Why should you do drills?
Drills are done to improve efficiency/reduce wasted movement. Cycling drills are easiest to do while on the trainer, but they can also be done on the road.
Pedal for 5 minutes at a cadence of 100-105, then 3 minutes at a cadence of 110-115, then 1 minute at 120+ – as fast as you can without bouncing on the seat. This drills improves your pedaling efficiency.
This drill can be done twice during a workout with about 3-5 minutes rest in between. The goal is to spin fast, not to push a big gear while spinning fast. Ideal cadence for most athletes while time trialing on flat ground is 85-95. Spin ups may also help your running.
One Leg Drills
Alternate your right leg and left leg while leaving the opposite leg off the pedal. Use your right leg for 30 seconds, then your left, for a total of three minutes. You can work up to 1 minute or more with each leg. Try to maintain a minimum cadence of 85.
Strides are like 100 meter sprints but you aren’t sprinting all out. If you are not doing these on the track or marked course, count 30 steps with your right foot. That will approximate 100 meters. The goal is to run fast (controlled) with good form and quick turnover. Think about having quick feet that don’t stay on the ground very long. Recover for 10-30 seconds between each stride. Strides should not be an all-out effort that leaves you exhausted.
These have a few benefits:
1 – During base training when most of your running is easy these activate your fast twitch muscles when they otherwise wouldn’t be used
3- You may find that it adds a little zip to your step. It will get you a little more on your toes for the rest of your running.
3 – It should improve your cadence. One of the many characteristics of faster runners is that they have a higher cadence (90 and above) and their foot spends less time touching the ground with each step. When doing these work on a quick turnover and keep everything moving forward (don’t swing arms side to side). Strides should be done twice per week during base period. They are also a great warmup tool before each quality run and before your races.
Periodically count your cadence on your runs. You will likely find that your cadence is below 90, but hopefully getting higher over time. Significant changes won’t be made in the short term, but over the longer term (1 year+) you will see an increase with practice. On some of your easier base period runs insert 5 or 10 minute segments with a cadence of 90. Don’t worry about your speed.