How to improve my kick?

Hiya everyone, I'm a cross country runner, who does approx 4km race day distances.Ive always struggled with kickin on at the end of a race so if anyone could post some tips or advice it would be great.


  • Hi Chris,

    I used to always struggle with my kick (and it still could be a lot better!) Especially in cross country races, I would gain places with 800m to go and then lose about 5-10 places in the home straight.

    Firstly, I began incorporating daily core exercises and then built up to daily 20 minute circuit sessions which focuses on strengthening the glutes, abs, back, biceps, triceps and quads. As a stronger runner, my form immediately improved and subsequently I could hold off fatigue for longer and suffer less injuries.

    Also, you could incorporate my sprint / speed / anaerobic sessions into your programme which will maximise your power and enable you to perform under high levels of oxygen debt... both will certainly be required in any finish at a race you do. 

    Perhaps for each session, you could ensure that your last interval / effort is a real push and fast! Remember, in a race towards the end you will be on the back of your last reserves and if you can simulate this feeling within a session, exploit the chance to try a last fast rep. I now always go 2 secs faster on any last 400m (or any other) rep so that my body automatically goes hard towards the end in a race.

    Finally, just say to yourself, 'I have 200m to go. Yes it's hurting but everyone else is hurting too. I can see the finish, it's 40 seconds away... the pain won't last forever and the more I push the better I will feel afterwards".

    I hope this helps.


  • Thanks,any specific core exercises?
  • Plank, plank and more plank. And maybe some squats for dessert...

  • Hahaimagethanks
  • Yep, I've built upto a 90 second plank now (and could probably go on longer quite comfortably).

    Begin with 45 seconds and work your way up - take note of your form.. and keep control. The plank is a good exercise because it strengthens not only the abs, but glutes and back too.

    Side planks and reverse planks can be incorporated too - both help hamstrings and glutes.

    Also, weights are essential for a good finish - I only use 5kg but at the start I felt that 20 curls on each arm was enough. If you can, use 7.5kg and aim for power and control - you're only looking to tone the muscle.. not build them! Also, weight squats are a good, tough one!

    Bridges and bridge planks are my most recommended exercise - it's a very simple exercise and you can make it harder by raising one leg. My glutes are one of the strongest parts of my body because I do so many exercises on them - their so important and very overlooked. They are the source of power and crucial in the running motion. Glutes are also essential for downhill running.

    Back extensions could also be used incorporated to aid recovery time and help avoid recovery too. Also sit-ups are good and simple for toning the abs - DO NOT rush them...

    Here is my circuit session which I perform 6x a week:

    (20 secs recovery between exercise)
    1) 30x sit ups
    2) 10x 10sec. bridges (leg raise on last 5)
    3) 90 sec. plank
    4) 20x 5kg arm pulls (on each arm)
    5) 30x leg squats
    6) 25x 5kg arm jerks
    7) 30x sit ups
    8) 2x 30 sec. side plank
    9) 20x 5kg arm curls (on each arm)
    10) 45 sec. bridge plank
    11) 10x 10 sec. back extensions
    12) 60 sec. reverse plank
    13) 30x sit ups
    Duration: 20 minutes - 20 minutes 30 secs

    - Start with a 10 minute circuit session and just keep building. I've came to the point now where I don't really need to increase the session (mainly because there's not enough hours in the day to do that and sessions/runs!)

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