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10 best dumbbell leg exercises for runners

JUN 7, 2023

Minute 1: How many workouts should you per year?

Happy Global Running Day!!! By all means, everyone reading this should log a few miles on this festive occasion for our sport. On the other 364 days of the year, however, you should carefully consider whether to squeeze in a workout or not. Some of our running pals insist that if you aren’t working out almost every day, you aren’t a real runner, but we were intrigued when we read this new story: “Why You Only Need to Exercise 150 Days a Year.” That’s about three workouts per week, so it’s quite an attainable goal. Limiting your workout tally instills a quality-over-quantity mentality that can make you more efficient with your time while still getting results. We all need to stray from the 3X per week idea when we’re in the heart of a marathon training plan, but for maintaining basic fitness, the “150 days” concept provides some good perspective. In addition to freeing up room in your schedule, reducing your number of weekly workouts could aid in recovery as well. It allows you to take rest days, alleviating issues like “delayed onset muscle soreness,” according to this new story: “Does DOMS Indicate A Good Workout?” DOMS is brought on by microscopic damage to muscle fiber. In some cases, light exercise can help alleviate DOMS, but oftentimes, taking a day off is the most effective remedy. 150 might be a magic number for physical and mental benefits, because a recent study found that 150 minutes of exercise per week produces significant positive mental health effects. That’s according to this story that reports exercise as being 1.5X more helpful than pills: “Is exercise more effective than medication for depression and anxiety?

Minute 2: Use drafting to improve your race performance

Millions of runners are spending $250 on carbon-plated running shoes to make themselves 4% faster. You can produce about the same speed improvement for free, however, simply by drafting other runners in a race. The technique is more commonly associated with cyclists (and Ricky and Cal in Talladega Nights) but runners can also benefit according to this new story from Marathon Handbook: “What Is Drafting? + How Can It improve Running Performance.” Drafting is performed by following closely behind the racer in front of you to reduce wind resistance. It’s commonly used in cycling, where air resistance has a significant impact, but believe it or not, it can be a major factor in your running performance as well. One study measured runners’ oxygen consumption to estimate their energy demands at various running paces. They found that on a calm day, the ideal drafting position could improve running economy by 3.5%. That equates to cutting over six minutes off your marathon time, and the results are even greater on days with a strong headwind. Some runners even use reduced air resistance in training, like reigning 100 meter Olympic Champion Marcell Jacobs. In a clip he shared, you can see him running behind a car and wind shield that allows him to reach top speeds with less effort. The idea is, Jacobs can prime his neuromuscular system for remarkable top speeds while reducing burnout and recovery times.

Minute 3: Should you go sweet or savory for breakfast?

There’s no trail of breadcrumbs showing the way to breakfast perfection. If you’re feeling lost on what to eat for the first meal of the day, follow your tastebuds. The way food tastes can tell us a lot about its nutritional value, and it’s led some dieticians to advocate for this rule of thumb if you want an energizing and filling start to your day: “Reasons To Eat A Savory Breakfast & 4 Recipes To Start With.” That’s right, if you’re debating between sweet and savory, you’re probably better off choosing the latter. That’s because savory breakfasts are often filled with protein and fiber – two components that are crucial for providing a lasting feeling of satiation. Eggs, chickpea pancakes, or breakfast burritos are a few solid options to get you started. Adding some veggies in the form of a salad can make a big difference as well, and while you’re at it, top things off with a little apple cider vinegar. You won’t regret it after reading about the benefits in this piece: “Apple cider vinegar: the ultimate panacea – or wildly overhyped?” First of all, ACV can improve blood-sugar levels, reduce inflammation, aid weight loss and improve cholesterol levels. There’s even some evidence to suggest it has antibacterial properties. That’s what one immunologist uncovered after eating spoiled food and turning to ACV as a remedy. It seemed to work, so she took it to the lab and demonstrated the vinegar could kill E coli and MRSA cells.

Minute 4: Leg exercises for runners

Ask runners if they want stronger legs, and the overwhelming majority will say: “Heck positive!” What they could do without, however, is spending money on bulky equipment or gym fees. You might think that’s the only way to make significant progress on your muscle growth, but wait until you see how effective dumbbell assisted compound movements can be: “10 Best Compound Exercises with Dumbbells.” Dumbbells are relatively affordable and easy to store. Not only will they help you build muscle mass, but the added weight can also develop balance and stability. To hit several muscle groups at once, dumbbell squats and deadlifts are a good place to start. If you want to target your quads and hamstrings, dumbbell lunges are the way to go. A lot of these movements remain effective even when using only your bodyweight, as you can see in these “Leg Workouts for Runners” recommended by Fleet Feet. Opting for single-leg or Bulgarian split squats can keep the resistance high, even without adding weight. Finally, pair these workouts with: “Calf Strengthening for Better Running.” The calf contains one of the most important muscle sets to improve running economy, but it doesn’t get as much attention as the upper leg. Be sure to balance your more intense sessions with recovery time, using foam rollers and other tools to reduce tension in your muscle tissue.

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • It’s no secret that running can help to grow your lifespan, but did you know that it could grow memory as well? A recent study found that maintaining a fitness regimen profoundly reduced the age-related memory decline in mice, and researchers are optimistic that it has similar effects for humans. To see the details, check out: “Running throughout middle age can help prevent memory decline, study shows.”

  • Recently, we let you know what to do in the event of a peeling sunburn. However, prevention is the best medicine, and if you want to avoid getting that burnt in the first place, your best bet is becoming well acquainted with the UV Index. That’s the tool that looks at various factors, from the sun’s position in the sky, to cloud coverage, ozone levels, and more, giving you an easy to understand score of how severe the potential for sun damage is. Read this if you want to understand “What the UV Index Actually Means.”

  • About 15% of people will experience migraines in their lifetime, and if you’re one of the unlucky few that are affected, you know just how debilitating they can be. The good news is, there are a lot of steps you can take to reduce your chances of developing migraines – including exercising regularly – and even reduce your symptoms if you’re experiencing an attack. If that sounds useful to you, be sure to read “How To Prevent Migraine.”

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

After witnessing our first full-costume mascot race, we’re endlessly grateful that we’re free to choose our own running attire. As you might expect, sprinting along in a bulky, fuzzy lion costume is far from ideal. At least from a competitor’s perspective, that is. For us spectators, we couldn’t imagine a more fun race to watch, and we were thoroughly entertained by @lauramcgreen’s coverage of the Festival of Miles Mascot 400 meter dash. To watch the full race, head on over to the “Mascot 400m - HOKA Festival of Miles 2023” video, or check a highlights recap in Laura’s Instagram clip.


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