I don’t know about you, but speed intervals are my favorite workout of the week. I get an intense workout and I can feel myself become faster each week. Speed workouts can be extremely taxing on tendons, ligaments and muscle fiber (1). I just ran across a great article from Runners World that talks about three drills to reduce injury by getting your body ready for that intense workout.
If you want to get faster, speed intervals will be your best friend. It is recommended to warm up before each speed session. I like to run at a very easy pace (about 2-3 minutes slower than my 5k pace) for about .5 to 1 mile. The article suggested adding three drills in between your warm up and speed workout to increase your range of motion and stride with less effort (1). These are the drills:
High Knees – this activates your hip flexors and stretches your glutes. You walk while lifting your knees up toward your chest. You can also pull your knee close to your chest for an extra stretch. Be sure to lift up on the ball of your foot as you are performing this drill. (Click here for video)
Butt Kicks – this activates your hamstrings and stretches your quads. You simply try to kick your butt as you slowly run. This always makes me think of Liar Liar where Jim Carey kicks his own butt. (Click here for video)
Backward Striders – this activates your glutes and stretches your hip flexors and quads. Simply run backwards with long strides. This will help you lengthen your stride, which in turn will allow you to cover more ground. (Click here for video, do backwards)
Each drill should be done in two sets over 10 meters or roughly 30 feet. This will set you up for a great speed session and help you get stronger. Making these muscles stronger will also decrease the risk of injury. Try it out and let me know what you think.
Note: I am not a doctor; these are my personal opinions based on research. Consult a running coach to assess what should be added to your running plans.