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RUNNING DRILLS FOR SPEED – WHAT EVERY RUNNER NEEDS TO KNOW

Publish date 30.08.2022

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RUNNING DRILLS FOR SPEED – WHAT EVERY RUNNER NEEDS TO KNOW

As a runner, you certainly want your workouts to produce the desired results and draw near your goal. For this to be successful, running alone is not enough. Do you want to run faster and longer, or maintain your running pace throughout your workout? If so, you also need to incorporate exercises into your training to strengthen your muscles. What’s more, running drills for speed are also important. These are what we will focus on in this article.

We will show you which exercises are beneficial and how to perform them correctly. Don’t worry, they won’t be difficult, and you’ll be able to do them without too much trouble. 

However, before we move on to specific exercises, let’s find out…

Running drills for speed – what is it?

Speed drills for running increase your endurance, which is essential for every runner. It doesn’t matter if you are running recreationally or preparing for a marathon or other competition. However, it is for long-distance runners that they are essential – that’s why proper training is important. 

Running form drills: 

  • when doing them, you need to take great care to perform them correctly from a technical point of view,
  • they engage the muscles of the legs and abdomen – a strong torso and legs are essential,
  • thanks to them, you can safely and efficiently run uphill, downhill, and long distances,
  • these exercises are performed while running, or in the form of jumps.

Remember to take care of yourself during such training and not hurt yourself. Perform the exercises carefully and cautiously.

Why perform speed drills for running? 

  • Improved running kick and dynamics,
  • improved running speed, 
  • better technical running, 
  • stronger legs, 
  • greater endurance during running = longer running distance, 
  • greater endurance during interval training, 
  • a better form on the final meters of runs, 
  • greater running power, 
  • less susceptibility to injury,
  • fast twitch muscle fibers will be engaged during exercise.

NOTE:  If you want to do this type of exercise, however, you must remember that you need to ensure that your body is properly prepared. This means that you must first build fitness and overall strength. Therefore, speed drills for running are designed for intermediate and advanced runners. Before training, you should first perform a warm-up, and do the exercises under the guidance of a coach or an experienced colleague. All this is done in order not to get an injury. 

Before you start exercises

Before you start exercises to increase your running strength, you should pay attention to the ground on which you will do the training. Do exercises on soft ground such as terrain. Avoid asphalt or concrete. 

Why exactly such terrain? 

This is because, among other reasons, these exercises, anyway, cause considerable stress on the muscles, bones, and joints. Performing them on hard pavement, these loads can become too much and lead to injury.

Exercises for running strength

Multi-jumps 

You can perform with one foot or both feet. The step is to be long and dynamic. To kick out well for the exercise, you also need to engage your hands to help you kick out. You need to strike forward rather than up and land on the midfoot. 

With this exercise, you mainly work your biceps femoris muscle, and buttocks. Remember to perform this exercise on a soft surface.

Jumping jacks

This is an extremely popular exercise that you surely remember from school. It’s worthwhile to perform the jumping jacks because when you do them you work your legs and arms intensively. It is worth adding them to your workout.

Speed drills for running  - training
Jumping jacks will improve your arms and legs.

Run-ups

Running uphill is a very intense and demanding workout. Because of this, it is often overlooked, but this is detrimental to the overall training.

Run-ups can be divided into a couple of categories. This will allow you to vary your exercises and constantly subject your body to new stimuli. This is important because the body will not quickly get used to the exercises, and they will be effective. 

Distance run-up – this means that you have to run uphill. It does not have to be sheer. If you are just starting, it can be about 100 m. The hill also does not have to be very steep. If you are a more experienced runner, you can choose a run-up, which can be up to 1 km.

The run-up to the max – run-ups at their maximum capacity should not be longer than 10-15 seconds. They should be performed on a flat and dry surface. All this is to avoid slipping or tripping over a protruding branch or stone. This is a very fast run, so you may not pay attention to the danger – a greater likelihood of injury. For such a short distance, the run-up can be done uphill, which is steeper. You can do such a run-up about 4-6 times. It all depends on your endurance. 

A run-up along with jumps – if in a run-up you want to use skips, multi-jumps, and others, then probably the section of the run-up will be shorter than this 1 km. Use mixed run-ups with such exercises when you are already a more advanced runner. Then you’ll also probably be able to do them in sections longer than 60 meters.

If you’re already on top of the mountain, then a form of exercise can also be running downhill. In this way, you will also strengthen your leg muscles, especially your calves. Running down is also a form of rest, so you can do it slowly at a light jog. 

Running form drills – skips

What are skips? Skips are a very taxing strength exercise for the muscles. Therefore, you need to prepare for them properly. This is a group of exercises belonging to the elements of running strength. This is the part of training that builds strength and strengthens leg muscles. It will also help you increase the dynamics and speed of your stride.

SKIP A

Skip A is a run during which you must lift your knees high up. 

  • Your thighs should form a right angle with your torso. 
  • The foot should work on the midfoot.
  • The step should go up more than down. 

With this exercise, you will feel how intensely your legs will work, especially your calves and buttocks, as well as your arms and abdominal muscles.

SKIP B 

This is an exercise that is recommended for more experienced runners. Skip B consists of two elements, it is a combination of skip A (which we presented earlier) with a simultaneous forward throw of the leg. 

The same as in skip A, you run and lift the thigh so that it forms a right angle with the torso, and then straighten the leg and throw it forward. Reading this description, you may have the impression that this is a very difficult exercise. However, it’s not. Trust me, after a few repetitions, you’ll learn how to do it correctly.

At the very beginning, you can perform this kind of skip at a trot every 30-40 meters. If you’ve become proficient, you can move on to faster running. 

SKIP C

Skip C is an exercise that engages the biceps femoris muscles more. Why? Because when you run, you strike your feet against your buttocks. If you chose skip C as part of your exercise, you should:

  • run on the forefoot,
  • steps should be short, 
  • the torso forms one straight line with the knee,
  • hands work intensively along the torso

SKIP D

Skip D is a run on straight legs. The exercise is based on dynamic running while keeping the ankle joint straight. You quickly displace your legs, keeping them forward. For this reason, the torso is to be slightly bent backward. Doing this dynamically and technically correctly will strengthen your legs and your feet. As in the above skips, here you will also land on the front of your feet.

What more to add about skips? 

Skips are not very difficult, this is why you can add them even to your warm-up sessions. Skip A, C and D can be used during training even by less advanced runners. Only skip B is dedicated to people who are more advanced in running. 

What is more, you can also combine and change skips. Try to introduce them to your training or warm-up routine. 

How often should you do the running strength exercises?

As we mentioned earlier, running drills for speed are very exhausting and taxing. Therefore, you should not overdo them. It is best to perform them one day a week. If you are already a more advanced runner, you may choose two days, per week, in which you do these exercises. However, remember not to overtire yourself and pay attention to your health, fitness, and well-being – otherwise, you may get injured. 

Accessories for training running strength

On the market, you can find all sorts of accessories to help you train running strength. You can use, for example, training rubber bands, kettlebell weights, or exercise expanders. With these, without leaving home, you can exercise and even create your mini gym! 

They may appeal to you:

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