There is so much involved in a comprehensive and customized training plan that it can be very easy to push drills to lower priority or forget them altogether. Yet, often, drills are the glue that holds our form together.
Swimming is probably the discipline in which most of us do the most drills--and rightfully so! Swimming is so technical. Drills should be customized to the athlete to address their deficits. In general, for swimming, I like drills that focus on keeping a good body position on top of the water and promote good hip rotation.
Cycling drills are less abundant than swimming but still very important. Many of us could benefit from high-cadence and single-leg work to improve efficiency.
I find doing cycling drills in combination works wonders. This might look like combining LOW BRO, Single leg, and then high cadence drills together to work on power but also promote power at a higher cadence.
Running drills are the most often forgotten as we tend to want to go out for a run and not feel like we are starting and stopping. For this reason, I recommend including drills within a run without stopping the run. Drills promoting increased turnover, as well as good foot strike, are the most important for the majority of runners. An example of a drill set I may write is 10 X (10sec Buttkickers / 50sec Run focus on turnover).
In summary, "Don't Forget Drills" in your training. Always do drills before key sessions as well as when fatigued. It is often beneficial to end workouts with drills to avoid finishing sloppy. Incorporate the drills into your workout, so the drills are not stand-alone activities, but rather you follow them up with the full training to promote motor memory and reinforce good form. If you're not doing drills, ask your coach why? There is working harder and then working smarter. I like to be smart with training. Drills are always a component of smart training!
Aaron Scheidies is a USAT Level 1 Certified Coach and licensed Physical Therapist. A graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in Exercise Physiology, Aaron has coached World Champion Paratriathletes as well as Ironman World Championship qualifiers. Aaron is an 11 time World Paratriatlhon Champion and has set the World’s fastest time for anyone with a disability at both the Olympic (1:57:24) and Ironman 70.3 distances. (4:09:54).