Do You Run Funny?

sprinting performance

6 Drills to Improve your Running Form

It’s an odd question, but you get what I mean. You know when you watch certain people run and they just don’t ‘look right.’ On the flip side, you see others running effortlessly and fast. They are rather magnificent to watch.

Wouldn’t it be great to be one of those effortless runners who seemingly glides along at a quick pace without any funny hitches, flicks or pain in weird places?

It can be frustrating if you’re trying to improve your running speed and not seeing any progression, especially when you’re faced with incredibly sore calves, shins or hamstrings afterwards. There can be several reasons why your pace could be slow and why you’re not looking quite right when you run. Don’t feel ashamed about it, professional runners invest a lot of money and time into perfecting their running form – it takes work. But I can tell you with confidence, you can improve your running form and pace with consistent practice, diligence and a bit of determination!

Let’s take you back to the start line; the core elements of the correct running form. Because before you can run faster, you need to learn how to run better.

Acceleration’s Sprint Training teaches you:

  1. Knee Drive
  2. Correct Toe Position
  3. Body Position
  4. Arm Drive and Leg Cycle

Acceleration has broken down each of these movements into drills. The drills are designed to rewire your nervous system so you learn to move properly.

The program below gives you six drills with sets and reps plus a description for each. You will also find a video which shows each drill being performed in the order of the program. You’re welcome!

 

Exercise Program: Correcting Running Form

Before you can run faster, you need to learn how to run better

These running form drills are bound to help you run better if you complete the following program for 4 weeks. Aim to complete this session a minimum of twice per week and maximum 3 times per week.

It will take you around 20-25 minutes to complete this workout.

 

Video of Drills:

Click Here to Watch Drill Videos

sprinting drills

Drill #1 – High Knee March (Video: 5 sec – 6 sec)

Purpose:

This is a very simple drill to teach you to pick-up your knees and use appropriate arm action at the same time.

Description:

  • Start on the balls of your feet.
  • Walk forward with your knees rising in front of the body.
  • Use your arms in a similar manner to a running motion.
  • Hands cheek to cheek with big elbow drive backwards.

Coaching Cues:

  • Never let your heel touch the floor.
  • Pick your knee up to hip level.
  • Make sure you bring knee and foot straight through.
  • Bring heel to hamstring.

 

Drill #2 – High Knee Skip (Video: 7 sec – 8 sec)

Purpose:

This drill adds a quick skip to the High Knee March, making it more dynamic and closer towards a run.

Description:

  • Use your arms in a similar manner to a running motion.
  • Start by going through the same action as High Knee March, but then add a little skip.

Coaching Cues:

  • Make the skip small and quick.
  • Pick your knees up to hip level.
  • Kick your elbow back on the opposite side to the high knee.

 

Drill #3: High Knee Double Skip (Video: 9 sec – 10 sec)

Purpose:

To teach the foot to ‘pop’ off the ground in a quick and controlled manner.

Description:

  • Use your arms in a similar manner to a running motion.
  • Start by going through the same action as High Knee March.
  • On the knee drive, perform a double skip (pop the foot off the ground twice).

Coaching Cues:

  • Make the skips small and quick.
  • Pick your knees up to hip level.
  • Keep toes up.
  • Kick your elbow back on the opposite side to the high knee.

 

Drill #4 – Wall – Spring March (Video: 11sec – 16 sec)

Purpose:

To allow focus of basic mechanics by emphasizing the need for a rigid core and a high knee drive when running. The wall provides a platform from which to push.

Description:

  • Place two hands on the wall and create a lean forward of 45 degrees.
  • Pick up the right knee with right toe up while the left foot remains on the floor.
  • Quickly switch the right foot back down to the floor while raising the left knee. (Therefore, there should be a short time where neither foot is in contact with the floor.)
  • Perform this movement while maintaining a straight back.
  • Continue for the prescribed number of repetitions/time.

Coaching Cues:

  • Maintain straight line from shoulders to toes.
  • Remain on balls of feet.
  • Knee to hip level.
  • Heel to butt with toe up.
  • Neck Bolts position (Chin tucked in).

 

Drill #5: Wall – Spring Switch (Video: 17 sec – 19 sec)

Purpose:

To Emphasize the need for a rigid core and a high knee drive when running. This is a progression from Wall Spring March and progresses to Wall Run to elicit a great response.

Description:

  • Place two hands on the wall and create a lean forward of 45 degrees.
  • Pick up the right knee with right toe up while the left foot remains on the floor.
  • Quickly switch the right foot back down to the floor while raising the left knee, immediately switch back to the starting position with the left leg extended into the ground (Therefore, there should be a short time where neither foot is in contact with the floor.)
  • Perform this movement while maintaining a straight back.
  • Continue for the prescribed number of repetitions and then switch sides.

Coaching Cues:

  • Maintain straight line from shoulders to toes.
  • Remain on balls of feet.
  • Knee to hip level.
  • Heel to butt with toe up.
  • Head in Neck Bolts position.
  • Check to maintain Lower Back remains straight throughout.

 

Drill #6 – Hurdle Run (Video: 20 sec – 21 sec)

Purpose:

The purpose of the exercise is to develop basic running form mechanics, where the feet swing straight through instead of out to the side.

Description:

  • Use 4 small hurdles and 4 large hurdles (where possible). Set each hurdle approximately 40-60cm apart from each other.
  • Start back 50-100cm back from the first hurdle.
  • Run over the hurdles with feet and hands picking up dynamically straight through.

Coaching Cues:

  • During the Hurdles: 
    • Knees to hip level (90 degrees), heels to butt, balls of feet, good toe position, toes up, good arm action.
    • Maintain upright position to emphasize ripping heel to butt and quick knee drive.
  • During the contrast:
    • Focus on accelerating as quickly as possible by pushing backwards and extending legs forcefully and completely during the first 0-5 m.
    • From 5-20m then concentrate on good running form as was the focus during the hurdle run component of the exercise.

 

End Result:

This program will help to improve the efficiency of your running action so that you can potentially run faster for longer. Therefore, you are more likely to stay injury free as well as perform better in the future. It is vital for the long-term success of an athlete to move WELL before moving fast. Try doing this program once a year. I hope you get to enjoy the benefits during your sporting competitions.

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