Warm up running drills

Here is a selection of the most common running drills which would normally be done after your warm up and before your running session. They are important in helping avoid injury and improve running technique

There are many good reasons to include running drills including:

  • They encourage an efficient running technique
  • They dynamically stretch running muscles
  • They improve your co-ordination

Aim to mark a 30 metre flat, straight line to do the drill on. If on a pavement or road, please be aware of traffic

Please make sure you are in good health before commencing any of the running drills and report any injuries or niggles beforehand 

1. Walking lunges

Within your 30 metre area, walking lunges for 15 metres, walk the remaining 15 metres and walk back to the start. Take a few moments rest then repeat

2. Sumos

Within your 30 metre area, alternating sumo squats for 15 metres, walk to the end then walk back

3. Carioca

Within your 30 metre area, carioca with arms straight for 15 metres, jog the remaining 15 metres and jog back to the start. Take a few moments rest then repeat with the arm movement

4. Heel flicks

Within your 30 metre area, heel flicks for 30 metres then jog back to the start. Take a few moments rest then repeat

5. High knees

Within your 30 metre area, high knees with upright posture for 30 metres, then jog back to the start. Take a few moments rest then repeat

6. A skips – (skip with high knees)

Drive your knee up forcefully lifting you off the ground. Keep movements primarily in the sagittal plane. Keep your foot dorsiflexed, which means your toes drawn up towards your shin. This is a small skip since you land on the same foot and then switch.

7. Run with high knees

Similar to the “A” skips, but instead of skipping there is a quick transition from one foot to the other, just like running. Focus on breaking the vertical plane with your thigh each time.

8. B skips

This is just like the “A” skip, except after you drive the knee up, then extend the knee. Knee extension happens passively as you snap the leg back down with your glutes and hamstrings, pawing your foot to the ground.

9. Butt kicks

Traditional butt kicks are usually performed incorrectly, swinging the heel in a half circle towards the butt. Instead, draw the keep up in a straight line towards the bottom of the butt or top of the hamstrings. To do this, allow the knee to come forward, but not quite as high as the high knees drill.

10. Power skips

This has all of the same points as the “A” skips except you are going for more height. Momentum is created by driving the knee up and also forcefully pushing off the ground.

11. Bounding

Bounding is a higher intensity running drill designed to improve power and efficiency. Essentially bounding is just an exaggerated run with lots of vertical and horizontal displacement. Go for both height and distance with each stride. To keep from skipping, try jogging 5-10 yards before starting the drill. These can be performed on flat ground or uphill.

12. Strides

Strides are just controlled sprints. Gradually increase speed for 30-40 meters and then maintain high speed with good, controlled form for another 40-60 meters. The key is not to strain or sprint all out. Make it look easy.