Simple Drills To Help You Run Like A Pro In The UAE

Get some great tips and ideas on how to improve on your running technique and reduce injury. Peter, a Duabi PT sets out what you should and shouldn’t be doing.
Keeping Fit & Healthy In Abu Dhabi UAE

Run like a pro in the UAE with the help of these simple drills

Article Contributor: Admin

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 a professional personal trainer 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.

Table Of Contents

Running Drill 1: Chest Puffing Technique - Enhanced Approach

In this detailed drill, the core objective is to consciously amplify chest expansion and uphold a robust chest position throughout. The emphasis lies in puffing out your chest to its maximum extent, almost like a proud eagle spreading its wings. Visualize yourself as an athlete gracefully charging forward, with your chest cutting through the resistance of the air as if you’re heroically piercing through the finish line tape during a climactic race.

Key Points to Embrace:

  • Endeavor to keep the head elevated and maintain an upright spine, ensuring it’s akin to a string pulling you up from the crown of your head.

  • Shoulders should not just be pulled back but also down, away from the ears, creating a sensation of breadth and openness across the chest area.

  • Be vigilant about your feet placement; they must not strike excessively far out in front of your body, as this can interfere with your momentum.

  • It’s crucial to sustain a subtle forward lean, originating from the ankles and not the waist, to foster continuous and smooth movement.

Things to Reflect Upon:

Steer clear from allowing your head and shoulders to droop forward, as this can lead to unwelcome upper body strain or even chronic discomfort.
Recognize that inefficient running mechanics may stem from consistently poor posture, potentially evolving over time and impinging on your overall performance.

By dedicating time to practice and refine this technique regularly within the dynamic landscapes of the UAE, you can significantly enhance your running form and efficiency. Simultaneously, it will contribute to diminishing the possibility of experiencing discomfort or incurring injuries related to improper running posture. Adopt this practice, and watch your running prowess ascend to new heights.

Running Drill 2: Improving Arm Movement Efficiency

In this drill, the focus is on maintaining proper arm positioning to enhance running efficiency. By keeping the arms close to the body and at a specific angle, you can optimize your running form and conserve energy. The objective is to achieve a seamless synergy between your arm movements and your leg strides, which in turn can lead to improved running mechanics and prolonged endurance during long runs or races.

Key Points:

1. Keep the arms nearly fixed against the body with elbows at around 80-90 degrees. This precise angle is crucial as it helps in minimizing unnecessary air resistance and maintains a compact running silhouette.

2. Avoid excessive arm movement that resembles punching the air. Overly aggressive arm motions can lead to wasted energy and may even throw off your balance, which is counterproductive to efficient running.

3. Ensure that the arms move minimally against the sides of the body for optimal efficiency. Gentle and controlled arm swings aligned with the pace of your run facilitate a rhythm that complements your lower body movements.

Things to Consider:

Focus on maintaining a consistent arm position throughout your run. Consistency here will pay dividends as it helps in reducing fatigue and preserving energy over longer distances.

Practice proper arm swing technique during slower runs to build muscle memory. Utilizing your slow runs as practice sessions allows you to consciously work on perfecting your form without the pressure of speed.

Remember that efficiency, not speed, is the primary goal of this drill. Speed will naturally increase as you become more efficient, so patience and attention to technique should be your primary concern.

Look to ultra-distance runners as examples of how efficient arm movement contributes to endurance. Observing how seasoned runners manage their arm economy can provide insights into the subtleties of perfecting your own style.

By incorporating these guidelines into your running routine, you can improve your overall efficiency and performance. Improving your arm mechanics is not only about keeping them at the right angle but also synchronizing them with the rest of your body to achieve a harmonious and effective running form. This attention to detail, although seemingly small, can have a significant impact on your running economy and could be the difference between a good run and a great one.

Running Drill 3: Minimizing Impact on Heavy Ground-Pounding Runners

This drill is specifically designed for those runners who tend to exert a considerable amount of force onto the ground with each step they take. You know who you are – the thuds of your footsteps can be heard from quite a distance when you’re pounding away on the pavement. The kind of ground-pounding that sends shockwaves through your body, reverberating from your feet all the way up to your spine. It’s hard to ignore because the repercussions are not just audible but very often tangible in the form of post-run discomfort or even pain.

