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Speed Drills

Improve your sprint performance with speed training

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Updated May 18, 2014

woman running at the Place de la Concord, Paris
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Almost any sport can benefit from a combination of speed and endurance. Most athletes spend the bulk of their training time focused on endurance, but speed drills are a great way to kick your performance up a notch.

Sprint and speed training drills should be used only after a general level of fitness has been achieved. Your current fitness level should allow you to run steadily for 20-30 minutes at a time and you should have a 3 month base of consistent athletic activity prior to adding speed drills.

Speed drills, like this one, can be part of an interval training regimen, and should be performed no more than twice a week with at least two recovery days between workouts.

Sample Speed Training Drill

Start with a Thorough Warm Up
Jog 10 minutes at an easy slow pace followed by some simple range of motion stretches for your shoulders, hips, ankles, neck, trunk and head. Move slowly and breathe deeply.

Maintain Proper Form
Good form means maintaining proper posture while focusing on how you move not just how fast you move. To ensure proper form, you should not be fatigued when you start drills. Form is the first thing to suffer when you are tired. Drills should be done wearing trainers and not spikes.

  • Avoid bending forward at the waist
  • Push from the balls of your feet (not the toes)
  • Focused your vision to the end of the course
  • Keep smooth forward/backward arm swimgs (not across the body)
  • Hands pump from shoulder height to hips (men) and from chest height to hips (women)
  • Elbows at 90 degrees at all times
  • Maintain relaxed arms, shoulders, and hands
  • Avoid head bobbing or twisting
  • Keep momentum forward and not side to side.

20 Meter Drills
Perform the following drills 2-3 times each session.

  • High-step walking: (lifting knees up to hip level)
  • High-step jogging: (lifting knees up to hip level)
  • Skipping
  • Crossovers: (Jog sideways while crossing right leg over left leg, then left over right leg)
  • Heel kicks: (while jogging kick heels to buttocks with each step)
  • Ladder drills: one foot contact per square
  • Plyometrics: single leg hopping, bounding, bunny hops, tuck jumps, jumping obstacles.
30 Meter Drills
Perform the following drills 2-3 times each session.
  • Double leg hops (jump forward over cones or another marker)
  • Zig Zag hops (jump forward in a zig zag pattern)
  • One Leg lateral bounding (jump sideways one leg, then the other)

Speed Drills:

  • 5 reps / 10 meters /100 percent effort (full out from a 4 point start) walk back. Take a 5 minute rest break between each set.
  • 5 reps / 20 meters /100 percent effort (full out from a 3 point start).
  • 5 reps / 40 meters /100 percent effort (full out from a 3 point start).
  • 2-3 reps of flying 30 meter sprints at 100 percent for acceleration (built up over 20 meters and at max for 30 meters).

Cool Down
Jog for 10 minutes at a slow, steady pace and finish with gentle whole body stretching.

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