Just like pro bike riders make changes to their positions early in the season, so the start of the off-season is the perfect time to make changes to your run form. Doing this now leaves you time to adapt at lower intensity, so that you can reap the benefits through the whole racing calendar.
In general, run drills aren’t performed as often as they should be, which is a shame as they can produce big benefits. In my squad, we do a set of drills, every session, all year round. This allows the athlete to focus on each aspect of their run form rather than the whole stride. It also corrects and improves muscle firing patterns and builds condition – especially when drills are performed dynamically.
All of the drills should be performed at an easy intensity. But some of the more dynamic drills can be performed at ‘moderate’ or even ‘vigorous’. Perform each drill at least three times over 20-40m, then increase both reps and distance to make a longer, harder session of quality technique work.
Stand and hold something solid, and perform some leg swings out to the side to open out hips. Follow this with some glute bridges or gorilla walks to activate the glutes before doing an easy 10min jog.
Improves range of motion and glute strength/activation. Take a big step forward into a lunge position, making sure your knee isn’t in front of your toe. Pause here to stretch the hip-flexor, then push through the floor with the glute, drive up and though into a lunge with the other leg.
Fast feet drill
Teaches you how to land with a soft, mid-forefoot action and conditions the calf muscles. Move forward slowly trying to tip-toe really fast while making the least amount of noise possible.
Develops high hips and glute contraction. Stand tall with good posture, bring knee up to 90° and feel glute on supporting leg work, now step forward and swap.
Focus on kicking a high heel for efficient recovery. Move forwards slowly kicking your heels up towards your bottom.
Helps you to pull the foot into the floor hard from the hip. Jog forward, keep your legs straight, stay on the balls of your feet.
Allows you to put the drill into practice over a short distance. Heel flicks into 50m acceleration run, focus on kicking heels up.
3 x 5 slow, single-leg calf raises, plus some light stretches