Individuals should always include some form of calf exercise in their workout program if they plan to be doing any type of activity that involves running in the near future. Calf exercise works one of the smallest muscles in the leg and does not take very long to do provided you understand correct technique. When performing a calf exercise, you must make sure the feet are positioned right or else you may not receive the full benefits you are hoping to achieve.
Furthermore there are many different variations that you can do when performing this type of workout. You can do one set where the feet are facing directly forwards. This will really help to strengthen the muscles that will directly translate over to your running performance. Typically this is the position you use while running so it will be what is most beneficial to you.
After that you can also do a set where you turn your feet inwards as far as you can go so you assume a pigeon-toed position. This is really great because it will enable you to really work the lateral portion of the muscle. When you are doing various activities, especially sports that involve a lot of stop and go type of movements, your ankles can really get into awkward positions that you must then propel yourself off of. By having strength trained the muscles from various angles you will be fully prepared to do this. If you aren't, ankle injuries could result.
Finally, to finish off the combination, try a set with your feet turned out. Many people commonly walk this way due to the natural hip placement on their body so it will also prove to be beneficial.
After performing all of those sets, you could also perform a stretching exercise in the same machine you were just in. Now, rather than raising the body up using the muscles, you want to let it sink further down, aiming to get as close to the ground as possible (assuming you are performing this on a step of some sort). It is very helpful to take the time to do this last step in order to prevent muscle soreness after the workout.