I’ve been out this weekend running in the snow. It’s quite good really, forces you to run with high knees, on the midfoot and with a high cadence so your feet hardly touch the floor. Bloody cold though, had to stop after my final toe stopped working. The beauty of running in the wintery north.
So with my marathon training starting tomorrow it’s time to start the warm ups and the drills to improve form.
Here’s what I’ll be doing and why:
High knees 1: It took me ages to master this. Standing on one leg, drop the lifted foot slowly to the floor and as soon as your foot hits the floor pull it up quick like you’ve stood on a pin. When you lift your foot keep it directly under your bum. Repeat 10 times on each leg.
It took me almost an hour to get this right. It’s all about using the floor for energy I think and getting your brain used to bringing your foot off the floor quickly so helping improve cadence. It’s a bit like the first drill on this video but you’re quicker off the floor http://youtu.be/XaYQwq6TnXY. This is a long video and covers some of the drills described below.
High knees 2: stand with your back against the wall and lift one leg up so your foot is directly below your bum, similar to above. Your standing leg’s knee should be over your big toe. Do this about 10 times each side slowly.
To make it harder when you lift the knee, reach the same arm as high as you can. You can also lift your standing leg’s foot so you’re on your toes. This helps if your hips are not well aligned.
Straight leg ankle jumps: Jump up and down on the spot with straight legs. I do this with a skipping rope but you don’t need to. This forces you to move more to your mid foot / forefoot when you’re running.
I hate these but they’re great for loosening up your hips and getting everything fired up for running. You get in the plank position with arms wide. Bring your right foot up so it goes outside of your right hand, the left stays straight. Repeat 10 times each side like you’re climbing a wall.
Wall climbers with a twist
This is evil. It’s the same as the above but when the right leg comes up, lift the right hand and twist your body to the right, so your arm is 180 degrees from the floor. Repeat 10 times on each side. Again this loosens everything up and really works the core. It’s similar to this http://youtu.be/5rC6V4_uI6U
This is really hard to describe and I can’t find a video. Standing against the wall, stretch your arms out ahead of you as much as you can, like your pushing something. At the same time contract your abs and breath out. Hold for 10 seconds. Do about 10 reps. If you have a partner push against their hands it’s a bit easier. This helps keep the core tight when you’re running so you don’t waste energy.
Hope the above makes sense. I won’t claim to do them all before a run but I always do the wall climbers and co contractions. I’ll do the high knees and skipping on a cross training day once a week. The other important thing to do to improve form is monitor your cadence. Download a running metronome so you can run in time with it, you can get them from the app store or Google play for free.