Top 5 triathlon running drills to improve form
Yiannis Christodoulou, Level 2 running coach & GB athlete
Hi All this is my top 5 drills I give to my athletes when training for triathlon. Any questions feel free to contact me.
90 degrees arm drive
Arm drive is something that is very much neglected in athletes, as they think they have perfect running technique. A better arm drive will make you more efficient and quicker.
Looking at the picture below your arms should be at 90 degrees angle and when you run, your arm should come back next to your hip and the forward part of your elbow should be to your hip as you move your arm forward. You should check your arms when warming up and perform this on the warm up.
Lift your knees high
The importance of this drill is to improve running form and teaches your body to have a better technique.
You start by having a 90 degrees arm drive like when you are running, but walking with your knees up high. The high knees will help with the loading phase and the importance of getting this right is that it allows you to focus on driving the foot and springing back off the ground. See picture below.
I would say that you should do this before some of your runs for around 1 minute. You could put it into reps and repeat 3 times then go on to your session.
Running with Bike
We know you can run but the most difficult problem for triathletes is when they come off the bike into running; their legs don’t move and are like jelly. Your body needs to get used to this and one aspect of training the legs is to practice coming off the bike and into the run.
There are two ways I always recommend even if you are not doing a run session after the bike session. The first one is to get off the bike and to run with the bike for half a mile, just like you would in transition, then leave the bike at your place and jog for half a mile.
The second way is to come off the bike, leave it at home and run at 60% of your race pace for a mile. These two techniques are quite popular with triathletes in getting their legs used to running after the bike.
When running you are always moving forwards, so people think why run backwards. By running backwards you are using different muscles that you wouldn’t normally use and will help improve your stride length by moving quicker and being more efficient and also help in stopping shin splints. This also makes your glutes and hamstrings stronger.
So what should you do before you start your run? Stand tall with your core straight, push off with your forefoot to run backwards. The hamstrings and glutes will be working hard and lead the way. Do this for around 30 seconds, then take a recovery and repeat twice more.
Lunges while walking
Why lunges? Well lunges are important for balancing while running and provides flexibility. This should be done by lunging one leg forward like the picture below. I always recommend that runners do 20 of these before they start their main session.