• Luke Nelson

Running drills to improve your form

Running drills can be a great way to improve your running technique, and maybe even shave some precious seconds off your PB! So here are some of our favourites.

Early leg recovery (A drills)

The aim of A drills is to improve the movement of the swing leg, to recover in a more optimal path, and therefore improve front side mechanics.


These exercises can also help to strengthen the hip flexors, an often neglected area in runners.


Ideal for:

  • Improving overstride

  • Improving lagging recovery

  • Runners needing to strengthen their hip flexors

A drills:

  1. Leg cycles

  2. A-march

  3. A-skip

  4. High knee switch

  5. Deadleg run

  6. High knees


Late leg recovery (B-drills)

B drills also work on the recovery of the swing leg but focus more on the latter stage just before the foot strikes the ground. This allows for better foot placement, reducing overstride and a resultant increase in braking forces. They also increase the activity of the hamstring and gluteal muscles. These drills are especially useful to improve technique at higher speeds, as the runner “claws back” the foot before hitting the ground.

Ideal for:

  • Runners needing increased strength in the hamstring & hip extensor (gluteal muscles) i.e. those with hamstring tendinopathy, recurrent hamstring strains

  • Improving overstride

  • Improving foot position especially for those heavy heel strikers

B drills

  1. Straight leg marching

  2. B-march

  3. Straight leg skip

  4. B-skip

  5. Straight leg running


Other drills


A-Drills


Leg cycles

This is a good entry exercise to get used to the pathway that the leg should travel.

How to perform:

  • Stand side-on against a wall for balance

  • Adopt a good upright posture

  • Bring your outside knee towards your chest so that your thigh reaches parallel to the ground.

  • Ensure your toes are pointed up towards your shin

  • Lower the foot to the ground to touch down near your opposite foot, then continue to swing behind you

  • Finish by pulling your leg forwards again

  • Perform with gradually increasing speed ensuring good form throughout

  • Keep your shoulders relaxed during this drill

Reps: 15 on each side, 2 sets


A-march

How to perform:

  • Adopt a good upright posture

  • Bring the knee of your swing leg towards your chest so that your thigh reaches parallel to the ground.

  • Point the toes of your swing leg up towards your shin

  • Whilst one leg drives up, ensure you extend your opposite leg and point your toes

  • Lower the foot to the ground to touch down in front of your opposite foot and repeat on the other side

  • Keep your shoulders relaxed during this drill

Reps: 10-20m, 2 sets


A-skip

How to perform:

  • The easiest way to perform this drill is to start by skipping in a line, then exaggerate the movement of your swing leg by driving your knee up to your chest to bring the thigh parallel to the ground.

  • Point the toes of your swing leg up towards your shin

  • Drive the swing leg down into the ground to land underneath your centre of mass

  • Ensure quick contact on the ground so that you are bouncing forwards

  • Adopt good upright posture, with a slight forward lean throughout this drill

  • Keep your shoulders relaxed during this drill

Reps: 10-20m, 2 sets


High knee switch

How to perform:

  • Start in the top position of an A-march/A-skip with the knee towards the chest, thigh parallel to the ground.

  • Quickly switch to the opposite leg ensuring that you finish with a nice upright posture

  • This can be progressed by doing 2 or 3 switches before pausing.

  • Adopt good upright posture throughout this drill

  • Keep your shoulders relaxed during this drill

Reps: 15 reps, 2 sets


Deadleg run

How to perform:

  • This drill involves performing the A-skip on one side only, whilst the stance “dead” leg remains relatively straight.

  • Ensure the swing leg thigh achieves parallel, and your toes point up towards the shin

  • You can further challenge this drill by switching legs every few strides

  • Adopt good upright posture throughout this drill

  • Keep your shoulders relaxed during this drill

Reps: 10-20m, 2 sets

High knees

How to perform:

  • This drill involves quickly switching legs as you move forward

  • Ensure that the swing leg achieves parallel, and your toes point up towards the shin

  • Adopt good upright posture throughout this drill

  • Keep your shoulders relaxed during this drill

Reps: 10-20m, 2 sets


B-Drills

Straight leg marching

  • To perform this drill walk forwards with your legs straight in front of you

  • Bring your leg up to 45 degrees, keeping your toes pointing up to your shins, before pulling your leg back underneath you

  • Adopt good upright posture throughout this drill

  • To make this more challenging, kick your legs up higher

  • Keep your shoulders relaxed during this drill

Reps: 10-20m, 2 sets


B-march

  • Adopt a good upright posture

  • Bring the knee of your swing leg towards your chest so that your thigh reaches parallel to the ground. Point the toes of your swing leg up towards your shin

  • As your thigh gets to parallel, extend your knee by kicking out, then quickly pull the leg back down to the ground

  • Whilst one leg drives up, ensure you extend your opposite leg and point your toes

  • Lower the foot to the ground to touch down in front of your opposite foot and repeat on the other side

  • Keep your shoulders relaxed during this drill

Reps: 10-20m, 2 sets


Straight leg skip

  • To perform this drill skip forwards but have your legs straight in front of you

  • Your leg should get up to 45 degrees, keeping your toes pointing up to your shins, before pulling your leg back underneath you

  • Adopt good upright posture throughout this drill

  • To make this more challenging, kick your legs up higher or perform 2 kicks on each side before switching

  • Keep your shoulders relaxed during this drill

Reps: 10-20m, 2 sets


B-skip

How to perform:

  • The easiest way to perform this drill is to start by skipping in a line, then exaggerate the movement of your swing leg by driving your knee up to your chest to bring the thigh parallel to the ground. Point the toes of your swing leg up towards your shin

  • As your thigh gets to parallel, extend your knee by kicking out, then quickly pull the leg back down to the ground

  • Drive the swing leg down into the ground to land underneath your centre of mass

  • Ensure quick contact on the ground so that you are bouncing forwards

  • Adopt good upright posture, with a slight forward lean throughout this drill

  • Keep your shoulders relaxed during this drill

Reps: 10-20m, 2 sets


Straight leg running

  • This drill is running with your legs straight in front of you

  • Bring your leg up to 45 degrees, keeping your toes pointing up to your shins, before pulling your leg back underneath you

  • Adopt good upright posture throughout this drill

  • To make this more challenging, kick your legs up higher

  • Keep your shoulders relaxed during this drill

Reps: 10-20m, 2 sets

If you would like help with your running technique or running injuries, please don't hesitate to contact us at www.healthhp.com.au

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