(This material has been written for members of Runner’s High) (www.runnershigh.in)
(General description and reason to do the drills are given here. We keep revising drills on an annual basis. This is a repository and does not necessarily reflect the current drills we are doing):
3-way calf stretches:
Description: Stand upright with feet hip-width apart. Calf to be raised with (a) toes pointed straight, (b) toes pointed outward at 45 degrees and (c) toes pointed inwards at 45 degrees. Raise in each direction 10 times. Raise the arms upward while raising the calf in each direction. Rest the calf on the ground momentarily before raising it again. This will help maintain balance.
Reason: This stretch is done to mobilize the achilles, calf and shin and increase their flexibility before a run workout. Arms are raised to give a higher stretch
Leg swings in both directions:
Description: Stand tall and raise your left leg sideways to its maximum range. Bring it down slowly. Now raise the right leg in the same way. It is controlled movement. Watch that you do not swing their legs. The torso and pelvis should not rotate. Movement is from the hip alone. Do this drill running forward as you raise the leg on each side. Do it all the way up and back to start point.
Reason: This drill increases mobility in the abductor/adductor muscles of the hips, thereby increasing the range of motion.
Description: Standing upright, you will begin by facing straight and moving sideways. Start by sliding your leading leg sideways and then following leg along the ground, while keeping your toes pointed straight. On the way back, face the same side so that you are leading with your other leg. Do this for a distance ranging between 20 – 50 meters.
Reason: The point of this drill is to work the ancillary muscles not used in running. By working these muscles you will keep your leg muscles balanced.
Description: Standing upright, begin by facing straight and moving sideways. Start by crossing your leading leg over the front of your following leg. Then step to the left with your following leg, so that you have taken two steps. The next time cross your leading leg behind your following leg. Then, step to the left with your left leg again. Repeat this motion until you cover 20 – 50 meters. On the way back, lead with your opposite leg. Your arms and upper body should rotate from your hips in the opposite direction from your moving leg. Keep your feet pointed straight and look straight when moving sideways. Don't turn your feet at the ankle.
Reason: The point of this drill is to loosen your hip flexors and increase mobility in that region. It also helps to balance the different muscles in the legs.
Description: Standing upright start by doing a slow march, pausing when the foot in the air is flexed flat (parallel to the ground) and the lift-off feet is on the ball of the feet. Alternate the pause during the march between left and right legs. The arm swing should be with elbows at 90 degrees and the opposite arm comes up for the leg in the air - e.g. left leg, right arm.
Reason: The point of this drill is to strengthen the calves and achilles with no pounding. This is crucial to limiting shin splints and tendonitis.
Short High Skips:
Description: All movements are similar to the slow march, except that here the cadence is higher as you move forward with short skips with focus on raising knees to a 90 degree angle to the ground. Entire movement is on the ball of your feet, like the slow march. Arm movements are also the same. Ensure that you do not take big steps forward but focus on lifting knees with short steps.
Reason: In addition to teaching proper biomechanics in the driving phase, this drill puts more load on the feet due to the impact of the skips. This increases the dynamic strength of the feet and the lower part of the legs
Description: Stand in the reverse direction . Start moving backward by first lifting the right leg up, then extending it backward as high and far as possible while keeping your spine erect and then bring the leg down. Repeat on the other leg. Keep moving backward in a constant motion. Note that the foot of the leg you are extending back should be pointing straight and not downwards.
Reason: This drill is great at isolating the glute muscle and activating it before the run workout. It also mobilizes the hamstrings.
Description: Move forward by using the legs in IN/ OUT movements. These should be small quick movements while you are moving forward. They are like jumping jack forward movements without usage of arms. After doing this to half-way point, start hopping forwards with both legs. These should also be quick small movements again.
Reason: Agility movements enhance quickness of feet and the reaction time to any change in movement. These movements help in improving cadence. Strides improve the stride length and improves efficiency of running
Description: You will run almost in place with your feet remaining “light on the ground” (only the ball of the foot touches the ground). The goal is to bring the knee of each leg to a vertical position or closer to your body on each lift.
Reason: The focus is upon having quick feet and trying to get in as many footsteps as possible on fast feet. This allows the body to adapt to faster foot strike which will gradually increase your overall running speed and efficiency.