Setting Your Running Goals And Actually Achieving Them

The beauty of running is that it’s a simple act of one foot in front of the other, a natural transition from couch to 21.1km. However, it takes patience, determination, strength training, and a lot of running to get there. It’s certainly not an easy feat.

The firstwomen's Olympic Games marathon champion, Joan Benoit says it best: 

I believe in goal setting; first you set a long-term goal, accompanied by a short-term as well as an intermediate goal. I believe in never compromising on these goals. You need to set different goals within your levels of success.”  

According to Ignite Fitness Exercise Specialist Eduan James: “Goals look different for everyone, but they are all attainable. Training for a 5 km, 10 km, half marathon, or ultra marathon is at a different difficulty level for different people, but with the correct endurance and strength training, they’re all possible to achieve.” 

James identifies key training techniques you can do to support your running progress, whether at home or at the gym…

5 Speed, Agility & Quickness Drills to Prime for Performance 


A-skips sharpen your overall form by emphasising foot placement and knee drive through the propulsive phase. They are an excellent drill for hamstring activation and correct movement patterning. 

Tip: Try not to focus on distance, but on rhythm and fast foot contact instead. 

How it’s Done  

This drill is a dynamic progression from high-knee walking. Lift the leading knee to waist height. When it reaches the highest point, there is a small hop forward. 

Keep your toes pointed up on your lead leg (dorsiflexed ankle). 

Forcefully step down with a mid-foot strike – aim to make a noise when contacting the ground. 

Repeat by alternating legs. 



B-skips are a development from the A-skip, which further improve your form by focusing on your knee drive and leg extension. 

Tip: Stand tall and keep your arms relaxed. 

How it’s Done  

Mimic the A-Skip until your knee is at waist height. 

Kick your leading leg out in front of you. 

Drag your leading leg back underneath you whilst maintaining a dorsiflexed ankle.  

Aim for a mid-foot strike by maintaining a slight forward lean. 



Bounding is used to create a more powerful leg drive upon contact with the ground. 

Tip: Do not overextend your stride. Your stride length should increase, but as a result of your increased power when contacting the ground - not as a result of your overreaching. 

How it’s Done 

Start running at a comfortable pace, and when ready, start to strike the ground with more power on each stride, aiming to gradually increase your stride length. 

Maintain good form, with a slight forward lean. 


Fast Feet  

This is a drill that improves your running cadence by teaching your leg muscles (predominantly hamstrings) to fire faster. It also encourages a mid-foot landing. 

Tip: Focus on reducing your ground contact time by lifting your feet directly up underneath you towards your butt. 

How it’s Done  

With your feet at hip width, lower your body down into a half squat position.  

Lift your heels, so you are on the balls of your feet. 

Start running as fast as you can on the spot. 


Strides (Accelerations) 

Strides – whilst technically not a drill – are controlled injections of speed during a regular running session. The aim is to allow you to practice the previous abstract drills in a real running scenario, so it’s usually performed after drills. 

Tip: The key is to practise the acceleration while maintaining a very relaxed posture (shoulders and arms relaxed, with wrists brushing your hip bones). 

How it’s Done  

Run 60 – 80 m at a reasonably fast pace, but not an all-out sprint. 

Walk back after each set of strides to re-focus. 

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