Track: Indoor Steeplechase Workouts

Dick Moss, Editor, PE

If you coach steeplechasers in a northern climate, you know how little time you have to prepare your athletes for school meet. Fortunately, you can practice the steeplechase in your gym. Here's how.

Circle Hurdling Drill
Circle Hurdling Drill

The Circle Hurdling Drill
Set up two hurdles on either side of the gym, facing in opposite directions. Your steeplechasers run at a comfortable pace around the gym and hurdle the barriers—being sure to accelerate into each hurdle. In a regular size gym the distance between each hurdle is close to that in an actual race (about 80m).

Your athletes should only be running at about 60% to 70% effort, and they should slow the pace as they negotiate turns.

This drill also teaches your athletes to sight and judge distance to the barrier while running, an important skill for steeplechasers to master.

You can perform several variations of this drill:

    “Hurdling In a Crowd” Drill
    “Hurdling In a Crowd” Drill
  1. Random Hurdling: Place several hurdles at random distances in the gym. This is another “sighting” drill that will teach your athletes to use both left and right lead-legs.
  2. Hurdling in a Crowd: Steeplechasers must learn to hurdle in heavy traffic. Set up two low scissor-hurdles as in the Circle Hurdle drill and have a group of three athletes run as a group around the circle. They take turns hurdling while the other runners stay close to distract them. Make the drill safer by placing the hurdles on mats.

1. Bill Bowerman & Bill Freeman, Bill Bowerman's High-Performance Training for Track and Field, Coaches Choice, 2008.
2. Kirk De Fazio, A Coach's Guide for Steeplechasers in High School Track and Field,  1995.

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