Have you got any running goals for this year? Have you entered into your first race? When you’re thinking about training then you need to consider some running drills to help you out.
Running drills are also great even if you haven’t entered into a race.
Building up a knowledge of exercises that are relevant to running is important. You may have stretched earlier on in the day, but static stretching can only do so much…
It’s best to get your head around the idea of dynamic stretches – “drills” that stretch your muscles using quick, repetitive movements.
Why Dynamic Stretches Are Important
So you’ve ditched static stretches – what now?
Dynamic stretches are important for runners to employ before they run primarily because of three things: body temperature increase, improved range of motion, and power enhancement.
When you move your muscles continuously your body temperature rises, resulting in an increase in temperature of your muscles.
In turn, they become more elastic.
This elasticity translates into an increase in the range of motion of your muscles, which translates to more power.
So then, what are some examples of stretches you can do before you break out six consecutive miles?
Five Important Running Drills
These five will surely enhance your next run; use them every time you hit the streets.
Yeah, that’s right – skips are a potent and easy way to warm up for your next run.
They put much less stress on your joints then a warm-up jog would.
They also put your limbs through a wide range of motion, engage your core, and improve coordination.
Try a few sets of skips before your next run.
More of a warm-up than a dynamic stretch, doing a few of these pre-run will do wonders for your legs.
Start in a position that’s similar to squatting.
Propel yourself from one of your legs as far as possible in one direction.
Try to land in the same position that you started in.
This warm-up/drill improves the strength and balance of your quadriceps muscles.
Hamstring extensions are excellent dynamic stretches for your legs before you run; your hamstrings are arguably some of the most important muscles in the legs when it comes to running.
If your hamstrings are tight, it could limit your flexibility which could prevent other muscles working as they should and so reducing your power. If you don’t have as much power, then you won’t be able to push yourself forwards as fast as you’d like (and we all want to beat our personal best!).
Perform this stretch while jogging.
Kick one leg up as high as possible, focusing on keeping it as straight and aligned with your body as you can.
Alternate legs for optimal effect.
You can do this stretch while walking or jogging.
Carioca is a lovely warmup that requires a little practice to perfect.
Start by standing in a straight position, with your feet shoulder length apart.
Keeping your feet flat on the ground, rotate your left leg in front and around your right leg then move your right leg so that your body is more or less in the same position it started in.
Overlap the same leg, but it behind your leg this time.
Ideally, you’ll want to perform both of these overlaps quick enough so that your body moves laterally (to the side) at a quick pace.
These dynamic stretches are a great way to give your quads an active warmup.
They increase your quadricep’s elasticity and are incredibly easy to perform.
While jogging, try and kick your butt with your heel.
Alternate feet and feel the stretch of your quads.
Try these running drills at the start of your next run. Over time, you’ll feel yourself getting more flexible and hopefully, improving your running technique and pace!