According to British Olympic Triathlete, Ironman World Record Holder and ASICS Ambassador Tim Don, running drills are an important component of the triathlon package because drills are designed to help improve running performance – to help you go faster and place higher. They also help build strength, improve balance along with coordination, and increase your range of motion.
Start off doing 2 repeats of each drill per session and work your way up to doing 4 repeats of each drill over a slightly longer distance. Remember you only ever want to practice with good technique. Ideally, drills should be undertaken on a relatively soft surface – grass is probably best or an artificial running surface.
Warming Up and Stretching
No running drills should be attempted before you are properly warmed up. The drills are designed to stretch the boundaries of your running capabilities so warm up for a good fifteen minutes with some easy running and stretch thoroughly.
1. High Knee Running
The aim: To increase stride frequency and improve knee lift for when you need to pick up the pace.
How to do it: Start jogging slowly, then when comfortably in your stride increase your stride rate so that you take as many steps as possible over about 20 metres or so but with an exaggeratedly high knee action. Bringing your legs up in front of you and maintaining a nice upright posture. The emphasis is not on speed but on maximizing the number of steps taken.
2. Bum Kick
The aim: To increase stride frequency and improve knee lift for when you need to pick up the pace
How to do it: Start by jogging slowly then increase your stride rate, aiming to get your feet moving as quickly as you can and swinging your lower leg up behind you. Your heel should literally be hitting your bum. Continue for about 20 metres.
3. Pull Throughs
The aim: To develop timing and power to get your leg in position to power yourself through your stride, and increase stride length.
How to do it: Going from a walk in an upright position, extend one leg out in front of you like a hurdler, then bring your leg down and through to touch the ground powerfully, directly under your centre of gravity. As your foot contacts the ground, drive up on your toes and swing your other leg forward and repeat. Do about 12 to 15 steps on each leg like this.
The aim: To develop your leg power and strength, therefore increasing your stride length.
How to do it: Start from a slow jog – bounding forward and upwards with a high knee lift. Land on your other leg and repeat the movement. Continue alternating legs. Concentrate on holding good form, keep your head up and drive with your arms, as this will help you keep the whole movement together. Repeat for 8 to 10 steps on each leg.
Consistently incorporate these drills into your running routine and watch as the new challenge increases your speed and strength over time.
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