For all those runners in the UAE wondering how to make themselves better and more efficient at running while limiting discomfort associated with running check out these drills which have been prepared by Peter, a personal trainer based in Dubai.
Firstly take into account that these are efficiency drills and NOT speed drills aimed at making an inefficient runner (most of us) into an efficient runner and limiting the discomfort. First three drills can be performed on any run and the following three should be performed separately.
Drill 1: For this drill, focusing on one thing only – keeping the chest puffed out as far as possible, leading with the chest as if one was attempting to break the finish line tape. Doing this keeps the head up, spine erect, shoulders back, and prevents the feet from striking far out in front of the body, while still keeping enough forward lean to continue movement. What you want to keep away from is a sagging head and shoulders that creates tremendous upper body discomfort after an extended period of time. This is inefficient movement.
Drill 2: keep the arms nearly fixed against the body. Our aim is to keep the elbows at around 80-90 degrees. You should not be “punching” the air with your arms while running; the arms should move relatively little against the sides of the body. You may think this is difficult to keep up but remember this is not for speed its for efficiency. Just check out ultra-distance runners who are models of efficiency.
Drill 3: Targeting those heavy ground-pounding runners. Pounding the ground imparts tremendous strain on the feet, joints and body. The objective is to minimize this as much as possible when practicing your running in the UAE. Over-exaggerate your joints’ absorption of the impact and try to land as silently as possible – this encourages a mid-foot impact and prevents over striding.
Drill 4: This is the only drill that works on ‘speed’ but most important is that I want to encourage you to keep running and maintaining a jog after sprints and work on your strides. This conditions your body to different running paces and helps your body recover from hitting hills or uneven surfaces that would disturb your pace. A simple 100 meter run consisting of a slow jog, accelerating to a full run at the halfway mark (not sprint) then slowing to a slow jog. Then returning to the starting point at a jog.
Drill 5: The great sandal run method. This is not to advocate barefoot running, this is to advocate those Aussies able to run in sandals and Flip Flops. But for many other individuals these are highly instructive. Bring either an old ratty pair of running shoes or plain sandals to the track. If using shoes, please do NOT put your heel inside the shoe, wear them as a Dutch clog. Simply trot for 50 – 100 meters at a time while keeping the shoe on. Do not ‘jam’ the toe into the front, just take care to keep the shoe on at all times. To do this drill successfully, the runner will need to strike with their mid-foot, NOT over stride, and land carefully – all key elements of an efficient stride. If you feel like the movement is a bit of an overly delicate prance, this is a sign it is being done correctly!
Drill 6: For the last drill, any moderate hill will do. Begin this run about 50 meters from the base and approach at a constant moderate jog. As the hill begins attempt to double your speed and halve your stride. The objective is to maintain a constant ENERGY EXPENDITURE, and not be completely winded and out of energy at the top. This is useful for improving speed/turnover and highly instructive for many larger runners who often expend disproportionate amounts of their energy stores on even relatively minor climbs by taking large, loping steps which consume a great deal of energy.
I see too many runners that run, jog or even walk like they’re trying to kick a football which is mostly from extremely tight and limiting range of motion in their hips and lower back and a lack of straight tracking from the knees and ankles (Meaning your knees will be pointing out to the side instead of the direction you are running or walking)
Repeat, repeat and repeat and your run will improve and be more comfortable. If you are having trouble or are in discomfort seek the advice of a professional personal trainer in Dubai with running experience who can help. Running or moving should be comfortable NOT uncomfortable or painful but practice makes perfect!
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