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Five Run-Centric Drills for Injury Prevention

Updated: Jul 1, 2021

80% of your exercise if you are training for a marathon or are running consistently, should be running. The other 20% can be a mixture of sleep, nutrition, resistance training, and recovery methods. Knowing what drills or exercises to add on top of your running training can be a challenge. There is a lot of mixed information out there - lift heavy, don’t lift heavy, do whole body exercises, do plyometrics, etc. It can all be overwhelming when you are trying to nail down what is going to be the most beneficial and help you reach your goals.

Here are five, easy run-centric drills and exercises that can be incorporated into your running training. These drills are meant to be done with precision and a controlled pace throughout the whole exercise. Keep in mind that anytime you add drills or resistance training into your running program, the workouts should not impact your hard running workouts. Meaning, you shouldn't be so sore from a lifting session that you can’t hit your times during your running workouts.

Drill #1 - Marching

Use a metronome that is slow and rhythmic and slowly increases the speed. Make sure to keep your body as upright as possible, this will help translate to running form. To increase the difficulty of the exercise, place hands on your head, or march with an overhead reach.

Drill #2 - Step Ups

Try not to use too high of a step. Maintain an upright position, raise knee quickly and lower slowly. The goal of a step up is to use the leg you are stepping up with, try not to push off with your back foot.

Drill #3 - Toe Tap

Standing with one foot on a step, the other foot to the side, bend your knee and slightly bend your hips to bring your outside foot closer to the ground (it does not have to touch).

Drill #4 - Bridge

Lying on your back, start with knees bent and feet close to your glutes. Press through your feet and lift hips towards the ceiling. To increase the difficulty, move your feet further from your glutes and press through your heels as you lift and/or add in marching while holding the bridge position. Another progression would be to add sliders under your feet and slide feet away and then back towards your glutes as you hold the bridge position.

Drill #5 - Calf Raise

The gastroc and soleus account for 50% of the energy during running, so training them to get stronger is extremely beneficial for running performance and injury prevention. Incorporate both straight leg calf raises and knee bent calf raises to train both the gastroc and soleus muscles of the calf. Progress to single leg raises, bouncing, or jumping.

All of these drills are intended to help prevent injuries and make us more efficient runners. I recommend starting out with 2 or 3 sets of 15-20 reps for each one. Adjust as necessary for your fitness level. Make sure to concentrate on what muscle groups you are using and slow down the exercises.

If you have questions about training, nutrition or fitness, feel free to reach out via our contact form at

Happy Training!

Sierra Myers - Plateau Racing Running Coach

Sources: Bones, Tendons, Weights, & Whistles with DPT Chris Johnson

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