How good drills make me a better runner?

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We see numerous running drills on internet and social media, but do they really help you with your running? What is a good drill in general? And what is a good drill in running?

What is the purpose of a drill?

In any sport, the aim of a drill is to learn or refine a movement. A movement is the succession of an infinity of body positions(1). Some of those positions are key positions and the other ones are transitional. So, in all complex movements like ballet, dance, martial arts, the learning process goes through learning simple key body positions (pose) and what intention to have to go to the next.

Therefore, there are some prerequisites :

  • Having a clear understanding of what is the perfect movement i.e a standard. It is the movement that is the most effective, thus will maximize the end performance.
  • Being able to make the difference between the key Poses, and the transition ones. But also, what intention (action and mind) to have to go from a key pose to the next.

So, a good drill is the one that will help you to execute really well your key poses, and how to transition to the next ones. We should agree that is has no meaning to do a drill that is not part of the final movement, right?

How to define good drills in running?

Let us see how this applies to running.

  • One key pose : the running Pose
  • The intention : Falling
  • The action to transition to the next POSE : Pull

Good drills are the ones that will help you to :

  • Correct your Pose, and to be vertical, shoulders, hips, above your point of support (your ball of foot)
  • to fall forward without swinging actively, your airborne foot forward,
  • to pull your foot on time, in the right direction (under your hips)
  • help you work on a combination of some of the above

Bad drills are the ones that will:

  • Reinforce a bad key pose
  • Make you do a movement that you should avoid

If a drill is emphasizing pushing into the ground, “dragging” the floor underneath you, resisting gravity, then, you should avoid it…

How to make the best use of running drills?

First, everything is related, so you should work on the three key elements of running before your running session by doing good drills for each of them.

On top of this, we all have one key element that is less well executed than the others, this is where video analysis comes handy. It allows you to identify indeed which one of the key elements of running you should spend more time on, and do a little more good drills to address it!

Working on good drills is a simple way to considerably improve your technique and, consequently, your performance level by running better. And yes, it will also limit your risk of injury. Take the time to focus on it, and you won’t be disappointed!

References :

  1. Nicholas Romanov (2002). Pose Method of Running, pages 5,6.

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