence—the seven exercises—at least twice. If you have time to spare, repeat the sequence three times.

For safety, be sure to do these drills on a soft surface, preferably on the infield of a track or on a rubberized track.

The Warm-Up

As a warm-up, jog slowly for 5 minutes, then do 10 minutes of dynamic stretches, as shown in the routine here.

Top 7 Speed Training Drills

  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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

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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.

5 COMMENTS

  1. I do hope that these drills will supplement my interval training. I am not yet a fast runner but I do have endurance, I have been looking for ways and training myself to run faster so that I can break my personal record always, and of course along with this I also need to lose weight since I am still big for my height.

  2. I’ve been working out a lot lately and i really love running, i just don’t like it because i am not, so i am trying to do more excercises that will help me get faster. I like having someone there to tell me to do a certain thing cause then i don’t cheat and do only the things i like and only do a couple.

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