News & Tips•June 12, 2021, 12:01 a.m. • 462
Why You Need Drills In Your Training
If you've ever been at a high school cross country meet, you've probably seen the full variety of ways of doing drills. From the mechanically sound and focused types to the lackadaisical, uncoordinated style, there is a full spectrum of styles and effort levels put into drills.
What most young runners often don't understand is that, while drills may not be the most thrilling aspect of training, they are one of the most foundational routines for building more resilient, mechanically sound runners. If you want to run faster, be able to kick at the end of a race, and stay healthy, you need to make sure you are taking the time to not only do your drills, but do them correctly. Here are some of the most important benefits of drills.
Build Neuromuscular Efficiency
Drills are an effective way for runners to build neuromuscular communication. If you see the word "neuromuscular" and your eyes start to glaze over like you're in high school biology class, just think "relationship between the brain and muscles." Basically, the more you practice proper form and movement with your drills, the more the proper pathways between the brain and muscles will be strengthened, and the faster you'll run!
Develop Proper Biomechanics
In order to maximize the efficiency of your stride so that you get the most power from each step and aren't putting unhealthy amounts of pressure on body parts that could lead to injury, it is imperative that you develop proper biomechanics. Drills can help increase your range of motion in stiff areas, activate important muscle groups before training, and build the fundamentals of a proper stride such as driving your knees and not over or under striding.
Something that gets overlooked by many runners and coaches is athleticism. Sure, distance runners doing cross country and track don't require the same kinds of lateral movements and explosiveness of a soccer or football player. However, it is still important to build athleticism in young runners as it will benefit their speed, injury prevention, and coordination in the long run. Drills such as A and B skips can build some foundational athleticism in runners by getting them on the balls of their feet moving quickly.
Drills are the Best Warm Up
Not only do drills provide neuromuscular and bio-mechanical benefits. They also serve as a great warm up for training. Many runner neglect to loosen up problematic areas such as their hip flexors and calves before heading out for a run, but doing so with the dynamic stretching and activation of drills can help prevent injury. Having your team do drills before every run kills two birds with one stone by getting everyones body loosened up for training while also promoting good form and building good running habits.