Focus on Form Running Part 2 utilizes the body positions and postures learned in Part 1 and incorporating them into skill building drills to help improve overall running form and enhance performance. These drills are designed to build specific muscle strength, neuromuscular control, coordination, proprioception, and dynamic balance, all of which are functional components of running. The drills progress in degree of difficulty and skill level, so the early ones should be mastered before moving on to the later ones. Drills can be performed after warming up, mid-run, or at end of an easy run.
Perform this first set of drills 2 times per week, 2-4 repetitions x 20-30 seconds with 30 seconds rest each for several weeks before moving onto the second set of drills.
Crossed arms: Helps to decrease excessive upper body motion, correct over active arm swing and promote efficiency in the legs.
Butt Kickers: Promotes good knee bend during initiation of swing phase, minimal ground contact, mid-forefoot strike.
Carioca: Promotes stability and strength in supporting muscles of hips, knee, ankles.
Fast Feet: Promotes mid-forefoot strike, high cadence and quick turn over.
This second set of drills should be performed first on hard level ground (asphalt or concrete), progressing to grass for more proprioceptive and neuromuscular stability challenge. Do each drill with one leg performing the skill, while the other leg takes a “normal” step. Repeat with opposite leg performing skill. Then move on to both legs performing the skill. All of these drills are performed up on the toes. Master the first 2 before moving onto the others. Perform 2-4 x 20-40 yards each with 30 seconds rest.
Marching: Facilitates high knee drive, balance, coordination between arms and legs, hip strength. Key points: move slowly and with control, foot comes down about 12-16 inches in front of body, keep abdominals tight, chest up, pelvis stable. Remain on toes for all drills.
Marching with knee extension: All attributes of marching plus hamstring lengthening. Key points: same as above
Skipping: All attributes of marching plus power generation and strength in foot and ankle muscles. Key points: same as above, focus on driving knee up, maintaining arm swing.
Skipping with knee extension: All attributes of skipping above plus strengthening in hamstrings and gluts. Key points: same as above, focus on pulling foot down quickly to ground, like an animal paws the ground.
Running: Most like “real” running with similar neuromuscular patterns, ground reaction forces, cadence, coordination. Key points: same as above, focus on high knee lift, high heel lift.