Pump It Up: The Running Drummer

From the February 2017 issue of DRUM! | By Bobby Rock

While weight training can effectively enhance the power, speed, and endurance aspects of our drumming, we also have to give some attention to the cardio side of things if we want to avoid getting winded at the gig. The main way we do this is through any aerobic activity that consistently elevates our heart rate for at least 20 to 30 minutes.

Running is one of the most effective anytime/anywhere cardio exercises you can do; plus, it gets you outdoors for some fresh air and sunshine. It also remains one of my favorite training activities on the road. There’s nothing quite like seeking out a running route in a new city and really exploring the place beyond the usual scenery of the airport, hotel, and venue.

Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind as you begin:


If you’re new to running, try just walking a half or full mile. Then gradually try to walk/run it, by walking a minute, then slowly jogging a minute, and repeating until you’ve finished. Do this until you can eventually jog around 30 minutes without stopping. (Distance and speed are far less important than duration.)


Once you work up to a jogging pace, you should always theoretically be able to maintain a conversation. If you are too winded to do this, you are running too fast.


Short Strides Focus on running with shorter steps, rather than long strides. This is way more efficient and easier on the body.

Soft Steps Try to make light and easy feet-to-ground contact as you run. Avoid plodding along in a way that’s jarring to your feet, ankles, and knees.

Shoulders Back Run with good posture; avoid leaning too far forward as this can create imbalances and cause back fatigue.

Swing the Arms Lightly Let your arms comfortably swing back and forth as you run. This will help with your form and overall propulsion.

Special Shoes Once you’re convinced that running can be part of your training, consult your local running specialty shoe store and invest in top quality running shoes. (These folks usually have expertise in helping you select the right pair, based on a number of variables unique to you.) Good running shoes aren’t cheap, but they are invaluable in terms of feet/joint health and injury prevention.

Happy running!

BOBBY ROCK is a drummer, personal trainer, nutritionist, and devoted vegan. He has played with Lita Ford, Gary Hoey, Carnival Of Souls, Nitro,and Nelson.