I have set aside Wednesday morning for running drill practice. When I did this I made a note on today's entry on my Training Peaks calendar to assess the usefulness of these drills. Today was my third time, and in the middle of my workout I had one of those "ah-ha" moments. Even though I only spend forty-five minutes to an hour at it once a week, in that time all running related muscle groups get worked at intensities much higher than if I were just out running. The purpose of these sessions is not endurance, but power and flexibility. Similar to running intervals, but different in the way each drill focuses on one aspect of the stride. Just the fact that "running" is set aside allows me to become aware of things I cannot concentrate on while running, and to move muscle groups in ways that are useful yet impossible while running. I am definitely going to continue these sessions.
In my opinion my worst drill is Marching, which is why for today's session I put it first. I can do the first version reasonably well, but the second one still eludes me. I am good for two or three steps, then I lose my balance and fall over. It would be much easier if the motion were continuous, as it is when running. The on-line videos I have found are continuous, just slow. In Bobby McGee's version, with each step you come to a complete stop while standing on one foot with the other knee lifted so that the thigh is parallel to the ground and the shin is relaxed and hanging straight down. My landing foot tends to wander left-right, a fact easily concealed during continuous running. In this drill, every step must be spot-on or the tree is felled. Perhaps my calves are not strong enough to do the heel lift correctly, as that is what introduces instability. I am making heel lifts a regular part of my walking around at work. No heel lifts, no coffee. Too bad I can't put a swimming pool between my desk and the bathroom.
Swimmers make it a habit to plan a workout set before they hit the water. I like doing that because I can correlate my Garmin Swim data with the activity. I ran my FR610 during this morning's workout, just to see the HR data. I do not expect to correlate anything, but I take the entire set of drills that I have and construct a set that focused on my weaknesses. Here was this morning's set:
WU one lap zone 1
High knee, STOP. follow through
High knee, STOP, pop onto ball of foot, follow through
Quick action, pop
Fast, small steps, “push down push down push down”
Almost not forward motion
Small, economic arm action
No power, move by springing on ball of feet, lean forward
Try to touch heel down at end, heel-toe-heel-toe
Half High Knees
Start like Fast Feet but slower cadence
Transition to lifting knees high
Avoid kicking to rear, focus on lifting in front
Finish with transition to strides
Walking Butt Flick
Knee back, kick butt with heel without bending forward
Leg Swings (hip flexors)
Free leg moves in exaggerated running motion. Emphasize back swing, do not bend over.
Kick forward, crunch over, touch toe with opposite fingertips
Start with bar stool dance
Bend forward slightly
Arms straight out, palms in
Turn at hips/pelvis, shoulders turn a bit too
Do not cross legs
FINISH one lap tempo/all out
I did the warm-up lap in 4:38 and the finish lap in 3:08. Neither was at a steady pace, starting slow and gradually speeding up. For the drill section my average HR was 119, so lots of recovery in there, and the max was 140. I am certain I did some drills at a much higher intensity, they were just not long enough to hit the red zone. Max HR on the finish lap was 153, right at my lactic threshold.