The ABCs of Running

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Written by: David Burnett, BScH, MScPT, Registered Physiotherapist

Aims of the Drill

  • Improve bio-mechanics of running (speed, agility, balance and coordination)
  • Improve body awareness
  • Injury prevention
  • Improve running efficiency and performance


  • Engage the core (draw your belly button up and in) for all of these exercises
  • Start slowly at first to get your technique down and then increase speed and power
  • Use this drill as a warm-up before running – or as is – in a training routine 3-4x/week
  • Do the drill for approx. 10 min total

A’s – Driving High Knees

  • Stay nice and tall while engaging your core. Bring one knee up to waist height (90 degrees) while driving your opposite arm up at the same time to counter act the force. Keep your foot parallel to the ground. After the leg is brought up to waist height, drive the swing leg down to the ground aiming for the area below your hips. This helps to initiate the lift off of the driving leg. While moving forwards, your arms will swing back and forth while the opposing knee is driven up to waist height. (See video)

B’s – Skipping Foot Impact

  • Stay nice and tall while engaging your core. This exercise should feel like a skipping motion. Start with a high knee just like the A’s. At the top of the motion reach forwards with your front leg and then pull your foot back under your hips in a clawing like motion. Try to land your foot in a neutral position so the forces are spread throughout the foot. (See video)

C’s – Butt Kicks

  • Stay nice and tall while engaging your core. Start in a running motion and bring your feet up to kick your butt. Keep your feet under your hips when they are not driving up to kick your butt. (See video)
  • Helps to build strong push off, foot speed and running cadence

David Burnett, BScH, MScPT
Registered Physiotherapist

David joined GRSM in July 2016. He graduated with his MScPT from Leeds Beckett University and BSc Biomedical Sciences from the University of Waterloo, while playing for the Warriors Men’s basketball team.

David has completed his level 3 FCAMPT training and is also certified in Integrative Dry Needling, which is used to release muscular restrictions throughout the body.

David enjoys working with high level athletes from all sports. In particular, he has extensive experience training and rehabilitating basketball athletes.

He also specializes in comprehensive gait analysis for both experienced and inexperienced runners. He has completed several courses including Tom Groom’s in depth Running Repairs.

David played semi-professional basketball in Nairobi, Kenya after University and previously worked as a Sport and Fitness Director in Sydney, Australia. In his free time, David enjoys keeping active outdoors, going to the gym, and playing any and all sports.

We have virtual appointments available for:


  • Physiotherapy
  • Athletic therapy and sport bracing
  • Registered dietitian
  • Sport medicine consultations with physician

Due to the importance of providing continued care during these unprecedented times, most insurance companies now provide coverage for virtual rehabilitation. We do however encourage everyone to confirm this with their insurance provider.

Some benefits to virtual appointments include:

  • Being able to continue physiotherapy even if you’re spending time away or at the cottage this summer
  • Hoping to see a physiotherapist from GRSM, but you live out of town
  • Your schedule not allowing for in-clinic visits as often, so you may see your physio virtually between in-clinic visits
  • Reviewing your work station or home equipment and ensuring your exercise program is suitable for your home equipment
  • Flexibility when you or others in your home prefer to avoid public spaces, you can stay in the comfort of your own home with a more exercise-based treatment plan 

If you are still not sure if virtual rehab is right for you, email us at  One of our registered physiotherapists will connect with you to discuss your personal rehab needs.

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