Speed Ladder – For Footstrike Control

How you land on your feet is important to a runner, even more so to a trail runner. The ground underneath your feet is uneven, full of obstacles and can move as you land on it! Sounds risky, just means you should be practising your footstrike pattern in the Lateral plane (sideways not just forwards) with emphasis on being light and balanced, so you’re ready for anything the trail throws at you.

Choosing where to step, by picking the flattest, straightest path on the trail will mean a more efficient run. However you can, instead deliberately bounce around unevenly like a mountain goat, choosing harder foot placement. Jump onto this rock, bound over that log, instead of going around or avoiding the obstacles. This will be less energy and strength efficient (talking about running economy) but very good for building stronger ankles and knees (well the muscles, ligaments and tendons which control ankles and knees), improving your proprioception, balance and coordination.

This example in the video can be tweaked into different patterns and you don’t actually need a speed ladder and hurdles, be creative, use your imagination. Here we’re mixing plyometrics with balance, moving fast – fast – slow/balance through the ladder, then springing/bounding over the hurdles/obstacles landing/absorbing your bodyweight.

You can specifically spend time doing this sort of drill for many repetitions as a workout or part of a workout, or you can throw it in the mix while running using whatever the trail provides. Either way you’re wanting to focus on deliberate foot placement, controlling your movements, not just plodding wherever.

Train hard, train smart
Ricey 🤟🏻 😃 💪🏻