10 Intense Running Drills You Need to Try

running drills

When training for a triathlon, consistent workouts are key.

But, it pays to not do the same thing over and over.

You should increase your intensity and switch up your routine as a race date gets closer.

Not sure how to make this happen?

Here are 10 running drills to try incorporating into your training.

1. Accelerations

Accelerations are sprint workouts.

These are short distance sets focused on speed as well as form.

Each strike has a purpose – making you take note of your stride and pace.

A good accelerations workout to start with is 8 sets of 100-meter dashes. Over time, you can build this to 10 or 12 sets. You might even choose to amp up the distance up to 200 meters.

Anything over this length and you start to lose the power of a traditional sprint, though.

2. Track Work

Track work a step above accelerations when it comes to progressions in running drills.

It’s still a high-speed workout, but there is an active rest included.

This keeps your heart rate up throughout the drill. Over time, this can help increase your resting heart rate.

You’ll notice this turns into more endurance down the line, which will come in handy on race day.

For track work, take the accelerations drills and include a 100-meter jog in between.

This will look like 8-12 sets of 100 or 200-meter sprints, then a jog, then a sprint.

The workout continues from start to finish. If this is too much, add an extra jog or stop for a break at the half or at each third.

3. Fartlek

A fartlek has a similar concept to track work, but it focuses on time rather than distance.

Instead of setting up each drill based on meters, block out a small amount of time like 30 or 45 seconds. For example, plan to do 30 seconds of speed and 30 rest each set.

Go through these back-to-back as well, or take a break as needed like mentioned above.

4. Hill Repeats

If you’re looking for more of a challenge from running drills, add the slope of a hill.

All the workouts mentioned above can be turned into sets going up and down a hill.

This looks like intensity on the way up and active rest on the way down. You may end up doing fewer sets at a higher intensity, too.

Aim for somewhere between 6 to 10 sets on your first attempt at these.

Don’t go longer than 60 seconds on the way up, then jog down and start over. Capping your time on the uphill keeps this an intensity-focused workout and saves your energy to finish strong.

5. Diagonals

Another way to improve your run time for race day is to do diagonals.

Diagonals look like an ‘x’ on an open field.

Start on one corner and run to the opposite end at a high speed, but not sprinting. From there, jog to the other corner on the same side. Pick up speed again to run fast towards the other opposite corner.

Slow down to jog to the corner on the same side again, which should leave you where you started.

This is one diagonal.

Consider the length of your field before determining how many sets you’ll take on.

A soccer field is ideal. But, you can also use an open park or field if space and crowds allow.

6. Treadmill Intervals

Is the weather keeping you from doing running drills outside?

Don’t worry – treadmill intervals can keep you on top of your workout schedule.

Many treadmills are programmed with an interval program. These are the most similar indoor option to track work, fartleks, and even hill repeats.

Start by choosing the total amount of time or sets preferred.

Then, set the intensity of your resting set and working set.

For hill repeats, be sure to include the incline level.

Most treadmills will start with a low-intensity warm-up for a few minutes, then go right into the settings you’ve chosen.

7 & 8. Brick Workouts

No triathlon training plan is complete without brick workouts.

Bricking is the concept of combining two or all three disciplines of a triathlon. It gets your body used to the muscle stimulation to go from swimming to biking, or biking to running.

Without this training, you risk shocking your body as it works to transition exertion levels from one muscle group to another.

Here are two common ways to incorporate bricking:

Tempo Brick

A tempo brick is all about speed.

It starts with a set of 4 intervals on the bike, each for a 5k length. Bike at your race speed each time, taking a few minutes to break in between.

From there, transition into running as soon as you can.

You’ll then run one 5k at full race speed.

Track Brick

A track brick focuses on building endurance over time.

It gradually increases intensity throughout the workout, which you’ll find gets easier each time you do this.

Start with a 5-mile ride, leaving the last mile to work at full speed. Then, go right into just one mile of running. Stagger your efforts each quarter-mile, leaving the last for high speed.

Repeat this bike and ride set up for two or three times to get the full workout.

For either kind of brick training, be sure to leave more room than normal to warm-up and cool down.

9. Motion Drills

Speaking of warm-ups and cooling down, try doing motion drills before or after running drills.

Such workouts include high knees, butt kicks, and side steps.

Motion drills are a great way to fine-tune your muscles and make sure they’re as strong as possible. They also help establish a better form for your run, too.

10. Strength Training

One of the best running drills you can do has no running involved in the workout at all.

Still, strength training is key to building running endurance.

This happens with a progression of neuro efficiency and muscle power.

Combined with a higher anaerobic threshold, you can expect to see a noticeable difference from the weights to the track.

Gear Up for Your New Running Drills

Ready to grab your shoes and hit the track – or the gym?

Don’t forget to break in your triathlon gear as you train.

Come race day, you’ll need more than your lucky running shoes and a pair of sunglasses.

Here’s everything you need to wear during a triathlon.