Adding ‘form drills’ en­gages mus­cles and in­creases your range of mo­tion

Runner's World (UK) - - VARIETY PACK -

build­ing up to eight to 10 bursts, two or three times per week.

Bare­foot strides

Tak­ing off your shoes to do strides on grass is a highly ef­fec­tive way of cue­ing new stride me­chan­ics, long pre­dat­ing the last decades’ min­i­mal­ist and bare­foot move­ments. Stud­ies, such as a 2014 in­ves­ti­ga­tion at Trin­ity Col­lege in Dublin, show that many peo­ple run dif­fer­ently shod and un­shod. Full-time un­shod run­ning is prac­ti­cal only for a few, but if the goal is to shake up how you run, there are few bet­ter ways than to take off your shoes. Coach Mark Cu­cuzzella rec­om­mends a steady pro­gres­sion, start­ing with soft, gen­tle, two-leg hops and grad­u­ally work­ing up to all-out sprints. 1 / Do 10 easy hops for­ward, then 10 back. Ad­vance to a short one-leg hop. Then, with a very light, low stride, gen­tly jog for 30-50 me­tres, not­ing how your foot lands and how your knees bend and hips move. In­crease your turnover to hit an easy, long-run pace. Try a 100m at 5K pace. If you’re com­fort­able, run a few strides, go­ing as fast as you can turn over with­out strain­ing. 2 / Even af­ter you’ve worked up to do­ing eight to 10 strides all out, con­tinue to do some bare­foot work at other paces to en­cour­age the neu­ro­mus­cu­lar re­cruit­ment in a bare­foot-run­ning pat­tern at those paces. As noted above, sprint­ing is great for shak­ing things up and ac­ti­vat­ing the full ar­ray of nerves and mus­cles, but most run­ners use a dif­fer­ent stride when sprint­ing than they do when run­ning long on the road – run­ners can go from a tall, light bare­foot sprint to a hunched, com­pro­mised dis­tance-run­ning stride with­out trans­lat­ing any of the move­ment pat­tern. 3 / When you re­turn to your shoes and socks, put them on while stand­ing up, which adds a sneaky el­e­ment of sin­gle-leg bal­anc­ing (the next drill) in a nat­u­ral way.

Lunge-bal­ance se­quence

Sin­gle-leg bal­ance, high knees, A-skips, bum kicks, car­i­o­cas, back­ward run­ning, for­ward lunges, back­ward lunges – the list of drills that will im­prove your run­ning form can get over­whelm­ing, leav­ing you prone to giv­ing up and do­ing noth­ing. Which is why – work­ing with phys­io­ther­a­pist Trent Nessler, nat­u­ral­run­ning ex­pert Cu­cuzzella, and ki­ne­si­ol­o­gist and coach Green – we de­vised a se­quence (be­low) that flows nat­u­rally from pose to pose, mak­ing it easy to re­mem­ber and quick to per­form. ‘This is es­pe­cially ef­fec­tive for those un­der time con­straints for their workout,’ says Green. It takes just five min­utes to com­plete 10 sets.

In those five min­utes, the se­quence re­in­forces sev­eral key el­e­ments of an ef­fi­cient stride, specif­i­cally hip and glute strength, hip and shoul­der flex­i­bil­ity, and dy­namic bal­ance. Move through the ex­er­cises smoothly and slowly be­fore and/or af­ter ev­ery run, or at other times dur­ing the day that suit you. Hold each po­si­tion for just one to two sec­onds.

Adapted from Your Best

Stride (Ro­dale) by Jonathan Bev­erly.

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