Let’s talk technique!
The last part in this series is all about understanding and executing more efficient running technique. Once someone has owned their flexibility, mobility, stability, strength, and coordination it’s about time to dial in our running form. To do this we are going to build off our jump rope skills from part 2 as well as include so new drills inspired from track & field coaching. Keep in mind the running technique we will be focusing on is for efficiency during sub maximal speed running. This means if you are trying to focus on sprinting mechanics there will be some extra things we need to discuss. For now use the following drills, tips, and techniques to make your regular running as smooth and clean as possible.
1.Split Stance Jump Rope & Single Leg Jump Rope
Just like with basic jump rope make sure that the heels of your feet are gently touching the ground each skip. Begin with split stance jump rope with one leg in front and one leg behind. As this gets comfortable you can progress to switching sides on each skip.
This will be progressed into single leg jump rope. Here aim to keep one leg up as high as possible while skipping. The leg that is up should be doing the following: heel of foot pulled into your butt, toes pulled up towards your knee, and knee as high as possible while still skipping smoothly on the standing leg. Feel free to start with your foot low off the ground and work your way up. From here start playing around with going from split stance switches, to single leg hops, to split stance, and have fun!
2. Pogos and Single Leg Pogos
Pogos can be tricky to explain over text so definitely check out the video links below for these! Think of pogos as a more explosive style of jump rope without the actual jump rope. Jump up into the air as high as possible and keep your legs straight once you leave the ground. As you’re in the air pull your toes up towards your shins and then land on the balls of your feet and let your heels gently touch the ground. Immediately jump back up and repeat for 5-20 repetitions. Single leg pogos are the same mechanics however you simply keep on foot of the ground the whole time.
3. A-Skips and Butt Kickers
Now we finally get ourselves traveling forward and actually integrate our running mechanics! Both of these drills are directly derived from classic track and field training. With A-Skips the primary focus is having as little contact time with the ground as possible. We want to pull our legs up as quickly as possible all the while still pulling our toes up to shins, heel towards butt, and knees up high all while simultaneously keeping a smooth skipping motion.
Butt kickers focus more on the recovery phases of running and working on maintaining a high stride rate. Do not focus on bringing your leg behind you as far as possible to kick your butt, but rather (see what I did there?) focus more on feeling your hamstrings working in order to get your heel as close to your butt as possible while skipping forwards. Try to look smoother than me…..shouldn’t be too hard to do.
All of these drills can be used as apart of a dynamic warm up prior to a running session. You could also replace a running session with a session focused on these drills for various interval times along with 20-40 yards of skipping/running in between sets. There are countless ways of programming these specific movements as well as an entire program that includes strength, mobility, flexibility, running, and focused recovery methods all together. Feel free to reach out to me or another coach to find whats right for you. Until next time, stay kinected with yourselves!