Many of you must be equating a hurdles race with normal racing events only with obstacles. While it’s imperative to know the sprinting basics, you need to evolve more over them for learning how to run hurdles. Running faster to the maximum possible limit is a very basic demand of any athletic sport.
Now the hurdles are even more challenging since it involves breaking the momentum for crossing the hurdles, acquire a different technique without losing the speed, and get back to the track. Repeating this till you reach the end line, doesn’t it sound very difficult? Well, we aim to make it easier for you by telling you all about the fundamentals of this sport along with a guide on hurdles training.
- 1 Defining hurdle race
- 2 History
- 3 Rules of hurdle racing
- 4 Phases in a hurdle race
- 5 Techniques for 110 m male
- 6 Safety measures to follow before starting
- 7 Speed boosting drills
- 8 Stride drill
- 9 Drills for a better start approach
- 10 Drills for how to run hurdles
- 11 Drills for leg technique
- 12 Final words
Defining hurdle race
Also known by the name Obstacle race, this athletic sport happens on a racetrack which includes several hurdles or obstacles. These are kept at a set distance from each other and the athletes have to jump over them without getting into contact with them. This competition has speed as a basic element required to achieve the finishing goal.
How to hurdle requires the sprinter athlete to have the technical skillset that is able to-
- Produce maximum muscle power
- Integration of maximum forward running speed with technical grace to overcome the obstacles
The nature of the race is considered very similar to that of sprinting where both of them involve almost similar techniques driven by explosive power.
Hurdling has been an ancient sport that was given a more modern outlook when it got a place into the category of the Olympic Games in 1896. Prior to that, the first instance of the emergence of the concept was that in 1850 when Oxford University organized a race event with 10 hurdles to overcome. This activity was then standardized by France in 1888 when they held a race with certain rules and distance fixation to 110m.
The first 110m hurdle race of men was first held then in 1896. After that, in 1972, the 100m women’s hurdle race happened in the Munich Olympic Games. The women’s category also saw the incorporation of the 400m hurdle race later in the Los Angeles Olympics of 1984.
Rules of hurdle racing
Let us tell you some fundamental regulations:
- It has varying obstacle distance as per the sex, race, and athlete’s age-
Men: 110m and 400m; 9.14m and 35m hurdle gap respectively
Women: 100m and 400m; 8.5m and 35m hurdle gap respectively
Phases in a hurdle race
There are several phases that the race must be broken into to help the ‘how to run hurdles’ training get better as every section requires specialized training and drills.
Techniques for 110 m male
The 110m hurdle race is one of the most prominent categories in the sport and we think that we could help you with some general tips to develop better techniques for this racing.
Calculating the stride pattern-
Deciding the number of strides be taken between two hurdles can vary with every hurdler. Generally, 7-8 strides are made by the hurdlers between two obstacles. After the first one, the usual number of three strides is taken between all the hurdles that come next.
Overcoming the hurdle-
You must approach the hurdle quickly and take off the body when nearly 2m away from it. Bring up the leading leg and stretch your knee once you are at the top of the hurdle. The knee and the torso should be in vertical alignment.
After the rail is passed, pull the front leg down and keep it straight while descending down. Ideally, you can land at around 1.2m from the obstacle.
The trailing leg is supposed to give the push and thrust to the body as it reaches the hurdle. The knee must stay in the rising movement and controlled better.
Let us also tell you certain drills to improve the 110m hurdles training:
Safety measures to follow before starting
There are some basic measures that are very important to undertake in order to give a planned and good start to the hurdles training. In the beginning, you cannot deny the benefits of a good warm-up. Follow a nice stretching routine before every practice and this will improve your activeness and flexibility.
The runners must practice repetitions to learn to avoid the instinct of run-jump-run. The barriers are another thing to adjust and practice with suitable heights. Lower fences will be good for young learners and you can also try the adjustable ones that are portable, light weighted and fall upon striking; a good example being the Banana steps.
Speed boosting drills
We all know how much is speed important for hurdle race and some speed drills help you to know how to hurdle run faster. Before that, let us give you certain tips:
Now let’s see some speed boosting drills. We are going to do them with mini hurdles.
Watch this video.
You must practice good striding pattern to move faster and with required grace. You can try this drill-
- Set 6-10 cones in a line.
- Do an unhindered sprint of 7 strides till the first cone and then 3 strides between each cone.
Drills for a better start approach
Usually, the athletes take eight steps for the first hurdle and the key element for continuing this is that the athletes train to achieve the upright position. These movements are based on the two mechanics that are full throw on the ground and the leg recovery. A good principle would be to follow the sprint mechanics for how to run hurdles and let us tell you some drills to make you better at it.
Standing long jump series
Start at the edge of the pit and do a long jump. In the next drill, do this with keeping the feet away and at the land. Do the astride drill with landing on astride feet. Add a run lastly.
Put any sports implement over the head and bring it down between the knees while bending with waist. Throw it in front and extend the arms. Follow the implement by running to it and then do the same drill with split feet.
Drills for how to run hurdles
The two things that make the prime difference when the hurdles section arrives are approach and clearance of the first hurdle itself. The hurdle height difference between men and women events requires differential training. Reacceleration is another common key factor and a good takeoff proves helpful by setting the continuance position for the athlete.
Here, we are talking about the hurdle workouts which will seem similar to sprinting. You may try dedicating a full day to workouts aiming at hurdle acceleration. It will involve practicing power application to the starts and repetition over 1-4 obstacles.
Another day will aim at practicing hurdle rhythm for endurance-boosting. Start with 3 and go as much as 8 hurdles. Your aim would be to discount the hurdle height and distances. The key element in these workouts is to increase the pace and speed of the race.
Taking these three elements, let us suggest some drills for them.
Discounting the hurdle heights and distances
Height- Start with the normal height and practice with 36-39” mostly. Hurdling has to be put to challenge.
Distance- The basic idea here is to practice at varying distances and ranges. You can use any distance that you are comfortable with and just keep it lower than the standard rate. This will help you to run more aggressively in between the hurdles.
Accelerating the hurdles
You must practice popping over the obstacles like they are jogging before starting with the acceleration workouts. This involves jogging till takeoff, 2-3 aggressive steps over the hurdle, and then a slow down post-landing. Now see some sample workouts-
Try 4-6 x 2 hurdles
2x2, 2x3, and 2x4 hurdles
Try variation running between different hurdle sets
Let us also give you some general drills for improving and advancing how to do hurdles.
Watch this video for hurdles tips for beginners.
Drills for leg technique
- For the trail leg- Begin with 6-8 hurdles kept at a low height. You can do 3-1 strides depending upon the hurdle gap. You first walk down the hurdles by only taking the trail leg over it while passing the lead leg away from the hurdle line.
After mastering it, increase the pace of the drill. The arms should be moved variously and you don’t need to focus on speed much.
- For the lead leg- Start similarly to the drill above along the obstacle at a pace similar to jogging. This time you use the lead leg only. Follow good movement ranges and focus on execution quality more.
Practice more by combining both the techniques and your body will be trained to face ahead with more propulsion. Keep the hips straight and be in momentum with the arms swinging closer to the body.
So this was a collective effort on our part for making you know how to run hurdles better. The drills are definitely worth a try as they have been designed by the experts and will improve your skill set and techniques. We hope this article gave you all the essential elements for better training and better performance.