When we talk about pounding the ground, we’re referring to that heavy, forceful impact that occurs every time your foot lands while running. This type of running style tends to impart tremendous strain on the feet, including the arches and heels, as well as the joints – particularly the ankles, knees, and hips. Not to mention it can send jarring impacts up through the skeletal system, potentially affecting the entire body.

The primary objective here is to minimize this high-impact running style as much as possible, especially when you’re practicing your running in the UAE, where the terrain can be unforgiving and the heat adds an additional layer of stress to your body.

What you want to do is over-exaggerate your joints’ absorption of each impact. Think of it as trying to sneak up on someone with each step — land as silently as possible. Imagine that the ground is made of thin ice or that you’re running on a surface that would crumble under too much pressure. This visualization encourages a gentler approach to your foot strike.

By focusing on landing softly, you will naturally begin to shift towards a mid-foot impact versus a heel strike. The heel striking technique is often what contributes most significantly to the “pounding” effect, as it allows for more forceful contact with the ground. A mid-foot strike, in contrast, can lead to better distribution of forces across the foot, which can mitigate stress on the joints and align the body more effectively for the next stride.

Additionally, working on this will also help prevent over striding. Over striding happens when your foot lands well ahead of your center of gravity, which not only contributes to inefficiency but can also heighten impact stress. Endeavoring to land your feet directly under your body will aid in creating a more efficient and less impactful stride pattern.

This drill isn’t just about reducing noise; it’s about transforming your running mechanics for greater efficiency, resilience, and potentially improved performance. So, the next time you lace up and head out, keep these pointers in mind to work towards a smoother, quieter run that’s easier on your body.

Running Drill 4: Speed and Stride Conditioning

Begin with a 100-meter run, commencing at a comfortable pace that resembles a slow jog. As you proceed down the track, allow yourself to gradually gather speed until you hit the 50-meter mark. It’s here that you should incrementally transition to a more brisk pace, working up to a full run—but take care not to escalate all the way to a sprint. 

As you approach the conclusion of the 100 meters, it’s important to downshift your speed, returning to a jog before you reach the point where you started. To reap the most benefit in terms of boosting your speed, building endurance, and refining your running stride efficiency, make sure to repeat this run-jog sequence several times.

Key Points:

  • The objective of this drill is to concentrate efforts on accelerating your speed and extending your stride length which is key for improving overall performance.

  • It emphasizes the importance of sustaining a jogging pace post-sprints, an act that contributes significantly to enhancing endurance levels.

  • It serves as an excellent method for conditioning the body to adapt to various running rhythms, which is essential for any runner looking to improve.

  • This exercise is particularly beneficial for recovery purposes, especially after engaging in demanding activities such as running on hilly terrains or navigating uneven surfaces.

Things to Consider:

It’s crucial to pay attention to maintaining proper form and technique during both the acceleration and deceleration phases to ensure the effectiveness of the workout and minimize the risk of injury.

Increase the intensity of the sprint portion progressively over time; this will help in effectively challenging the body and improving speed steadily without causing undue strain.

Always include dynamic stretching exercises before initiating the drill so as to limber up the muscles and joints, substantially reducing the potential for sports-related injuries.

Proper hydration is also key; make certain to hydrate well both prior to starting and following the drill to aid in optimal performance and facilitate efficient recovery processes.

Keep a close watch on your heart rate throughout the exercise to gauge your exertion level. The idea is to push your limits sufficiently to gain benefits while ensuring that you do not venture into the realm of overexertion, which can be counterproductive.

Inspirational quote when body shouts stop - uae personal trainers
Inspirational quote - my goal is to become a better version of myself

Running Drill 5: The Great Sandal Run Method

The Great Sandal Run Method is not about advocating barefoot running, but rather about exploring the unique experience of running in sandals and flip flops, particularly for those who are accustomed to it like Aussies.

For many individuals, this drill can be highly instructive. To begin, bring either an old, worn-out pair of running shoes or a simple pair of sandals to the track.

