The only drill you ever need for running

mobility run form Apr 16, 2021
Innerunner founder, Lawrence van Lingen demonstrating the only drill

While you shouldn’t overthink things when you run, there are a few things you can do to run faster, smoother and more efficiently, with less risk of injury.

Here, I talk about a specific running drill – and I refer to it as the only drill you need to improve your form and minimise your chance of injury. It’s a simple move, yet it promises to:

  • Make you feel more centred when you run
  • Help you run faster and more efficiently with less effort
  • Ensure you’re more stable
  • Stop crossover gait
  • Teach your feet to be more agile
  • Get you out of the chair when you run, (i.e. it helps you stand up straight)
  • Dramatically improve your stride for distance.

In essence, this running drill will help you run with good technique every time you head out the door. It’s a winner!

What are running drills?

Running drills are simply skills exercises or a sequence of dynamic moves to help you achieve proper form when you run. The aim of a drill is to practice it often so that it becomes engrained in your muscle memory and you can just relax when you run, rather than overanalyse each breath, stride and movement.

When to practice running drills

This drill is excellent to practice as part of your pre-run warm-up, or every other day as part of your mobility exercise or stretch routine. 

How to practice the drill

I’ll say it again… this is the one drill that will help to correct your form and iron out all the mistakes you may be making when you run, (which could be causing a host of problems).

Try these steps:

  1. Start with feet shoulder-width apart and firmly on the ground.
  2. Push the ground down or visualize pushing the earth away from you on one side. You can also think of lengthening that leg as if you were pushing off a step.
  3. As you push down, your upper body should gently start to rotate towards the foot you’re pushing down. While doing this, stand really tall and think about making your spine long.
  4. Make sure you feel centred with 50/50 weight between your forefoot and rearfoot.
  5. Alternate between pressing the earth away with your right leg, then your left leg. Each time you want to feel your torso rotate away from the leg pressing the earth away.
  6. Once you’ve mastered pushing down with your feet and feeling your upper body rotate, start lifting your knees (opposite knees to 90 degrees as you would when you run).

Then once you have that counter rotation and knee movement right, it’s important to focus on keeping your hips supple and strong – you can’t master this drill on collapsed hips. Put your hands on your hips to stabilize yourself even more.

  1. As you lift your knees up, stop and stay relaxed and stable within that position, making sure you have 50/50 weight distribution between your heel and forefoot.

ALSO WATCH: My happy hips video series 1 and 2 to help you achieve hip and lower back stability and mobility.

Posture check: Avoid leaning forward as you don’t want to tighten your Achilles and plantar fascia ligament when you perform this move. 

  1. From there, take a small step forward so that you’re in a lunge position.
  2. Drop your back heel down onto the floor and ensure once again that you have a 50/50 weight distribution between your legs. (You want to feel comfortable, stable and relaxed)
  3. Repeat the move by lifting the knee on the other side. You want to achieve a nice counter-rotation with your shoulders and feel nice and stable.
  4. Take a step forward into the lunge position, drop your back heel and ensure your weight is evenly distributed once again.

WATCH me practice this drill here:

 New to running? Start the right way with proper form and technique by signing up to my Couch to 5K Beginner’s Journey  

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