Improve Your Running Form With These 5 Warm-Up Drills
Good running form might come more naturally to some, but it’s certainly a skill that can be learned. Running with good technique will make you quicker, more efficient and less likely to get injured. Include a combination of these 5 drills in your pre-run warm-up so that you’re prepared to run with good technique.
5 drills you can start using today:
1. High Knees
This drill gets those knees up and gets you running with a high knee drive! A higher knee drive means bigger strides, and bigger strides typically lead to a faster runner. You don’t need to cover a lot of ground – just 30 to 50 meters. Make sure to bring your knee up to hip height before putting it down again (don’t stride forward). This drill also engages your arms. As your knee comes up, swing and drive your opposite arm upwards. This should be a rapid drill, so alternate your legs as fast as possible.
2. Butt Kicks
Butt kicks get your hamstrings working and help you develop a quicker stride rate and a longer stride. Using small steps, almost running in place, quickly lift one foot to your glutes, or just under, and then straight down again (don’t stride forward) – bonus points if you can actually kick your glutes! You should cover a small amount of ground during the drill, about 30 to 50 meters. This is also a quick drill with a fast turnover, so alternate your legs as fast as possible.
Strides get you practicing good running technique as well as running at a fast pace. They should be done over 100m. Start from standing, speed up to a jog and then keep accelerating until you’re running at approximately 95% of your top speed over the last 10 meters. Go, go, go!
4. A-Skip & B-Skip
A-skips (which you can see at 0:30 in the video above) build leg strength and a good knee lift and promote an efficient foot strike. You should be taking small skips, with one knee coming to waist height while the other leg stays as straight as possible. Make sure to land on your mid or forefoot and don’t forget to engage your arms! Both feet should touch the ground at roughly the same time. Do this for 30 to 50 meters.
B-skips are similar to A-skips, but instead of bringing the working leg to waist height, kick it out in front of you to waist height, or just below, during the skip. It should then come down to join your back leg and touch the ground at the same time.
Pronounced “ka-ree-o-ka”, this drill involves lots of twisting movements. This drill is about ground contact time and will give you a quicker turnover. You need to move laterally for this drill. Start by bringing your right foot over your left foot and move your hips to the left as you do so. Then rotate to the right as you bring your left foot over your right foot, while moving your right foot backward. This switching should be one fluid and constant movement – ensure you travel sideways! Make sure your torso is moving with your feet. When you bring your right foot over your left, you should rotate your torso left and bring your left arm across your body in a twisting motion. Move laterally for about 50 meters and then head in the opposite direction.
Now’s the time! Get to it and try out these drills! They don’t take much time and can really impact your running form and performance. High knees and butt kicks can be included in every running warm-up, but feel free to mix and match the others and create your own running drills workout. Your running form is sure to improve if you do these drills 2-3 times per week.