If using shoes, it’s important to wear them differently than usual – do not put your heel inside the shoe, but wear them more like a Dutch clog. Trot for short distances of 50-100 meters at a time while ensuring the shoe stays on your foot. Avoid jamming your toes into the front of the shoe; instead, focus on keeping the shoe securely in place.

To successfully execute this drill, the runner must focus on striking with their mid-foot, avoiding over-striding, and landing gently – all essential components of an efficient stride.

If you find that the movement feels like a delicate prance, it’s actually a sign that you’re performing the drill correctly!

Remember, practicing under the guidance of a personal trainer with experience in running, such as one based in Dubai, can provide valuable insights and help you refine your technique further.

Key Points:

1. The Great Sandal Run Method is not about barefoot running but exploring running in sandals.

2. Focus on maintaining the shoe/sandal on your foot without jamming your toes.

3. Emphasize mid-foot striking, avoiding over-striding, and landing gently for an efficient stride.

4. Feeling like a delicate prance indicates correct execution of the drill.

5. Consider seeking guidance from a personal trainer in Dubai or Abu Dhabi who is experienced in running for additional support and improvement.

Running Drill 6: Intensified Hill Sprints

For our final exercise in this series, we’re going to tackle a routine that combines hill work with controlled pacing. Start your search for any moderately inclined hill; it doesn’t need to be particularly steep or long, just something to offer resistance. Position yourself approximately 50 meters away from the base of your chosen hill, preparing for what’s next.

Commence your activity at a steady, moderate jog. The aim is not to sprint out of the gate but to approach the hill gradually. As soon as your feet make contact with the incline, it’s time to switch gears—literally and figuratively. Aim to amplify your speed; envision you are hitting the fast-forward button on your movement while simultaneously reducing your stride by half.

This balancing act—quickening your pace while shortening your steps—is designed to keep your ENERGY EXPENDITURE level. The goal is not simply to conquer the hill, but to do so without depleting your reserves, leaving you gasping for air or struggling for energy at the summit.

Mastering this drill offers key benefits, such as enhancing your speed and foot turnover. It’s an excellent tool, especially for those runners with a more robust build who may find themselves disproportionately investing their energy during ascents. These runners often adopt expansive, bounding strides which, while impressive in appearance, are remarkably taxing on their energy stores.

But there’s more to it than mere energy conservation. This drill also serves as a lesson in biomechanics. Too often, I observe runners who move as if they’re perpetually in the motion of kicking a football—a habit attributed to an excessively tight range of motion in their hips and lower back. 

Moreover, this running style could indicate a lack of straight tracking through the knees and ankles. Ideally, your knees should align with the direction of your travel, pointing straight ahead rather than splaying outwards. By practicing controlled hill sprints, you can develop a more efficient and energy-saving running form that directly translates to improved performance on flat terrain as well.

In Summary.....

Persistence is the key to any successful fitness journey. Repeat, repeat and repeat; it’s a mantra that can’t be overstressed when it comes to improving your running abilities. Just like any other skill, running requires dedication, consistency, and time. By continually practicing, you’re teaching your body to adapt, increasing your endurance, and refining your technique for better performance.

If on your quest for improvement, you encounter challenges or discomfort, don’t hesitate to seek professional guidance. Consulting a knowledgeable personal trainer in Dubai, someone who has specific running experience, can make a significant difference. These experts can provide tailored advice, corrective exercises, and motivational support to help you overcome obstacles.

Remember, running, jogging, or any form of movement should bring joy and comfort into your life—not pain or discomfort. It’s common to experience some difficulties when you’re starting out or trying to push past your current limits. However, rather than pushing through pain, take it as a sign that something needs attention.

The path to a flawless run is paved with patience and practice, so don’t rush the process. Take the time to listen to your body and address any issues as they arise. With commitment and the right support, you’ll find that each stride becomes easier and more enjoyable. After all, practice doesn’t just make perfect—it makes permanent! So lace up your shoes, hit the pavement, and remember that every step you take is a step towards a more comfortable and rewarding running experience.

Find the best male or female personal trainer in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman or RAK to help you with running for fun, sport or competition

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