Speed and Power Building Running Games and Fun Runs for High School Teams

By Rick Morris

High School track and cross country teams do some grueling workouts. Why not let the have fun while still getting in some valuable workouts with these speed and power building running games.

50 Meter Sack Race

The sack race has been a favorite for picnics for many years. It’s one of the all time classic activities for one reason – it’s a lot of fun. Not only is it fun but it’s a great plyometric workout that will develop strength, power, muscle elasticity and neuromuscular conditioning. Burlap sacks are always the best for sack races but if you can’t find burlap a strong composite sack will also work well. Line your athletes up according to similar abilities and have them sack race for about 50 meters. Repeat this 3 or 4 times.

Casino Royale

This fun training workout adds the excitement of chance and the unknown. Assign a number from 1 to 6 to six different types of short speed training runs. Let one athlete throw the dice. The number that comes up is the next workout the team performs. After one workout is completed let another runner throw the next dice.

200 Meter Continuous Relay

Running games should be fun but also mimic race conditions. This one does just that. Place your runners in two equal groups. Position one group at the starting line of a 400 meter track. Place the second group at the 200 meter line. Give each group one baton. Have one runner from each group run with the baton at sprint pace for 200 meters. The runner then passes the baton to the next runner in line at that group.  Keep performing these 200 meter relays continuously until each runner has completed 6 to 12 200 meter sprints.

400 Meter Change Up

Here is another track relay workout except you don’t need a baton. Form several teams of two runners. The first runner of each group must put on 4 extra large t shirts or if it’s cold out – sweatshirts. Each runner then runs 400 meters at about 5 seconds per lap faster than their 5K pace. At the end of each 400 meter repeat the runner must take off all four shirts one of their shirts and hand them to their team mate who puts them on. That runner then completes their 400 meter repeat. Keep up that sequence until each runner has performed 8 x 400 meter repeats. The first team in which both team members complete 8 x 400 meter repeats wins.

Bucket Race

Not all running games need to be based on typical track workouts. This one is a fun, silly and effective running game. This is a fun and competitive race that also involves some strategy. Divide your athletes into teams of two runners each. Place an empty bucket next to each team at one end of the infield of a 400 meter track. On the other end of the infield place eight softballs or other objects that can be indentified with each individual team. At your whistle one runner from each team should sprint down to the opposite end of the infield and pick up one ball. The runner should then sprint back and drop the ball into the opposing teams bucket of their choice. Then the second runner from each team does the same thing. Keep following that procedure until all eight balls have been put in an opposing teams bucket. The object of the game is to fill an opposing teams bucket with eight balls. The last team to have their bucket filled wins the game.

Power Circuit

Circuit training running games are a popular type of workout for general fitness training that can also serve as a fun workout for high school runners. This power circuit will improve your athletes running speed, strength, power and economy.

Do the following runs and strength exercises in order with no recovery between the various components. Before beginning this speed circuit warm up with 1 mile at an easy pace followed by some dynamic drills.

  • Run 4 x 400 meter repeats at 5K pace with 2 minutes of recovery between the repeats.
  • Do 20 bench step ups on each leg
  • Run 800 meters at 5K pace
  • Do 20 one leg squats on each leg
  • Run 8 x 200 meter repeats at 3K or vVO2 max pace with 1 minute of recovery between the repeats.
  • Do 20 Stride Step Ups on each leg
  • Run 8 x 100 meter acceleration strides. Recover between each repeat with 15 seconds of recovery
  • Perform 25 meters of double leg forward hops
  • Run 1200 meters. Run the first 200 meters at nearly all out pace, the next 800 meters at 5K pace and the final 200 meters as fast as you can. Take no recovery between the components of this run.
  • Perform 25 meters of single leg forward hops
  • Run for 6 minutes alternating between 30 seconds at nearly all out pace and 30 seconds at an easy pace
  • Perform one basic core strength routine
  • Run 4 x 400 meter repeats at 5K pace with 2 minutes of recovery between the repeats.

Barefoot Strides

Running barefoot is not only enjoyable but is also great at improving lower leg strength and preventing shin splints. The artificial turf infield at many school tracks is a great place to begin barefoot running. Be sure you do a sweep of your field to remove any sharp or dangerous objects before performing this drill.

Have your athletes perform barefoot acceleration strides diagonally from one corner of the infield to the other. The runners should then jog the end line for recovery before performing another barefoot acceleration stride diagonally across the field in the other direction. They should then jog the end line back to the starting point. Keep performing this nonstop for a total of 6 to 12 strides.