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How can I get faster at running the hurdles?


Running hurdles is a technically difficult event, requiring superior coordination and clean form.

If you're serious about running hurdles, consider reading "The Science of Hurdling and Speed" by former Canadian Olympic coach Brent McFarlane. Many coaches recommend this book.

Many runners find that they gain the most in speed by working on their form. Younger runners especially can be so focused on simply clearing the hurdle, that form is forgotten.

One drill that may help is to set a hurdle - at regulation height - against a wall and practice "lead and trail legs." This exercise helps build good hurdling form by removing the "distraction" of running.

Go at the wall with your lead leg as if you were approaching the hurdle at a run. Your toes should be cocked up and your lead knee slightly bent when you make contact with the wall. At the same time, rise up on the toes of the trailing foot. Your back should be only slightly bent, and your shoulders square.

As you're doing this drill, bring your lead arm (the one opposite your lead leg) up to shoulder height, and bend the elbow at about 90 degrees - it should appear almost as if you could be about to look at a watch on your wrist. Your trailing arm should be cocked at about 90 degrees, with the hand at about your hip.

Remember not to look down at your knee. When you're racing, you should be looking ahead to the next hurdle as your clearing each one. Hurdlers who look down at their knees as they clear each hurdle have to reorient themselves with each hurdle they clear.

This may be a bit difficult to follow in writing. If you can, have an experienced hurdler demonstrate this exercise for you - it's a common one.

This drill can also help you with your four-step, since it allows you to practice leading with either leg.

Beyond that, practice, practice, practice. Set up a couple of low hurdles at regulation distance from one another and work at four-stepping between them.



2/9/2007 5:36:34 AM
Edwin said:

good tips but i already know this stuff, thank you!

2/28/2007 3:30:57 PM
meghan said:

trying to do hurdles for Awty no experiance but this helps tons thanks

3/22/2007 4:26:22 PM
sarah said:

it was pretty good advice but it said the same thing that my coach did, so it didnt really help.

3/25/2007 4:23:18 PM
Js said:

ya i want to know about actualy hurdling not drills

7/15/2007 4:19:44 AM
barb said:

doesn't really help, i need more that will change my perfomance much more.

8/8/2008 11:48:40 PM
Hurdles for Life said:

I am a young hurdler who knows these things but thanks for the reminder on my arms. i have trouble with my balance after i go over a hurdle. Sometimes I trip for half a second and move foward. My goal this year is to beat the 80 meter hurdle record at my school (12.9 sec.) I was a second or so off last year. I've grown and I'm ready for the challenge this year. Thanks again!

12/4/2008 8:49:47 PM
dylan copella said:

you should work on getting a 3 step for a nice fast race, not a 4 step. a 3 step will insure your lead leg is always the same leg, this will prevent switching legs which makes your race smoother.

3/7/2009 12:30:51 PM
aly said:

good tips but thats just an exersice itde be better if you told about how to actually hurdle.

3/29/2009 10:43:04 PM
hector said:

good tips but u need to enfasize that it should be 3 steps in between each hurdle not four. and i recomend a book named the bible of hurdlers

4/17/2009 10:24:40 AM
whitney said:

this a really good tip to give out. but i've done them since i was in the 8th grade. and now i know alot bout them now. cuz my 8th grade year i didnt know anything bout them and then i got the hang of it. now im a junior and these tips can help alot. but i already knew the tip so thanks for the advice.

5/6/2009 3:21:37 AM
Mike Shine / 400 m silver medal 1976 Olympics said:

Form and tech are important but the race is won by those who sprint the fastest between the hurdles. form needs to be effective enough to put you back on the ground so you can sprint.

6/5/2009 10:43:04 PM
shay said:

i have never heard of a four step only a three step but everyone does this different

7/20/2009 1:50:39 PM
anton said:

this stuff really works because i use to run 18.08 and now i run a 13.47 in the 100 meter hurdles

8/29/2009 12:55:10 AM
senior hurdler said:

the first drills a good 1. i personaly do it. but i disagree with the 4 step drill because 4 steping is a hard habit to kid when you want to be faster u NEED to 3 step

6/20/2011 1:06:14 PM
Alastair said:

Cheers, doing it in sports day at our school. THANK U!


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