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Even the Kenyans do Drills

By Jasper Blake

I recently read an article written by someone who spent some time at one of the hot beds for running in Kenya. I was happily surprised to read that the author noted the strong presence of drills in their daily training programs. Happy because I also make a habit of incorporating drills into my own training and let’s be honest, it’s always nice to hear that you are doing something similar to the Kenyans when it comes to running. And surprised because I suppose like many people I thought the basic elements of running technique may go by the wayside at such a high level.

Drills are an essential part of any sport. They take often complex movements and break them down into manageable chunks. They can also be used to elicit certain neuro-muscular responses in an athlete. Running drills are a great way to generate desired technical outcomes that may not be easily executed when actually running.

Some of the most common drills I use during workouts are the following:

Tall Hops
Reach your arms as high as you can above your head and hop on both feet (mid to forefoot landing). Forward motion is negligible. The primary goal of this drill is to promote a tall posture (the arms above head help this) and to promote mid to forefoot landing. Do this for ten seconds then immediately start into a 50m acceleration while maintaining the desired landing surface on your foot and the tall, proud posture.

The Lean
Standing in one spot balance on one leg while lifting the other foot off the ground towards your buttocks. Hamstring engagement is required to left the leg. Hands should be in a natural running position. Balance in this position with tall posture and allow your entire body to fall forward. Just as you reach the point of no return put down the raised foot and lift up the foot on the ground- balance here and repeat. This is a drill used frequently in the POSE method of running. The POSE method was developed by Dr. Nicholas Romanov and you can check out more on POSE here.

Arm Circles
While running swing both arms in a circular motion in front of your body (as if you were going to draw a giant circle on a chalk board in front of you with both hands). This drill is designed to generate stability through the core. Your arms are heavy and throwing them out of the normal vertical plane while still moving forward is a great way to force core activation. If you do not activate you will find it difficult to keep running forward. This drill is great for people who experience too much upper body movement while they are running. The effect should be to create some separation between upper body movements and the action of the legs.

There are literally dozens of examples of great drills that can be incorporated into your run training. They are a fun and effective way to make positive changes as well as simply warm up for a workout. Have fun!

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