1. UP YOUR UPPER BODY
Core strength is essential for good posture. An upright posture with a slight forward lean ensures efficient forward acceleration and reduces stress on the body.
DRILL Stand on the balls of your feet, just less than shoulder-width apart, and use your abdominal muscles to control your posture for 60 seconds while keeping your balance.
2. KNEE-SY DOES IT
Increase your knees’ range of motion during the swing phase. With your knee more bent, you can move faster with less effort.
DRILL Stand in your push-off position, with your left foot forward and your right foot back. Lift your right heel like you’re toeing off. From here perform a high knee lift. Replicate this in your runs for 10-15 seconds on each side.
3. DON’T CROSS THE LINE
Beware the crossover gait. If you imagine a line between your legs as you run, you need each foot to land either side of that line. If they cross it, you’ll be landing more on the outside of your foot, adding stress to your muscles and tendons.
DRILL Find a line on a track or football pitch, and run eight 100m reps, keeping your feet either side of the line.
4. POWER UP YOUR QUADS
The forces experienced as your foot hits the ground can be up to three times your bodyweight. Strong quads control the flexion and minimise the shock.
DRILL Squats. Keeping your arms at your sides, bend at the hips and knees to lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor, hold, then press back up. Perform three sets of 10 reps.
5. HAPPY LANDINGS
For optimum efficiency, avoid excessive flexion through your joints as you land. Pronounced flexion of the ankle, knee and hip reduces the impact shock but decreases your rebound. Minimising it can keep you
on the go, faster.
DRILL Cadence counts. During a run, count the number of right footstrikes achieved in 20 seconds. Aim for 30.
6. GET IN THE SWING
If your arms swing across your chest, this can translate to your legs and upset your form. An equal arm swing will help keep your legs straight.
DRILL Stick two labels on your running top, on the side of your ribcage two inches below your chest. Perform 50m warm-up sprints, drawing your shoulders back and swinging your upper arms forward and back to touch the labels.
7. GO FORWARDS
Focus on pushing forwards through your hips with each step. This will utilise your gluteal and hamstring muscles in the push-off and keep your centre of gravity consistently rolling forward.
DRILL Tyre sprints. Tie a tyre behind you, and using the resistance, lean forwards and perform six 60m sprints, fully extending your legs, with walk-back recoveries.
8. UP AND AWAY
Get the most from your push- off – from the point where your foot is flat on the ground to where your hip, knee and ankle are fully extended. Improving this will help you achieve a faster flight phase.
DRILL High hops. Perform six 50m reps high-hopping on alternate legs with a walk- back recovery. Ensure your leg is fully extended on take- off every time.