I'm training for the New York City Marathon. I do a long run on the weekends, hill training every other week and a faster-paced run 2x a week. While I feel good running, I don't really see much progress in my speed and I wonder if there are certain drills you can recommend that make me a stronger and faster runner.
Thanks for any tips you can provide,
There are many drills you can do to become faster, have a stronger and faster stride and at the same time avoid injury. Cross-training for any athlete is the best approach because the combination of workouts strengthen your hips, core and glutes - all at the core of great speed and running strength.
Give these 6 drills a go
and within no time
you should notice improvements
across the board
DONKEY KICKS | Lean against a wall or park bench and kick one of your legs up into the air. Hold it in a 90 degree angle and move in small kicks, engaging your glutes and hamstrings as much as possible. Aim for 30 reps on each side, keeping your hips parallel. Strengthening the glutes and hamstrings makes you a stronger uphill runner. If your glutes can do some of the work that your hamstrings typically do, you’ll delay the fatigue you would normally experience running uphill.
SQUAT JUMPS | Start in a squat position, jump up in the air while pushing your arms back behind you, and then land again in a squat. Squat jumps make your legs more powerful, strengthen your glutes, and help you run uphill faster. Aim for 20 in one set once warmed up in your run, then continue running. This not only increases your heart rate drastically and stimulates muscle growth and fat burning, but also makes you a much more powerful short-distance runner.
JUMPS | Use either a park bench or low-level platform. Start in a squat and then jump up with both feet together, landing in a squat. Start with a lower platform if you need to build up your confidence. Jumping builds leg power. This directly translates into stronger runs and less fatigue.
STAIR SPRINTS | Rocky had it right. Running up stairs pushes your heart-rate into the anaerobic zone for a brief period of time and pushes your lactic acid threshold, which is key in building up endurance without getting fatigued or legs that feel like cement. Pick a set of stairs with at least 15-20 stairs and leap up the stairs taking two at a time. Focus on pulling knees up towards chest and keeping the arms close to your body. Emulate a sprinter with efficient stride and arm movement.
STAIR JUMPS | Pick a set of stairs and jump up the stairs, taking either one stair or two at a time (with feet together) depending on your comfort level. Lift your entire body by using your arms and upper body as well. While this can be an intimidating exercise at first, you’ll get more and more comfortable with this exercise the more frequently you do it.
STAR JUMPS | Cheerleaders have this move down: Strong legs, strong core and the ability to move fast. Start in a squat. Then jump up in to the air, reaching arms up so your body forms a 5-point star. Land in a squat again. Repeat 10-20 times. This gets you comfortable at higher speed for longer. It also builds leg power and strong glutes, quads and hamstrings.
PUSH UPS | Stop at a wall or park bench or drop down to the floor and perform sets of 10 push ups during your run. Vary them by doing them narrow (hands together), push off the wall to create power, pulse them, go slow, go fast, etc. Push ups work your entire upper body without any equipment. A strong upper body can pull you through a race when your legs tire. Strong arms and shoulders can generate the power your legs lose in a long run.