Running Drills for Better Form, Speed, Explosiveness, and Efficiency. DO IT.

Oh, YOU KNOW what I am talking about. Don’t ignore me! We all say, yes, of course and 98% of you don’t do them. Don’t give me that look. Stop it. You need to start doing it. Yes, I am looking at YOU. If you need me to tell you why you HAVE to do them, well… I don’t have the time. Here is the how, deal? Just trust me and you’ll thank me in 3 weeks. You will. Actually, send me a gift, you’ll want to!


I know why you don’t do them. You don’t know when, where, how, it looks stooopid, all of it. So I’ll make it easy for you.

WHEN: Lots of people do these as a warm up,to get the muscles ready and set good form, and definitely before short races. I like to do them on my easy runs (and before short races too), because when you run easy, your form tends to deteriorate more, so the drills help keep you on your toes (ha, pun intended!) and fixate good form. I also like that I have more time and energy to take this as a workout itself. Just make a conscious decision to start doing these, and when, and stick with it. Start with twice a week. It won’t take more than 7 to 10 minutes. Painless.

WHERE: The track is ideal, otherwise find a stretch of straight road (that’s better than sinewy/dirt), and bonus points if there is a line on the floor, but not that necessary. If you can be away from the masses, that’s great too so you won’t feel very self-conscious (that WILL go away! Probably…). I do these in Central Park, either on the main road on Engineers Gate before heading home or in any of the side paths if I feel like drills mid-run. Luckily, the park is big, and I am sure there’s more people doing drills, somewhere hidden, but I seldom see one. Maybe once a week I spot one. lame. Find a stretch you like, 50 to 100 meters is enough, done.

Then, you need to know WHAT you’ll be doing.

Here are a few videos with examples of lots of them.

Lauren Fleshman showing: carioca – high knee – b skip – butt kick – quick feet – russian dance

Dathan Ritzenhein showing: forward/backward arm circles – side skip arm circles – the ninja – a skips – b skips – high knees – butt kicks – fast leg / but kick – fast leg / b skip – karaoke – side shuffle – cross over step

Another one, if you are vicious: high knees, cross overs, backward running, carioca

Quick Steps

Here are a few lists with drills too, some of the same, some with explanations…

1, list of Run Drills

2, another list of drills

3, and another list

Now HOW on earth do we do these?

Pick ten you think you can handle, to start. Practice them in your apartment in front of the video.

Write yourself a little list, with the names, and a little explanation, in case you forget. For example, I did:

Bounding (Running tall, extend the push off phase and bound)

Karaoke (Sideways cross overs)

High Knee (bend knee up, skip). Clap under it.

Butt kicks (bring it UNDER the leg)

Straight Leg run (scissors/russian dance)

B-skips (leg up bent, then stretch out/kick, and pull back)

A-Skips (hop with high bent legs)

Run backwards

Running with hands on your head

Those are the ones I picked in the beginning. I printed the list, put clear tape of all over it so it wouldn’t get messed up with the sweat, and every time I’d go on a run, I’d bring the little cheat sheet with me. Eventually, the list lost the “explanations” part, got a little longer with extra drills, and then, after a while, I didn’t need the list anymore Make sure you do them slowly and focus on the form. Eventually you can do these 3 or 4 times a week. It’ll get really easy and become a part of your  routine, like, for example, putting your shorts on. Trust me, you will start doing them without thinking and you won’t feel so weird. Promise you’ll go and thank me later?


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24 thoughts on “Running Drills for Better Form, Speed, Explosiveness, and Efficiency. DO IT.

  1. Shorts… that’s what I forgot today!

    You are dead on. Don’t know where or when to start. Don’t want to look stoopid in front of my neighbors. Or the guys building the house down the street.

    Thanks for helping me get started!


    • Just do it. you know what I think happens? We all feel like we’re not “athletic” enough to do these in public? Like only Olympians do these. Isn’t that it? That if people see us doing these, they’ll think WE think we are that good. you know, it makes me a better runner, period. And remember at some point we were embarrassed to go run in just a bra, or to sign up to a race, or to wear lighter shoes… All shame goes away eventually.


  2. i never do drills like this — i only do dynamic stretching, track, striders, and strategic strength moves for runners. how useful do you think they are? moreso than striders? are you recommending them mostly for form?


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  4. Thanks… I’m often pressed for time (gotta get up early to run before Hubby goes to work) but I think I can fit these in somewhere. Are they effective on their own if you don’t do them before or after a run, but in another part of the day?


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