As runners, to increase our running pace we need to perform:
1. Speedwork session to increase our VO2Max, and activate and strengthen our fast twitch muscles.
2. Speed Drills sessions to increase our muscle endurance.
Why Should We Perform Speed Drills Training Sessions?
To increase our speed for longer distance runs- over 20K, Speed Drills sessions will help to increase our pace, speed and endurance. When running at a faster pace, we need to focus on the proper form, structure, muscle strength and body combination to avoid poor running form, which faster paces often lead to. To run over 20K on a poor form can lead to imbalances, which can cause injuries. To push our body beyond its limitations without the proper strength can lead to muscle issues, that’s why we also need hip and glutes strength exercises.
Benefits Of Speed Drills Sessions
Building leg strength
Improve foot strength and flexibility
Activate the glutes and psoas
Single leg strength exercises to address imbalances
Improve muscle efficiency
Activate type II/ fast twitch muscle fiber
Creating good form to connect to and train our brain
Performing some good Speed Drills exercises, will help improve not only our speed, but also the running form, avoid body imbalance, increase and activate our fast-twitch muscles strength, and train our brain with a proper running form. All the benefits are super essential for long distance runs. If we are dealing with muscle weakness or imbalance, and negative running form, running longer than 20K will cause muscle pain, joint pain and low energy level and our body will crash. Speed Drills create good strength, which will make our runs easier. The training options for Speed Drills are very flexible, these exercises can be done once a week or perform one of the exercises prior each run or add some of the exercises to our other strength training sessions. It can also be a good warm up before some Speedwork sessions.
Speed Drills Exercises for Runners
1. Single Leg Pistol Squat on a Bench
This is one of the first progressions to be able to do a pistol squat. Sitting on a bench, place one foot at 90 degrees and the other straight in front of you lightly on the ground. Your straight leg should bear as little weight as possible and as you progress remain off the floor. You’ll need to engage your quad, calf and core to stand up and then lower yourself back down with control.
2. Single Leg Step Up
Place one foot on a strong bench and engage your quad and glutes to pull yourself up on to the bench. Tap your opposite foot toe, then return it to the ground with control, you aren’t fully standing up on the top of the bench or pausing on the ground.
3. High Skips
Every type of skips are great for promoting speed. In this exercise, we are focusing on high forward skips. The goal is to get used to the feeling of our entire foot, ankle and calf working together to push off the ground with force.
4. Running Arms
The arms are so overlooked as part of our speed. For this exercise, hold a light weight of about 5kg in each hand, creating a stable base with core engaged and then running those arms. Keep them at 90 degrees and move them fast.
5. Forward and Lateral Foot Tap on Step
This is a practice that will help to quickly pick our foot up off the ground, and increase our mobility. We know that faster running isn’t about a longer stride, it’s about a quicker foot turn over, and shorter stride. This helps us to get used to hitting with our full foot and quickly retracting, which will help increase our cadence.
6. Resistance Band Sprints
This is a good exercise to do sprints without injuries. We have to practice the process of picking up our knees using and activating our abs and core, instead of trying to lengthen our stride. We know that over striding leads to injury and this is going to ingrain in our brain a different pattern.
With the band around your waist, perform good sprints. Another pattern is 1,2,3, and hold. Run hard for 3 steps and then on 4 hold the knee up for a second before repeating the process by ending with the other knee held high.
Perform 10-15 Reps Per Leg
Speed Drills Exercises Video:
Perform Speed Drills, Improve Muscular Endurance, Enjoy Long Runs!