How Turnover Drills Work

With turnover drills, you can improve your running one step at a time.
With turnover drills, you can improve your running one step at a time.

Running was vital to early man's survival, and, as the world became more civilized, the fleet of foot turned their efforts to footraces. Today, millions of people across the world lace up their running shoes and hit the streets, sidewalks or mountain paths for a variety of reasons. Some choose to run for weight loss; others for cardiovascular benefits. Still more just crave the mind-clearing of a good long run.

Runners who enjoy competition -- even if it's only with themselves -- will eventually decide they need to do something to increase their speeds. Speed is determined by stride rate and stride length. You can improve your stride length somewhat, but not a lot, and it's a risky proposition, because it's easy to injure yourself by overstriding. However, stride rate is simple to improve, and many running coaches recommend turnover drills, or cadence drills, to accomplish this. Stride rate and turnover are basically the same thing: the number of times your feet strike the ground per minute. The more steps you take, the faster you go, because you're staying lower to the ground. You spend more time running and less time in the air. Also, by improving your stride rate, you hit the ground more lightly with each step, lessening the impact on your legs and keeping your focus on speed. You can work turnover drills into any training session. All you need is level ground and a watch with a second hand to time yourself.

So sprint on over to the next page, where we'll look at what turnover drills are, how often you should train with them, and what kind of foot strike numbers you should expect to see.