I often use running drills with you as part of a warm up routine but they have a far greater purpose. They ‘drill’ your body into the correct running movements. Thay also serve as low level plyometric training. These exercises will seriously improve your running.
Why: Butt kicks engage the hamstrings and accentuate the recovery portion of the running gait and improve leg turnover cadence.
How: Run in place or slowly forward with your knees in front bringing your heel straight up toward the butt (you will often see athletes doing this just flicking their legs back – this is wrong and I have deliberately chosen a video that demonstrates the right method) and try to kick yourself in the glute with your heel on each stride. If you’re not making contact, you need to improve your dynamic range of motion. Do two or four reps of 15 kicks with each leg. For a demonstration look here
Why: The high knees drill accentuates knee lift and glutes and hamstring power, which are keys to running fast and efficiently, as well as powerful and efficient leg drive.
How: Taking short steps with a very quick cadence, alternate thrusting knees upward until your thigh breaks a plane parallel to the ground. Focus on soft, flat footstrikes near the ball of your foot while using your core to lower your leg down slowly instead of letting it crash to the ground. Do two to four reps of 15 lifts on each knee. For a demonstration look here
Why: Carioca opens up the hips and improves lateral movement, agility and footwork
How: Basically you move along to your left or right (along the frontal plane). If left then your right leg first crosses in front of your left, then step left with the left and the right foot again moves, this time behind the left leg, left leg again moves to the left and then repeat. Thank god there is a video which you can see here (please ignore his spelling and pronunciation – everything else is ok)
Why: Fast feet develops fast twitch muscle fibres to fire. It potentiates the legs for fast work.
How: Your feet stay very close to the ground almost like they are stuck and you move you feet in rapid succession while at the same time moving your arms too. I couldn’t find a video of the guy I’ve used above but did find this one here