Happy Wednesday, friends!
I’ve recently been noticing that one of our flaws as runners (or at least one of my flaws;) is that we love our runs so much that we often forget that we have other muscles besides those in our legs. As our training ramps up for half marathons and marathons, our runs take up more time and we find ourselves stretched thin just to find enough time to get our runs in, let alone any other sort of exercise.
I’ve made it a goal of mine during this marathon training cycle to make time to continue doing at least one strength workout per week, and incorporating some sort of cross training during the week as well. My strength workouts have remained consistent for the past 16 weeks, but my cross training has been all over the board. My first thoughts when trying to come up with a cross training workout are always to find something that will work up a good sweat – but oftentimes that workout just works the same muscles as I would on a run.
My weak spot has always, and probably will always, be my arms. I have little to no arm strength at all, and have always wanted to improve this but never really known the way to do so. Throughout the past 16 weeks I’ve been incorporating some dumbbell moves each week that have been keeping my arms at least somewhat toned throughout this training process, so they don’t just look like sticks that flail next to my body while I run.
As much as we like to deny it, arm strength is actually crucial to our running. Strong arms allow us to propel our body with each stride and assist our legs in creating momentum. They make it easier for us to run faster, maintain better posture, and reduce our fatigue during long runs.
I wanted to share the dumbbell moves I’ve been doing during marathon training to keep my arms toned and attempt to aid in my runs each week. These moves are so simple, and I love to do them while I’m watching TV or cooling down after a run. I take quite a few prolonged breaks between some of the moves and this workout still only takes me 15-20 minutes to complete. Feel free to change up the number of repetitions to your liking!
- Squats with Overhead Press x 15
- Arm Curls x 15 (on each arm = 30 total)
- Bent-over Row x 15 (on each arm = 30 total)
- Overhead Tricep Extension x 15
- Frontal Raise x 15 (on each arm = 30 total, OR 15 with both arms at the same time)
- Dumbbell Swing x 15
- Single Leg Deadlift
Each of these moves focus on a particular weak spot for me and were incredibly hard when I first started doing them. I started out just completing 5 reps of each at a time, and have been gradually upping the repetitions every 1 or 2 weeks. I focus on my form when doing these moves rather than speeding through to complete them quickly. I’ve also found that doing higher repetitions with a lighter weight is more successful in staying toned and firm, while doing less repetitions with a higher weight helps build muscle.
I have definitely had some of my best runs during times when I focused on keeping my entire body strong, rather than just getting the miles in. My fingers are crossed that this will remain true for the New York Marathon at the completion of this training cycle!
As much as I DESPISE doing arm workouts, I always feel so accomplished when I am done. These moves are no different. Hope you enjoy!