Basic technical running drills

A Skip from crop ni futures

Basic technical running drills underpin good movement skills that will limit your chance of getting injured, while also improving efficiency and economy. Often the term overuse can be used for an injury alongside poor movement skills or under recovery.

There are many good reasons to include running drills in your programme and here are just a few:

They encourage an efficient running technique

They dynamically stretch the muscles used for running

They challenge and improve your co-ordination

When practising running drills it is important to perform them correctly and so it is preferable to practise them under the guidance of a coach or running leader who can observe your movements and give you feedback on how you are doing. If this isn't possible you could ask a training partner or friend to watch or maybe film you so that you can see for yourself whether or not you are performing them correctly. Beware - practice does not make perfect; practice makes permanent, so, perfect practice is important! 

The accompanying 5-minute footage from the NI Futures programme covers most of the drills highlighted here

Like any kind of running training you should start small and progress gently. Running drills require skill and you don't learn skill over night. You should be prepared to practise the same drill over several sessions or even several weeks until you get it right and then you can start to challenge yourself by making the drill more complicated, speeding it up (if it requires co-ordination) or slowing it down (if it requires balance). When you've perfected a couple of drills you could then start to add more until you have built a repertoire that you are happy with.

So, where shall you start? You could build your repertoire of drills by breaking the running action down into four phases- drive, flight, support and recover and then work on drills that practise each of these actions. For simplification we can refer to these positions as A, B, C and D. In all of your running drills you should ensure you maintain a tall posture: high hips, chest up, head up, looking towards the horizon. Remember that your head is heavy. If you look down you will rotate too far forwards. Arms should drive back and not come across the body.

Read more on this topic in our runsmoother section of training and advice here.