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Group Running Drills: How Can They Help You?

Aaron Hewitt, OrthoCarolina Physician Assistant and marathoner coaches a weekly running group and is and advocate of training together. He incorporates sprint days, tempo days and long slow distance days into his team’s training plan to get race day ready.

A training plan along with a dedicated group is helpful to keep runners accountable and motivated for races.  Running with a group challenges normal tempo and pace, pushing runners to train differently. This can help runners reach goal times and increase mileage.

Hewitt adds interest to his running group by incorporating a few partner workouts to the routine. Below are three to try with your running group or partner. 

  • Running rabbit – For this exercise focus on run time instead of distance.  Choose one runner to start and be the rabbit who leads the pack. Have the rabbit run out front for the first 5 minutes. The rabbit then rotates to the back of the group while another runner goes up front to lead. Continue to rotate until a time goal is met. This exercise can be helpful for runners to step outside their comfort zone and lead a group.
  • Partner suicide drills - This exercise is similar to the suicide running drills you experienced in gym class, except this time with a partner.  Set up cones or markers at 25 meters and 50 meters.  One partner runs to the first cone, then back to their partner, to the next cone and back to their partner. After completing all cones, tag your partner in. Continue the drill 10 –15 times depending on fitness level or time goal.
  • Partner pulls – For this drill use elastic bands or towels. One partner puts the band or towel over their waist while the other partner holds it behind them. The front partner runs forward for 10 yards while the partner behind pulls back. Switch partners and continue the drill until fatigued.

Looking for a group running program? Join 26.BREW, a Charlotte Marathon training program that includes weekly training runs, access to running experts, beer, running swag and more. Register online.

Aaron Hewitt PA-C is a physician assistant with the Ortho Carolina Sports Medicine Center. He is a former assistant athletic trainer with the Minnesota Vikings (NFL), and is an orthopedic provider for UNC-Charlotte and Myers Park High School. He also is a physician assistant team lead for Sports Medicine, Spine, Hand & Pediatrics and a clinical and surgical preceptor for Physician Students.

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