It should be every athlete’s goal to remain healthy and injury-free throughout their career. If you’re not healthy, then you can’t train, and if you can't train, then you won't improve your athletic performances. This is particularly important for runners, whose entire training regime and aerobic development can be halted by injury. Adding in a warmup routine of dynamic running drills is one way to ensure long-term athletic health.
Dynamic exercises will help increase your body's range of motion and improve your ability to reman stable through the running motion, as well as, prime your body to run fast. Here are two running drills you can incorporate into a dynamic warmup, beginning with invisible Hip Hurdles:
- Pretend you are standing next to two hurdles, one medium height and the other tall.
- First, step sideways over the medium hurdle with both feet. Make sure to keep your back straight and to step high enough that your thighs go above parallel.
- Next, step sideways underneath the tall hurdle, again with your back straight, but this time go below parallel. Make sure to sink into your squat rather than bending your back and neck in order to get underneath the hurdle.
Hip hurdles are designed to help you increase your hip mobility, and that is why your thighs must break parallel when you go over and under the hurdle. Only by breaking parallel will you go through the complete range of motion which will make your hips more flexible and open. The next running drill is called the Runner's Touch (or Runner Touch):
- Start by balancing on your left foot.
- Reach down with your right hand towards your plant foot, and at the same time squeeze your glutes so that your right leg goes back behind you as you bend forward.
- Be sure to keep your body in a straight line, from your foot through your leg and all the way up through your torso. You do this by keeping a strong lower back and squeezing your glutes.
- When you come back up, engage your glutes and drive your right leg into your next step, as if running in slow motion. You should be able to balance there with your right thigh parallel to the ground. Replicate on your opposite leg.
The Runner's Touch teaches you to stay balanced and strong through your running motion, plus it helps to increase hamstring flexibility with the foot touch. This, combined with the hip hurdles, are great additions to any dynamic warmup. To further enhance your range of motion you can add other running drills, like the Leg Swing, to your dynamic warmup. Every athlete is unique, that's why it's imperative to create a routine of dynamic running drills that will address your particular imbalances. Coaches with first hand running experience like, Coach Joanna, are excellent resources for developing these custom prescriptions.