Running Drills to Increase Speed and Improve Running Form [With Animations]

Running drills cover

Running drills are great for improving your running form and speed.

A running drill is simply an exaggerated form of an element of efficient running form. Each drill moves your muscles through their natural range of motion.

In this post, we’ll discuss why and when to do them. And finally, look at some drills you can incorporate into your training.

let’s get started!

Benefits of Running Drills

  • Improve running form
  • Strengthen running muscles
  • Enhance Stride power, length, and efficiency
  • Enhance dynamic flexibility
  • Prepare your body for fast running
  • Develop quick leg turnover
  • Provide general neuromuscular fitness benefits

When Should You Perform the Drills

You will not have any problem incorporating running drills into your training.

The best time to perform them is 10-15 minutes before an intense workout or a race. So if you do two quality sessions each week, you’ll have two days to perform drills; which is perfect!

So, on the day of your intense workout:

Start with an easy run or a jog

Then complete a set of drills finishing with a few strides

And finally, perform your workout of the day

How Many Drill You Should Do?

4-5 drills are sufficient. Performing these drills should take you about 5 minutes in a session. You don’t want to do too many. Not only you’ll get tired but you’ll also lose your valuable time.

Start with the easy ones for several weeks, and as you get comfortable with them, you can add or replace some drills.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the best running drills:

10 Best Running Drills for runners

1. Slow Skipping

slow skipping running drill

Jump up and forward by driving your right knee upward. Lift your left foot off the ground and take a small hop step forward with the motion created by your right knee.

Lower your right foot to the ground, and now drive the left knee upward, taking the same hop-step with the right foot.

Make sure your feet are landing under your center of mass. Also, don’t just stay on your forefoot; let your heel settle on to the ground. Try to leap as high as you can with each step.

Continue skipping forward for about 30-40 meters.

This drill works on all the muscles you use for running.

2. High Knees

high knees drill

Run forward with an exaggerated knee lift. Lift your thigh so it makes a 90-degree angle to the ground. You should look like you’re running at a fast pace, but moving forward with a slow rate.

Keep your shoulders relaxed, and your spine straight. Be light on your feet.

Perform this drill for about 30-40 meters.

High knees work on your hip flexibility and ankle stiffness.

3. Butt Kicks

butt kicks drill

Run forward with your heels touching your butt with each stride. You should be moving forward at a slow rate.

Perform this drill for about 30-40 meters.

Butt kicks are great for strengthening your hamstrings and increasing flexibility in your knees.

Side Skips

Jump to your left side by pushing off with your right leg. Use your arms for balance. Perform this drill for about 30-40 meters. Then reverse your direction.

Side skips work on your hip abductors making them stronger.

4. Backward Running

backward running drill

Start in a running position and run backward. Extend your legs as far back as you can with each stride. Use your arms to generate thrust. Try to mimic the movements of running forward in reverse.

Backward running, also called, retro running stretches your hip flexors and activates your hamstrings. It helps the glutes and hamstrings get stronger.

5. Carioca

carioca running drill

In carioca drill, you move to your sides. Bring your left foot toward the right foot, crossing it and then placing your left foot beside your right foot.

Then immediately bring your right foot the same way (crossing your left foot), moving in the same direction.

Continue this pattern of alternating your legs for about 30-40 meters. Then repeat to the other side. You may have to twist your body a little to maintain balance, which is fine.

Carioca drill increases your lateral mobility.

6. A skip

a skip drill

Drive your left knee up to bring your thigh parallel to the ground. Hop forward a little on the forefoot of the same leg.

Your arm should move the same way as they do when you run. So, as you bring your left knee up, your right arm should also come forward.

Then immediately repeat the movement with your right foot and left arm. Focus on being relaxed, and keep your body upright throughout the drill.

Keep moving in the same pattern for about 30-40 minutes.

This drill teaches your body the efficient running mechanics and the movements of fast running,

7. B skip

b skip drill

B skip is quite similar to A skip. The only difference is that you extend your leg forward in a B skip.

Drive your left knee up and then extend it forward. Hop forward a little on the forefoot of the same leg. Then repeat with your right foot.

Move the opposite arm at the same time focusing on a smooth rhythm.

This drill helps you increase the range of motion of your running stride while landing underneath your body.

8. Straight-leg Run

straight leg run drill

Run forward keeping your legs straight. Land on your mid-foot. Swing your arms to generate momentum. Your feet should not come too high off the ground.

This drill encourages a mid-foot strike, higher cadence, and better coordination.

9. Quick Feet

quick feet drill

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Start taking short steps as quickly as possible. Make sure you land on your mid-foot. Pump your arms hard. And keep your upper body relaxed.

Don’t lift your feet off the ground more than a few inches. And move forward very little.

This drill is very effective in training the nervous system to activate muscle fibers quickly.

10. Strides

Start with a jog, gradually increasing speed in the middle, building up to about 95% of your max speed. Then gradually slow down to a stop. Strides should be controlled and relaxed. Focus on good running mechanics rather than speed.

You can either run for about 100 meters or for 20 – 30 seconds.

Complete a set of 4-6 strides with a break of 60-90 seconds in between.

Strides are great for improving running form, developing neuromuscular coordination and to be more efficient at faster paces.

Animation Sources:

  1. Athletic Drills. Youtube.
  2. Quick Feat Drill. Youtube.

You may also like:

  1. Benefits of Plyometrics and the Best Plyometric Exercises for Runners
  2. The Myrtle Routine for Hip Strengthening
  3. How to Breathe While Running
  4. 7 Types of Runs and Their Purpose in your Training
  5. How to Start Running: The Ultimate Guide to Running for Beginners

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