With the spring race rush having died down, it’s time to focus on the fall race season. For me, this means getting back to speed work sessions and knocking out solid training blocks with the hope of successful races to finish off the year. As volume increases, I am trying to take measures to ensure I remain strong and injury-free.
Aside from the standard recommendations when increasing training volume, I have reached back to my cross-country days for something I have more or less neglected since: drills.
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Drills are easy to leave by the wayside because you need to add an extra component to your workout. When you need to consider a warm up, cool down as well as foam rolling and stretching, it can feel like an inconvenience. For my long runs or easy runs, I opt to leave the drills out but if I’m doing a quality workout with speed or hill work which requires higher effort and quick bursts of speed, I make sure I am adequately warmed up.
Following an easy warm up run, I launch into a series of run drills before hitting the track to work different ranges of motion and stimulate my central nervous system. Drills help to prevent injury and mimic the movements of running to encourage proper form.
So what are some of my favourite drills?
High knees – Maintain running form for upper body with eyes and head up and raise knees as high as possible. Keep your stride short and stay on your toes which works on warming up the lower body and explosive power for speed.
You can incorporate skips into this movement by skipping as high as possible while bringing your lifted knee toward your chest.
B skips – Maintain perfect running form in upper body and raise your knee to a 90 degree angle before extending the leg to a straight line. Remaining on the balls of your feet, pull the leg below your hips, ensuring to keep it straight. This movement works to increase flexibility in your hamstrings.
Butt kicks – Remaining on the balls of your feet and maintaining perfect run form, raise your heels to your back side as quickly as possible. This helps to improve explosive power and speed.