Increase Speed and Efficiency With Running Form Drills

One of the easiest ways to get faster is improving your running form. Check out four effective drills for improving your sprint form.

Improving your running form will make you a more efficient distance runner. As a more efficient runner, you will be faster, use less energy with each stride and have a lower risk for injury.

Form drills are one of the best ways for distance runners to improve their running form. The drills focus on a particular aspect of the running motion performed repeatedly. They teach you to be comfortable with the movement, and they reinforce muscle memory.

Jumping Rope and Running in Place develop a soft forefoot strike, which is critical for increasing efficiency by minimizing impact on your stride. High Knees and Runner Skips take this to the next level by emphasizing a forefoot strike at high speed.

When performing these drills, relax your shoulders, use a short and compact arm motion, and keep your posture upright with a slight forward ankle tilt. Perform the drills three to five times per week.

Jump Rope

The rhythm and pattern of jumping rope is perfect for practicing forefoot landings. Start by jumping off both feet and concentrate on bouncing off your forefeet. Once you are comfortable with this movement, alternate jumping off one foot, then the other. Work up to three or more minutes of continuous jumping.

Sets/Duration: 1x2-3 minutes

Running In Place

This drill further reinforces a forefoot strike in a movement that more closely mirrors running. This isn't standard running in place, but rather a compact movement with a focus on ankle position and forefoot strike.

Stand on your right forefoot with your left foot in the air. Dorsiflex (flex foot to ankle) your left foot and lift it so it's slightly in front of your right ankle. Place your left forefoot on the ground and simultaneously lift your right foot in front of your left ankle. Continue in alternating fashion. Start slowly and gradually increase your cadence.

Sets/Duration: 2-3x30 seconds

High Knees

This is essentially the same as Running In Place, but with an emphasis on high knees with thighs parallel to the ground. Do not concentrate on bringing the knees up, as the name implies. Instead, use your core to raise a dorsiflexed foot in front of your support leg. Make sure to have a soft forefoot landing. Start slowly and gradually increase your cadence.

Sets/Duration: 2-3x30 seconds

Runner Skip

As the name suggests, this drill is a high-speed skip. Do not let your heel touch the ground throughout the drill. Focus on lifting a dorsiflexed foot in front of the support leg and using your core to prepare for a soft forefoot landing.

Sets/Distance: 2-3x20 meters

Learn more about improving your running form.

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