When is the best time to run drills?

Drills are a type of skill exercise – also known as technical work for runners. Accordingly, they should usually be done after a warm-up but before the bulk of the training session.

This type of logical sequencing ensures you get the most out of the workout (with the least injury risk).

Here’s a suggested order for most workouts:

  • Dynamic Warm-up
  • Easy running
  • Skill work (like drills)
  • Strides
  • Workout (hills, tempo, repetitions, etc)
  • Easy running
  • Strength work (like a medicine ball workout)

This sequence displays good programming. Just remember that not every session will include all of these training elements. In terms of frequency, most runners can do drills twice per week for best results. They’re best performed before faster workouts, races, and other challenging sessions.

Who should perform running drills?


They’re a great way for beginners to increase their athleticism, reinforce proper mechanics, and improve their form. They’re also beneficial for more advanced runners for the same reason. Just like running and strength exercises are recommended forms of exercise for nearly all people, form drills are recommended for nearly all runners.

The only types of runners that should be cautious with form drills are those who are coming back from a serious injury. The increased impact forces of drills (especially if you do them on asphalt or concrete) can predispose you to reinjure yourself.

Prioritize proper form and never complete any exercise that causes pain. After a few weeks, you’ll feel faster, more coordinated, and strong enough to potentially run a new personal best.


Where can I do form drills?

You can perform these drills almost anywhere there’s space. You’ll usually need about 50 meters of unobstructed space like a road, sidewalk, or field.

But there are a few places that are particularly recommended:

  1. The road before a hard workout or race (the hard surface can help increase muscle tension – and therefore, your performance)
  2. On an outdoor track – softer surface, no risk of tripping on something, and it’s more accepted to do these silly exercises there!
  3. On grass or synthetic turf field – best for injury-prone runners or those who want to do drills barefoot for increased strength gains in the feet and lower legs

How many running drills should I do?

It’s not necessary to do all seven of these form drills every time.  That would take another 20+ minutes – valuable time for most runners!

Instead, choose 3-4 drills and follow these guidelines:

  1. High knees
  2. Butt kicks
  3. One leg up/ Cycling
  4. Toe forwards
  5. Bounding

Most drills should be completed for 30-50m. Walk back to where you started before beginning the next drill. Perform 2-3 sets of each one before beginning the next exercise.