Running lighter and stronger:

  • by


Running drills improve our speed, efficiency, balance and coordination. Essentially they assist us in improving our technique and hence running economy.

We need to be prepared to practice the same drills over weeks and months to really perfect them..from here we then add complexity or speed the drill up.

Run drills are aligned with the four phases of running.

These four phases are:
A – Drive phase
B – Flight phase
C – Support phase and
D – Recovery phase.

With all run drills we need to ensure that we maintain a tall posture / high hips / chest up / head up and maintain a view towards the horizon. The arms should drive back and not come across the body.

Phase A – Drive phase – We aim to have our leg in contact with the ground in full extension at the hip knee and ankle – we call this – triple extension – the other leg will have all those joints hip, knee and ankle – positioned at 90 degrees. To improve the drive phase we should practice – “A steps/skips/runs” and fast feet.

Phase B – Flight phase – this is when both legs are off the ground – you’re in full flight – the foot that is about to come into contact with the ground should be pointing towards the shin ready ready to land with what we call an “active foot.” To improve the flight phase we should practice – “B steps, skips and runs.” All with a circular motion.

Phase C – landing/support phase – Our foot should ideally make contact with the ground as close to underneath our centre of mass and preferably with a mid-foot landing. To improve the landing phase we should practice – “ankling” (stepping over the ankle), stepping over the calf, stepping over the knee.

Phase D – Recovery phase – When the leg has driven down and back to move the body up and forward, it recovers underneath your centre of mass (underneath the backside). During this phase of running action we want our body levers to be short. This is achieved by closing the knee (a bent knee) and pulling our heel to butt – this creates a faster ‘pull through’ on to the flight phase and a more efficient run gait. To improve the recovery phase we should practice – fast feet with heel to butt, heel to butt every 3rd step, and heel to butt extending into a B run.

All drills should be combined with strides to help combine and sequence the new improved run motor patterns into your new improved running gait!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *