Coached’s Ben Pulham: Technical running drills can help to improve athletic performance 

Coach Ben Pulham, founder of boutique fitness company Coached, organised a Technical Run session for Coached members last Thursday evening, at the Kallang Practice Track.

A Technical Run session normally comprises of drills such as arm circles, butt kicks, striding and high knee lifts.

This photo was taken at an earlier Coached Technical Run session. Such sessions are held regularly by Ben for his Coached members.

This photo was taken at an earlier Coached Technical Run session. Such sessions are held regularly by Ben for his Coached members.

IMPROVE MUSCLE COORDINATION, SPEED AND AGILITY

Said Ben, “These technical running sessions have benefits such as improving muscle coordination, speed, strength and stability. When done in conjunction with strength training and other aspects of the Coached programme, it will make you into a more efficient runner.”

The drills are generally done in conjunction with accelerations during Coached Technical Run sessions, Accelerations generally comprise of an easy jog which builds gradually to a relaxed hard effort and are typically about 20 – 40 seconds each.

The coach added, “These accelerations that we do, are good for leg strength and are good in the days leading up to a race. They are not hard to do, but they get the blood flowing quick and they make you feel good. Athletes generally do accelerations as a warm up for a harder session or for part of their pre race routines.”

According to Ben (left) Technical Run sessions improve a runner's muscle coordination, speed, strength and stability.

According to Ben (left) Technical Run sessions improve a runner’s muscle coordination, speed, strength and stability.

The Coached Technical Run session had been kick-started with a 10 – 20 minute warm up run around the track – to warm up the body and get the heart pumping. These were followed with a series of drills – which are done over a short distance, such as 25 metres each. The short distance is to prevent the loss of form and to ingrain the techniques into the muscle memory.

RUNNING DRILLS ESSENTIALLY AMPLIFY FLAWS

Explained Ben, “The running drills that we do at Coached, are essentially exaggerations and amplify flaws in running. Like when you run, you may not look uncoordinated but when you do the drills, you might be – if you are, there is something wrong with your running form. The same applies for your stride length and frequency.”

Ben pointed out too, that such running drills are commonly practised amongst elite runners such as British athlete Mo Farah. He said, “If the fastest and best athletes are doing them, it speaks to the benefits of doing these drills.”

Ben says that running drills essentially amplify flaws in your running.

Ben says that running drills essentially amplify flaws in your running.

He continued, “All runners of all ability can actually benefit from these drills, but if you are uncoordinated then it should really work for you.”

HELPS TO PROMOTE STRENGTH AND EFFICIENCY

The coach added too, that many runners in Singapore lack strength, due to the flat nature of the running paths in the country.

He said “Singapore is so flat, so runners who are based here tend to be severely lacking in strength. So doing these drills help to promote strength and efficiency. For example high knees and bounding can promote core stability and planks, sit-ups and strength sets such as squats and walking lunges, will also help runners.”

However many runners, according to Ben, generally do not see the need to do such drills. Explained the coach, “It is also a lack of awareness thing. Drills are not a typical thing to do. When runners think about going training, they go out for a run – that is the most common thing to do.”

Most runners simply go out for a run when they train. Drills are not the common thing to do, says Ben.

Most runners simply go out for a run when they train. Drills are not the common thing to do, says Ben.

Ben continued, “Most runners have no purpose. They just run, for whatever reason. But our guys at Coached set a goal and unlike most runners in Singapore, they have a plan in place and stick to it.”

RUNNING DRILLS ARE USED IN THE EARLY STAGES OF A COACHED PLAN

For athletes who choose to follow the Coached programme, these technical drills are generally incorporated at the early stages of the training plan.

Explained Ben, “The goal is to work on your technical stuff when the volume and the intensity is low. If you are trying to do drills when you are tired from the volume of running, the odds are that you will not perform well. So it is a good time early in the programme to do these – when everything is still easy – to start making positive changes and learning new running habits.”

He added, “After all, you cannot simply do running and expect to run a fast marathon. That will not work. Obviously you do need to have the mileage, but you also need to build aerobic base and running drills help to supplement your running training.”

You cannot simply do running and expect to run a fast race, says Ben.

You cannot simply do running and expect to run a fast race, says Ben.

USE YOUR CHIN AS AN ANCHOR WHEN DOING THE DRILLS

Joining Ben’s Technical Run sessions is a way to know whether you have been doing the drills correctly.

Said Ben, “And apart from coming to Coached sessions, a general rule is to use your chin as an anchor – if the chin is parallel to the ground and your hips are not slouching, then you are probably doing the drills correctly.”

He added “A good way to learn is to video tape yourself. You may think that your form is ok but when you are watching yourself on video, you realise that it is not. Video tape yourself again and again till you can see that you are doing it correctly. This is a great way to relearn bad habits in general.”

Adequate rest is just as important as running says Ben (centre).

Adequate rest is just as important as running says Ben (centre).

ADEQUATE REST IS IMPORTANT FOR RUNNERS TOO

Besides training, Ben also pointed out that adequate rest is also important in helping you to get stronger as a runner. He says, “You only improve when you stress your body and then give it enough time to get better. If for example, you stress yourself in training and again at work, then you will be really worn down.”

He added, “many runners in Singapore work too hard and they are not recovering from their training despite their best intentions. If you do not recover properly you will never improve. Hard sessions such as the typical interval training runs, contribute to more stress.”

HOW TO JOIN COACHED

If you are interested to join Coached, PrisChew.com readers can get a discount.

Just key in the discount code pris and you will get 20 per cent off your membership fees for the first three months.

To find out more about Coached, check out their website at http://www.coached.fitness 

Sessions such as last Thursday's Technical Run, above, are free for Coached members.

Sessions such as last Thursday’s Technical Run, above, are free for Coached members.

SESSIONS ARE FREE FOR COACHED MEMBERS

Ben’s sessions such as the Coached Technical Run are free for Coached members, but non members can also attend at a rate of $30 per session.

These are generally conducted in the evenings at the Kallang Practice Track on a regular basis.

Follow the “Coached Sessions” Facebook Page for more information about upcoming Coached sessions. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1567085153581539/

Other blog posts on Coached

Coached Strength Run

Coached MAF Test

What is Coached?

Run and Train with Coached

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